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(F1) How To Brew Kombucha at Home +Advanced Tips

Updated: Sep 2, 2023

I thought for my first blog post it would be fitting to share how I began brewing kombucha at home and some useful tips and tricks I learned along the way. If you bought a SCOBY jar from us, this will tell you how to use it and get started!

Although it may seem like a lot, this is still an introduction. It is planned to get beginners going. As such, it won't go over a lot of possiblities because it is designed to deliver the highest odds of success! We do still include some suggestions and options that you can't find on a lot of other manuals.

This section is known as F1, fermentation 1, which is making the base kombucha that you then flavor and/or carbonate if you wish.


Materials:

  • Steel, ceramic, or glass (no substitutions!) jar of your preferred size (most use a gallon to start)

  • A liquid SCOBY or bottle of RAW live kombucha

  • Tea

  • Some form of refined cane sugar

  • Non-chlorinated but clean water

  • A towel/t-shirt and rubber band/string

  • Some form of measuring utensils

  • Bottles for drinking and storage

  • Optional but recommended: Litmus strips or a ph tester

Important Note Before Starting!

The reason some peoples kombucha doesn't work is because they don't use enough starter or only use the pellicle (rubbery disc often confused with the SCOBY). I always suggest using between 10 to 20% SCOBY (above 10). If you bought my SCOBY jar, you can make a gallon. Adjust the following recipe depending on your amount.

1) Making Sweet Tea

Start with about a third of the volume of your containers worth of water (Making a gallon, use a third of a gallon). Get this water to a boil and then take it off of heat for a minute. If you're making a gallon, add 6 teabags or 2 tablespoons of loose leaf tea. You can add a little more than this, but not too much. Feel free to experiment with tea types but it needs to be true tea (camellia sinensis). You're going to want to over-steep this, we usually steep for 10-15 minutes. Don't worry about about it being a little bitter, fermentation breaks down a lot of those molecules.

Strain your leaves out/take your tea bags out and add in anywhere from 3/4 cup sugar to 1 cup sugar per gallon you're making total. Heres a general guide:

1 cup: Gives a standard booch taste, end product will be sweet and sour, slightly higher in sugar

3/4 cup: Will produce a medium strength brew, still potential for sweet/sour, but can also go semi-dry

1/2 cup: not suggested for beginners or a new culture, will turn out light and dry with either sweet or sour accents.

Once thats stirred in, fill with cold water, leaving room for however much liquid SCOBY you have (don't put it in yet). Let it cool to room temperature and you're done with the first step!

2) Starting the Process

Now that your sweet tea is at room temp, you can pour in your SCOBY. If the SCOBY or kombucha was cold, let it warm up for a while first. After doing this, if you bought litmus strips, test your ph to ensure it is below 4.5. If it isn't you can add a little tiny bit of lemon juice or vinegar, but it is preferred that you just use enough starter to begin with (or reduce your sweet tea amount). Cover the whole thing with the cloth and rubber band and let sit for 5 days.

3) Monitor the Process

While it sits there, you should see some bubbles and strands of stuff form over time, as well as the pellicle on top. If you aren't seeing some of these, don't worry. They aren't mandatory and sometimes the "first generation" (your first batch) produces fewer signs. You will definitely see a little bit of something, even if its just a really thin layer on top and some film on the bottom.

Nothing is mold unless it has fuzz. I've seen a lot of kombucha in my life and there are a lot of weird things that are all normal, if you had a low enough PH you will almost definitely not get mold. Don't bother looking inside the kombucha, it would have to grow on top, and it would have to be fuzzy. On the off chance you get mold, you have to start over.

Starting on day 5 and every day or two after, taste a tiny bit and see if you like it. IF you like the taste or it is just a tad bit sweet, move on to the next step!



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