Saturday, 7 June 2014

Kombucha- Updated Version

** When I share SCOBY to friends, I refer them to this post to make their first brew, but over the years I've changed my thinking about using plastics in our home, so it was time to amend and update.
More people are drinking  Kombucha these days for it's great taste and for its healthful value. Whilst it is available to buy ready made at some Farmer's Markets, Health Food Stores and many other outlets, it's quite costly.  However, it is so easy to make for a few cents per bottle and I believe our own brew is far superior in both taste and purity.

To get started you need to find someone who will give you a SCOBY. (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria & Yeast)
This is a jelly fungal like substance that grows and multiplies while fermenting.
(Many great friendships have been formed when sharing  SCOBY's.)
When you receive your SCOBY it should be in a jar or small container with a cup of Kombucha liquid, and hopefully, some dregs from the bottom of the brewing jar.

Kombucha SCOBY 

Put your SCOBY and small amount of its liquid into a glass jar that will easily hold 1.5litres and put aside until later.

 **I no longer put hot liquid or foods into plastic. Everything else in this photo is still as it should be, but I don't use a plastic jug for making the hot brew. See the photo below.**

 ** This is the mixing jar that I now use because I make a double batch  (3 litres) and I make the tea in a teapot first.  Pour the tea into the glass mixing jar, then top up with more hot water.

Put 1/2 cup of sugar into a glass mixing jar that is large enough to hold 1.5 litres.
Peg 2 tea-bags to the side. Pour in enough hot water to dissolve sugar and release the tea from the teabags, then top up with warm water.
*Take care not to add too much hot water at once or the glass jar may break.
 (Don't use honey. The natural anti-bacterial in honey will slowly kill the SCOBY)
Set aside this container of sweetened tea until it cools to body temperature or cooler.
*Do NOT pour the hot mixture over your SCOBY because heat will kill it.

When the tea mixture has cooled, tip into the glass jar with the SCOBY.  The SCOBY may float to the top or it may float around in the jar. Either is OK and makes no difference to the speed of fermentation.
Cover with a cloth to allow natural yeasts to move around.

 ** This is the 3 litre glass jar of Kombucha brew that now sits on our kitchen bench.

After approximately seven to nine days, depending on the warmth of your kitchen, a new SCOBY will have formed on the top of the jar of tea.


Lift out the SCOBY and its newly formed SCOBY into a clean bowl.

Strain through a cloth into screw top bottles.
Leave approx 2cm of sediment in the bottom of the jar for making your next batch of Kombucha.

For a fresh ginger taste add 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger to each bottle.
For a berry taste add approx 6 raspberries, strawberries, mulberries or whatever you have in the garden or freezer.
These are our favourites but there are many flavorings to experiment with. eg, lemon zest, turmeric etc.

Leave a small space in the top of the bottle for the gas to form. Screw lids on tight. Write the date on each bottle.
Store in a cupboard until ready to drink after approx seven days.
Refrigerate & drink.
The kombucha that you make yourself has its own unique flavour.  Some bottles are fizzier than others.  The sugar is converted during the fermentation process and if kept too long it will develop a sour, vinegar taste.
We like to drink it up to two weeks from bottling, but some folks enjoy the more vinegar taste.
Each to their own! Either way, the health benefits are many.

So now it's time to make a fresh batch again.

Starting from the first step.
Make up a jug of tea with 2 tea-bags, 1.5litres of boiling water, 1/2 cup of sugar.
When cool, pour into large glass jar on top of the sediment from the previous batch and one SCOBY.
Cover and sit on bench top.

Store the remaining SCOBY in a jar in the fridge with a bit of the Kombucha sediment and liquid.
This is the SCOBY that you can give to a friend.

If you start to accumulate too many SCOBY's they can be fed to your chickens, pigs or mixed with the cow's chaff at milking time for a healthy boost to their gut health.

I know it all sounds quite detailed and time consuming, but this entire process takes me no longer than it takes to make a cup of tea.

