Brewing Instructions for Making Kombucha Tea at Home

It's fun and satisfying to Make Kombucha tea. You'll be saving money while building and maintaining better health.

The supplies and equipment you need for brewing your own Kombucha are inexpensive and easy to locate. Most of what you need, you already have in your kitchen. Here is what you will need for equipment:

Equipment and Supplies You'll Need

  • Stainless steel, glass or lead-free ceramic pot (such as Corningware) to boil water
  • Glass jar to accommodate the amount of Kombucha you want to make
  • Metal or wood long handled spoon for stirring
  • Measuring cup
  • Porous cloth, paper towel or paper coffee filter
  • Tea

Black tea is a popular choice but green tea may also be used. Herbal teas should not be used because they often contain oils that do not agree with the Kombucha culture. Examples of teas not to use are members of the mint family, bitters, sage, St. John's wort, chamomile, ginger, or plants in the pepper family.

Teas that can be added to black or green teas used in the tea for brewing Kombucha are dried rose hips and dried elderberries.

After the Kombucha has fermented, you can add herbals for extra flavor or medicinal properties. Some of these are aniseed, blackberry or raspberry leaf, chicory, club moss, dandelion, elder flowers and berries, fennel, hibiscus flower, nettle leaf, oat straw, rooibos (red bush tea), plantain, and rose hips.

  • Scoby

Although it is often called a mushroom because it can look like a mushroom cap, the culture that acts as a starter for Kombucha fermentation, the scoby, does not produce spores. It is a light brown or creamy white disk that grows on top of the tea and sugar mixture, and usually takes the form of the container that it sits in. The scoby is a mixture of yeast and assorted beneficial bacteria which duplicates itself during each brewing cycle.

Any container for storing a scoby as well as containers for fermenting and storing Kombucha should be non-metallic. The acids present in the liquid surrounding a scoby and in the Kombucha itself may react with metals to dissolve them into the tea solution. Plastic is fine for storing a scoby, but the tea should be fermented in either glass or ceramic containers that are absolutely lead-free. Many imported ceramics are finished with lead glazes, so it's best to avoid them altogether. Your best bet is glass. You'll be able to see your scoby grow. Plastic is not recommended for fermenting Kombucha.

  • Sugar

The scoby needs sugar to grow. Organic dehydrated sugar cane juice is recommended. White sugar is an acceptable substitute. Do not use honey, maple syrup, rice syrup, or synthetic sweeteners.

  • Water

The better the quality of your ingredients the better the quality of your Kombucha. Tap water contains elements that can inhibit the growth of the Kombucha culture. Spring water or deep well water are your best choices, followed by distilled or filtered water. If you must use tap water, letting it stand for a day will help chlorine outgas.

The amount of water you should use will depend on the size of the container you'll be using for fermentation. Generally, the larger the surface of the fermenting Kombucha, the wider the scoby can grow and the healthier it can become. For this reason, some Kombucha brewers use a wide glass bowl rather than a gallon or quart jar. The important thing is that the container be securely covered with a clean, porous material.

How to Make 1 Gallon of Kombucha

Remove 1 cup of water from 1 gallon of spring water. Bring to a boil. Remove tags and strings from 8 regular-size tea bags. Place the tea bags in the boiling water and remove water from heat. Cover and allow to steep for 12 minutes. Remove tea bags. Stir in 1 cup of sugar. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Pour the tea into a clean 1-gallon glass or non-lead containing ceramic jar or vessel. Add your scoby. Cover the jar with a square of cotton fabric, a paper towel or a coffee filter. The tea's culture needs air to breath but you want to keep out dust, bacteria and bugs, so secure the cover with a rubber band or string. Label the jar with the date.

Allow the tea to rest in a warm, draft-free place, away from light, for 6 to 9 days.

Remove the scoby. Strain the tea through cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter into a glass container. Cover the container tightly with plastic wrap or a snug fitting lid. You may wish to store the finished Kombucha in capped bottles available through companies that supply people who make beer and wine at home. Refrigerate your finished Kombucha.

When bottling you may also add a raisin or slice of ginger to create more fizz if desired. You may also add other ingredients to give additional flavors to the Kombucha. See our recipes for ideas.

Leaving air space in the bottle will allow the culture to continue fermenting. After filling, cap the bottles tightly and store in the refrigerator.

Make sure you keep one scoby for yourself so you can make repeat batches of Kombucha. Store the scoby in a plastic container in the refrigerator. A scoby can be stored up to a year in this way.

How to Make 1 Quart of Kombucha

Prepare 1 quart of black or green tea. Pour the tea into a wide-mouthed jar, stir in 1/4 cup of sugar, and allow the tea to cool to room temperature. Place the scoby on top of the liquid. Cover the jar with cotton fabric, a paper towel or a coffee filter.

Allow the tea to rest in a warm, draft-free place away from light, for 6 to 9 days.

Remove the scoby. Strain the tea through cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter. Pour the Kombucha into clean glass container, seal tightly as described above, and refrigerate.