This post is about How to Make Kombucha – Brewing the First Batch. We cover how to brew it, do the first fermentation and discuss a little about the second fermentation.
The ingredients required include eight tea bags, 3 ½ quarts of water, ½ quart of starter tea (kombucha from last batch), 1 cup of sugar, and a SCOBY.
SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. It is sometimes called the “Mother”. This is what helps us brew kmobucha quickly. You can make your own or risk letting nature make one for you, but if you can get one already going, it speeds things up greatly and ensures you get brew a good batch.
I got my SCOBY from a person I met at a PDC class. I have also seen people trading them online on Facebook. There is a Facebook group called “Kombucha Brew Crew” and they offer up a good bit of advice as well as ways to get SCOBY.
Starter Tea is kombucha from your last batch. I did not have a last batch as this was my first batch. What I did for starter tea is I went to Walmart and bought a can of Kombucha. It cost around $3.00. I added a cup of that in and it worked fine. Make sure you get a non-flavored type and a type that has live cultures in it. You do not want anything that has been pasteurized as that would kill the bacteria that you want.
The process is as simple as brew sweet tea, add the starter tea and SCOBY and brew for seven to fourteen days. You can then add on steps like a second brew and flavor if you like. We will walk you through each step of the process below, but it really isn’t that complicated.
In a pan heat two quarts of water. Then add the sugar and tea bags and let them steep. After they have steeped and made a good strong batch of tea, remove the tea bags and add the additional quart and a half of water.
Cool your tea to room temperature. If you added cold water when you added the last quart and a half above, that will speed the cooling a little.
Add Remaining Ingredients
Now add the starter tea and SCOBY. Make absolutely sure the brew is room temperature as hot tea could kill the SCOBY and starter tea.
Now brew your kombucha. Just put it in a jar at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, and give it time. You will want to cover the jar with a cloth. I used mason jars and an old (clean) tee shirt for the lid. I held the tee shirt down with a ring for the mason jar. The cloth lid will allow the kombucha to breath, which it needs to do at this stage and it keeps fruit flies out.
Don’t forget to label you jar or write down on a piece of paper pertinent information. You will want to write down at the very least the following: the tea used and the date the brew started. In a week to ten day it could be difficult to remember exactly when it started brewing and when it is done, so the easiest way to keep it all straight is just to write it down.
How Long to Brew
With a good starter and good SCOBY you will generally brew seven to fourteen days. The longer it sits, the more acidic it will get. I let my first batch sit for sixteen days and it almost tasted like vinegar, so I will need to brew for less time in the future.
After your kombucha has brewed long enough, you can drink it or do a second ferment and add flavor. With a second ferment, you can also get carbonation if you like as well.
The first thing to do after the first ferment is done is to remove the SCOBY and set it aside for the next batch. Also, take two cups of kombucha for each gallon made and set it aside as starter for the next batch.
I added ginger to my brew and did a second ferment with the hopes of getting carbonation. Here is a link to How to Make Kombucha Part 2
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Check out the video below titled How to Make Kombucha Brewing the First Batch – Part 1
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