Kombucha, an ancient fermented tea drink, has been enjoyed by people for centuries due to its many health benefits. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and essential enzymes, kombucha was known as the “Immortal Health Elixir” when it originated in the Far East 2,000 years ago. Equally delicious, kombucha is a healthy alternative for those who wish to reduce their sugar or soda consumption and improve their gut health. In this post, I share how to make kombucha and discuss its many health benefits.
This post contains affiliate links. Opinions are my own.
The Health Benefits of Kombucha Tea
People who regularly drink kombucha describe how it “just makes them feel better.” Kombucha is rich in enzymes that detoxify the body. Additionally, kombucha tea is high in probiotics, B Vitamins, natural glucosamine, and antioxidants. Kombucha kills Candida (yeast), can improve moods, reduce inflammation, and helps facilitate nutrient assimilation and weight loss.
I drink about 2–4 ounces of berry-flavored kombucha per day. I’ve noticed that my stomach feels flatter and less bloated. My energy level has improved and I get fewer headaches.
How to Make Kombucha Tea
Kombucha is easy and inexpensive to make at home! The first thing you will need is a SCOBY (an acronym for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast). You can buy a SCOBY or get one from someone who brews kombucha. Pictured below is a SCOBY that my dear friend gifted me. As a SCOBY grows, it builds new layers and has little SCOBY babies (the white dots on top). My friend peeled a layer off her SCOBY and taught me how to make kombucha at home. Your SCOBY should be unrefrigerated and free of mold.
I brew kombucha using the continuous brew method. In this method, tea is removed and replaced on a regular basis. It yields fresh, strong batches of kombucha!
- [url href=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00E0C6MVU?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B00E0C6MVU&linkCode=xm2&tag=firandmudpie-20″ target=”_blank”]Organic black tea[/url] (4 tea bags)
- Organic frozen blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries
- [url href=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006CVNF2G?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B006CVNF2G&linkCode=xm2&tag=firandmudpie-20″ target=”_blank”]Organic sugar[/url] (1 cup)
- 13 cups of distilled or filtered water
- [url href=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008OHZ1XW?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B008OHZ1XW&linkCode=xm2&tag=firandmudpie-20″ target=”_blank”]SCOBY + 1 cup of starter tea[/url]
- Clean and sterilize a [url href=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Q59FJHO?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B00Q59FJHO&linkCode=xm2&tag=firandmudpie-20″ target=”_blank”]1 gallon jar[/url] with hot water. Rinse it well with [url href=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000RO08L0?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B000RO08L0&linkCode=xm2&tag=firandmudpie-20″ target=”_blank”]white vinegar[/url].
- Place the SCOBY and starter tea in the jar.
- Boil 13 cups of filtered water in a pot. Remove from heat.
- Steep 4 bags of organic black tea in the water.
- Stir 1 cup of organic sugar into the tea.
- Set the tea aside and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- When the tea is cool, pour it into the jar over the SCOBY and starter tea. Secure a [url href=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00006IUV3?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B00006IUV3&linkCode=xm2&tag=firandmudpie-20″ target=”_blank”]coffee filter[/url] or [url href=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001B14ODG?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B001B14ODG&linkCode=xm2&tag=firandmudpie-20″ target=”_blank”]sturdy cheesecloth[/url] over the opening with a rubber band, then set the jar in a cool, dark cabinet for 1 week.
- On day 7, rinse 2–3 cleaned and sterilized amber bottles ([url href=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005CIFIDO?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B005CIFIDO&linkCode=xm2&tag=firandmudpie-20″ target=”_blank”]I use these ones[/url]) with white vinegar. Rub some vinegar over your hands (kombucha prefers an acidic environment) and press enough berries through the bottles to cover the bottoms.
- Pour the kombucha into the bottles (leave about 1 inch of headspace in each bottle) allowing about 1 cup of tea and the SCOBY in the original jar. Start the process again with freshly brewed tea!
- Wipe the bottle rims and seal.
- Place the bottles in a cool, dark cabinet for 2 days, then transfer to the refrigerator. Drink and enjoy!
If the SCOBY become moldy, throw it AND the tea it was fermenting out. Never refrigerate the SCOBY. Instead, safely store it in a “Scoby Hotel.” Always get your SCOBY from a trusted source. Drink plenty of water while enjoying kombucha and if it’s your first time drinking it, start with 1 ounce/day and slowly increase the amount from there. I always clean, sterilize, and give a white vinegar rinse to any tools, bottles, or jars I use to make kombucha. If you need to handle your SCOBY, make sure your hands are clean and wet with white vinegar.
Shared below are several resources I found helpful while learning to brew kombucha at home.
Kombucha Revolution: 75 Recipes for Homemade Brews, Fixers, Elixirs, and Mixers by Stephen Lee
Kombucha!: The Amazing Probiotic Tea that Cleanses, Heals, Energizes, and Detoxifies by Eric Childs
Delicious Probiotic Drinks: 75 Recipes for Kombucha, Kefir, Ginger Beer, and Other Naturally Fermented Drinks by Julia Mueller
DIY Kombucha: 60 Nourishing Homemade Tonics for Health and Happiness by Katherine Green
KombuchaKamp | Hannah Crum