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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Making Kombucha Diary: Day 5 - How to Brew Kombucha

Tea for Brewing Kombucha
Ok, so some of you might know that on Friday night I began the process of brewing Kombucha for the first time.  In that first post on Friday (Day 1) I outlined some of the health benefits of Kombucha.  These include cancer fighting and liver detoxifying, and it's rich in antioxidants. 

In the second post (Day 2,3 and 4) I gave an in-depth explanation of some of the terminology and tools that are used to brew Kombucha.

Today, I'm going to show you the process I used to begin brewing, and show you what my Kombucha looks like on Day 5. 

Tools (for detailed info on these see the second post)

* 1 large glass jar that can hold at least 1 gallon of water (about 4 litres or 16 cups)
 * 1 gallon water (about 4 litres or 16 cups)

 * 4-5 tea bags, green or black tea or a blend of both

 * Approx 1 cup white sugar

 * Kombucha Scoby (aka Mother) or culture 
with about 1/2 to 2 cups leftover/starter liquid (this could be some of the reserved tea from your last batch of Kombucha)

 * Cheesecloth or tea towel and elastic band


1. In a large pot, bring water and sugar to a boil, until the sugar dissolves.
2. Remove pot from heat and add tea bags.  Allow the bags to steep while the tea cools completely to room temperature.  This can take a few hours.  This must not be hot when you add the Scoby or culture so be patient. 

Scoby in starter liquid (reserved from my friend's last batch)
3. Once your tea is cool, stir in your reserved or starter liquid.  Then place your Scoby or culture in your jar.  It might look like it's about to sink, but it will work its way back up.

Kombucha Scoby or "Mother"

Kombucha Scoby floating in tea

4. Now, cover your jar with the cheesecloth or towel and secure with a rubber band.  Set the jar in a place where it won't be disturbed.  You don't want to be moving it around and stirring it, this will disturb and possibly kill your growing bacteria.  A warm place is good, as you want your bacteria to grow and spread over the top of the tea.  I put mine in the corner of the kitchen, which is one of the warmest places in the house.  Leave this be for 10 days to brew, at this point, you should remove the scoby, and the new "baby" scoby that has grown over the first one.

Then, bottle your tea in glass jars and store in the fridge or someplace cool.  My friend Ashley who passed the Scoby on to me warned me not to leave my tea in the cupboard, as the bacteria will grow over the top again.  

From what I understand, you can separate the scobies and store them in some of the reserved liquid to use for later batches, or share with friends.  Don't store this in the fridge, though, as it might die off in the cold.  (Who knows, if things work out, the wonderful ladies serving as my bridesmaids this summer will all get little baby scobies as thank you gifts... Just Kidding, Ladies!  Unless you want them, of course!) 

Kombucha brewing in the kitchen corner
So I'm on Day 5 now and am already planning what flavours to instill my Kombucha tea with.  I'm thinking I'll do a couple of jars of blueberry, and a couple of ginger...

Here's what my Kombucha looks like on Day 5, see it's getting a little scuzzy looking on top.  Apparently that's normal, that's the bacteria spreading and growing.

What flavours would you like to try?

For the rest of the Kombucha diaries, check out:

 *OAS Information: If you have Oral Allergy Syndrome, you *should* be ok with this one.  In fact, an article from the Toronto NOW Magazine refers to Japanese research that suggests green tea may help ease allergy symptoms (unfortunately I can't find the exact source for this study, but here's the article).


  1. I grew the most amazing Scoby this sad to throw it away!!! It was the picture perfect Scoby! Shame :(

    1. That's too bad :( Maybe when you get back from your trip I can give you a grandbaby Scoby from the mama you gave me!

  2. Two things (well, three if you include YYYYAAAYY Kombucha!) It's fine if the scoby rests on the bottom and does not float back to the top. The new scoby will still form across the top of the liquid. You can also store the mothers in the fridge, I had to store one for several months in the fridge and once it warmed back up it reproduced fine. They do seem to be happier to come back to room temperature before being added to the sweetened tea.

    I love mixing up new flavors... My standard right now is ginger mint, over the winter I was enamored with more floral notes like lavender, rose, and added lots of elderberry to various batches to try and boost my immune system.

  3. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, belinconnu. It's nice to hear that you've had good luck with keeping your scoby in the fridge. I've heard some mixed reviews on that and that sometimes this doesn't work, but that just letting your scoby sit in some reserved liquid in a container works fine.


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