I first started brewing kombucha in 2012. It's hard to believe I started that journey so long ago!
Whenever people learn that I brew kombucha at home, they always have a lot of questions about it. The first reaction I get is people wondering how hard it is. One of the best things about brewing kombucha is how easy it really is!
I can't imagine going back to paying $3.49 for a 16 ounce bottle at the grocery store when I can make my own kombucha for a fraction of the cost.
I was fortunate enough to learn how to brew kombucha from Hannah Crum of Kombucha Kamp. Her advice gave me the confidence to start brewing kombucha at home. So I wanted to pass along a little bit of that advice to you.
If you've though about brewing kombucha, here's a list of everything you need to get started brewing kombucha using a batch brew system. This simply means you brew kombucha in batches. I find that it's the easiest method for beginners.
1. Glass Jar
Your glass jar can be literally anything. You can use an old pickle jar (that's washed really well), a half gallon mason jar or anything similar. I use these gallon glass jars. I have three of them. Your jar does not need a lid, but it does need to be glass.
2. Jar Cover
You don't use a traditional lid when brewing kombucha because it needs airflow. You can use a piece of an old sheet or thin cloth with a rubber band or these super cute kombucha covers (I use these because they're easy). Don't use cheesecloth though because the weave isn't fine enough.
If you haven't heard the term SCOBY, it's an acronym for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. It's what turns your sweet tea into fermented kombucha. If you have a friend that brews kombucha, you can get a SCOBY from them (SCOBYs grow babies with every batch).
However, please make sure the SCOBY is healthy. I prefer to get my SCOBYs from a reputable source like Kombucha Kamp. You can check out their SCOBYs here.
4. Organic Tea
You can use any combination of teas you like – black, green and white are the most common. Kombucha Kamp has a really nice tea blend for making kombucha that I like to use because it's tried and true. When I run out of that, I typically use organic green tea.
What you want is is plain old good fashioned white sugar. Choose organic if you can. If you can't, make sure it's cane sugar. Don't worry, the sugar is food for the SCOBY so the content will be greatly reduced during the brew.
6. Filtered Water
Make sure you're using filtered water when you brew kombucha. Chlorine can kill your SCOBY and you don't want fluoride invading your homemade kombucha. Interestingly enough, you don't want to use reverse osmosis water because you want to retain the water's natural minerals. I use a Berkey water filter.
7. Heat Source (Optional, But Recommended)
Now that winter will be upon us very soon, you may want to consider getting a heat source for your kombucha. It thrives best in warmer temperatures, so if you live in a cold climate, it's a must. Click here to read about the options for keeping your kombucha warm.
8. The Big Book of Kombucha
Remember how I said Hannah taught me to brew kombucha? Well you can get all of her wisdom in her book The Big Book of Kombucha. Even as a seasoned kombucha brewer, I have found The Big Book of Kombucha to be a tremendous resource.
In addition to everything you need to know about brewing kombucha, there are so many recipes and tips on how to use your kombucha. While you might be able to find the basics about brewing kombucha online, I have never seen such an in-depth resource.
Hannah and Alex definitely poured themselves into this book. You can tell it's a labor of love. Every single detail you need to know and question you might have about brewing kombucha is covered in The Big Book of Kombucha.
I especially found the section on carbonation helpful. I always struggle with bubbles, so it's nice to realize that many commercial kombucha brands actually carbonate their kombucha. I came away with a few tips to try with my kombucha to get a bit more effervescence.
Whether you're a total newbie at brewing kombucha or a seasoned veteran, The Big Book of Kombucha is one book you need on your bookshelf. I keep my copy handy all the time.
Now that you have your supply list for brewing kombucha, click here to learn the steps to brewing kombucha.
Featured images © Deposit Photos / bhofack2 and GreenArt_Photography