Purchase our Kombucha Kit here.
Using Your Kombucha Brewing Kit
Make Sure You’ve Got…
1 Gallon Glass Brew Jar | Kombucha Starter Culture [SCOBY*] | Organic Tea Blend | Organic Cane Sugar | Cotton Tea Bag | Temperature Strip | pH Strips | Cotton Cover + Rubber Band | Pipette Straw
*SCOBY is an acronym for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast
It’d Be Helpful to Have…
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a small pot, then turn off the heat.
- Remove the pot of water from the heat. Add the entire bag of tea into the reusable tea bag, then add to the pot of water.
- Steep the tea for 5-6 minutes, then take out the tea bag and discard the loose leaf tea inside of it. Rinse and lay the tea bag to air dry for a later batch.
- Add the sugar (1 cup) into your pot of tea, then stir.
- Make sure the sugar is dissolved, then pour the sweet tea into the brew jar.
- Then, fill the brew jar with 8 cups of filtered, cold water, making sure to leave about 3-4 inches of space from the lip of the jar.
- The sweet tea will be room temperature. Stick the temperature strip to the side of the brew jar and check that it’s between 68 - 88°F.
Tip: You want to be sure your sweet tea isn’t too hot, since this can harm the SCOBY.
- Add your SCOBY with its starter tea into the sweet tea.
Tip: Kombucha tends to reach its ideal flavor somewhere between 7-21 days, depending on the temperature.
- Give the sweet tea one gentle stir. Test the kombucha’s pH, making sure it reads at 4.5 or lower. If not, you’ll want to add 1 Tbsp of white vinegar and test again.
- Cover the brew jar, now full of sweet tea and SCOBY, with your cotton cover, then seal it with the rubber band. (The brew jar’s lid is not needed for the brewing process).
- Put the brew jar in a warm spot with plenty of airflow - avoiding direct sunlight. Leave the jar for 7-9 days and do not move it.
- Within 7-9 days, there should be a new, cream-colored layer on the top of your brew. This is the new SCOBY. Trying not to disturb the culture, gently dip the pipette straw along the side of the jar into the brew. Pull out a small amount and taste test.
- Taste the brew every other day until your ideal flavor is achieved. If it is too tart, sweeten it during bottling and try brewing for fewer days the next time you brew. If it is too sweet, place the cloth back on and let it brew a few days longer. Once the kombucha tastes just right, you can use pH strips to verify that it is between 2.5-3.5 (the ideal pH range for kombucha).
Bottling Your Tea
- Be sure your hands are cleaned properly – sanitation is key for preventing spoiled kombucha.
- Reach into your jar and remove the SCOBY(s). You’ll want to do this with your hands to prevent tearing/damaging the SCOBY(s). Place them in a glass container with at least one cup of the kombucha tea. This will serve as starter tea for the next batch.
- Cover the SCOBY(s) with cotton cloth and seal it with the rubber band. For more info on bottling contact support at 1-800-852-4263.
- Though it is possible to bottle kombucha in plastic, few plastic bottles are built to handle the high acidity of kombucha, and may leach chemicals into the tea. Due to its acidic nature, kombucha should never come into contact with metals, as leaching will occur. (Stainless steel grade 304 or higher is corrosion resistant).
Smart choices include:
- Swing-top glass bottles
- Recycled commercial kombucha bottles
- Beer bottles with capper
- Mason Jars
- Recycled wine bottles
Temperature Control Tips
- While brewing, keep your kombucha between 68-88°F (the ideal is 76°F). The culture can mold outside of these temperatures.
- If your home is too cold, place your brew jar near a heating vent, on a high shelf, or use a heating pad to keep it warm. If it’s resting on top of your refrigerator or a cold countertop, place a small towel underneath for insulation.
Sanitation is Key
- Clean all brewing jars and bottles with hot water and a little vinegar before using. (Use soap but not antibacterial soap). Rinse well.
- When transferring your culture during batches, always handle it with clean hands and keep it in a glass jar with a cup of previously made kombucha, or “starter tea.”
- Prevent contamination by storing your brew jar in a low traffic, out of the way location. Keeping the tea too close to food preparation, trash, or plants can cause nearby spores to contaminate it.
How to Spot a Healthy vs. Unhealthy SCOBY
Kombucha cultures are resilient and rarely turn bad. However, if the SCOBY develops anything that looks like mold (just like the stuff on cheese or bread) it should be thrown out.
A Healthy SCOBY
- Brown, stringy, or blob-like material attached to it
- Bumpy or smooth, may have clear dots or bubbles
- Floats on top, sideways, or sinks to bottom of the jar
Brown looking debris on the culture is a good thing. This is yeast, a necessary and healthy by-product of the fermentation process. Just strain it out with a kitchen strainer during bottling if you wish.
An Unhealthy SCOBY
- Fuzzy blue, green, or white mold
Sugar in Your Kombucha
Keep in mind, the sugar added to your initial brew isn’t for you, it’s for the culture. The culture needs sugar to grow and create beneficial probiotics, acids, vitamins, and antioxidants. So, even if you attempt to avoid sugar, do not remove any of the initial cane sugar. Also, do not replace the sugar with a substitute. Within 2 weeks of brewing time, the culture processes most of the sugar, leaving you with a healthy, delicious, and low-sugar beverage.
Remember, everything in moderation, even kombucha. Be sure to drink plenty of water to go along with it.