The benefits I feel from drinking a glass of Kombucha tea every day are, less bloating, more energy, better sleep, less joint pain, high immunity to colds and contagious illnesses, and a general sense of good health and well being.

We wouldn't be without our Kombucha now.

How do you make your Kombucha?

If you love the idea of making your own Kombucha, but are still unsure about the instructions detailed here, please feel free to email me with any of your questions.



  1. Hi there.... I made my first batch from the SCOBY you gave me and it was delicious. The second bottle that I opened has formed another tiny SCOBY in it. I am presuming that this bottle is still ok to use whilst the baby SCOBY is still in there or should I remove it? Not much left in the bottle mind you... just wondering?

  2. Hi Chris, good to hear you're enjoying your Kombucha. If we leave the second ferment long enough it will form another little SCOBY in the bottle. This is perfectly normal and safe to drink. Did you notice the flavour was a bit more sour? The longer we leave the made up Kombucha in the bottles (second ferment) the drier it becomes as the ferment eats up more of the sugars. It will eventually turn into vinegar, like wine. We like to drink ours at approximately two weeks after it has been in the bottle (second ferment) flavored with ginger, or berries, or just recently we had turmeric from some of our turmeric we grew in the garden. It's usually fizzy when we open a new bottle. Today I bottled some with fresh turmeric and fresh ginger. :)

  3. Hi there Sally, I am going to try this method as it is a little different to mine.

    I leave my "booch" sit for 5-7 days for the first ferment and two days for the second. I use eight teabags and 2/3 cup of sugar. (I could save more money with your way of making kombucha lol!)

    This is how I do mine; I brew my tea for about 20-30 minutes in two "litre" sized glass jugs (doubled mixture). Is there a time that you brew your teabags? I have probably missed it in your post.

    Once brewed, I remove the teabags and let sit to cool. When it is ready to be made up, I remove the scoby from the existing kombucha and sit in a glass bowl, then bottle up the kombucha, straining as I go. Once that is done I add the cooled tea in on top of the leftover kombucha and top it up with cool water (makes two litres). Add scoby back in, then cover and put away to brew for 5-7 days. Add chopped fruit etc to bottled kombucha and sit on the bench for two days before putting in the fridge.

    There seems to be many different ways to make kombucha :)


  4. There really seems to be a great variety of Booch brewing methods Tania. Emma's, ('A Simple Living Journey') latest post about the way she brews hers, is different again. I use only two teabags, whether for a single 1.5 litre batch, or for a 3 litre batch because it still seems to be strong enough. I guess my brew must be weaker than yours. It's certainly weaker than the tea I make when having a cuppa with milk in it. Depending on the weather, my first brew takes approximately just over a week to grow the thin SCOBY layer on the top. When that has formed, that's when I know it's ready for bottling. I've found that the second ferment in bottles with a flavouring of choice (ginger or berries) becomes fizzy enough for drinking after a week in the cupboard. It retains its fizz and flavour for around two weeks before becoming too sour for us. I've accidentally left a bottle for months but I then used it for vinegar.

    1. Oops forgot to mention... whatever works for you, is the way to do it I say. I originally wrote the post as an explanation to folks who took my SCOBY's but had no idea how to make it. To de-mysify it to some extent. To just get them doing it without it being too complicated. Actually the reason I began blogging was to avoid writing details of instructions for various things, each time a new person wanted to know how to do something. It's much simpler to say, "the instructions are on the blog". Hope all is well up there Tania and fingers crossed you and us both get this rain that's forecast for this afternoon. XX

    2. Thank you for the kombucha explanation Sally. I will go and have a look how Emma does it. I find it fun to mix things up a bit, trying different methods keeps me interested lol :)

      Sadly no rain here, it is so dry that I may not even bother with the veggie patch this year other than what is already growing. I am waiting for hubby to connect more rain water drippers up to plants and to put a better shade over the veggies. Waiting is all I seem to do lol!

      Have a great rest of the week,



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