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Make Your Own Kombucha At Home

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Here are the basics steps of how you can make Kombucha tea in your own kitchen.

 
 
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Step 1: Boil water

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Boil enough water to fill a medium-large jar.

Step 2: Steep Black Tea

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Steep two bags of black tea. You could use one filled tea infuser instead if desired.

Step 3: Add sugar

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Add about one fourth cup of sugar to the steeped tea. Depending on the size of your jar, you may want to add more. The sugar feeds the fungus that ferments the tea. You can always add more sugar if needed.

Step 4: Let it cool

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Make sure that you let the tea cool.

Step 5: Begin a SCOBY

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The SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts) is what ferments the tea. If you do not have a SCOBY to start fermenting your tea, you can begin making it by simply pouring in a bottle of unpasteurized kombucha. Your first SCOBY will grow in about two-three weeks and will be about 1/4 inch thick.

Step 6: Dealing with the SCOBY

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After growing your first SCOBY or if you acquire one, you will discover that a new SCOBY will grow on top of your first. After your tea has fermented, split the old SCOBY and the new SCOBY apart. Make sure your hands are very clean and try to do your best not to touch the SCOBY too much.

Step 7: Pour out fermented kombucha

Picture of Pour out fermented kombucha
Now that the SCOBYs are out of the jar, pour the fermented tea into a clean jar. Make sure you pour slowly as the tea is very fizzy. You can store the tea to drink in the fridge. Also, make sure that you pour it into a glass as plastic reacts with the tea and is not good for you.

Step 8: Setting up the new batch

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Pour your cooled black tea/sugar mixture into the kombucha jar to start your next batch. Leave about a half inch of room at the top for the SCOBY and the second SCOBY that will grow on top.

Step 9: Put in your SCOBY

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Put your first SCOBY in with the tea and give your other SCOBY to a friend to start their own kombucha. Some people take their second SCOBY and dry it. It dries into a leathery material.
rekcoasil1 year ago
It wasn't real clear on when it's ready to drink or be bottled? Was the "old tea" drinkable errrrr what?
Why aren't you supposed to use metal utensils?
SCOBY: symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast.
erothman22 years ago
There's not much point, it seems to me, in washing your hands really well, if you're not sanitizing the measuring cups, the jar, and everything else that is going to come in contact with the mixture you're making, just before using them. As with canning, the aim is to keep the recipe safe from potentially harmful organisms. And speaking of organisms, I suppose you could call this a chemical reaction, as you do, but it's a biological process the yeast is alive; it eats the sugar and grows. Great filming and great step-by-step. I'd just think you'd want to clean up your process some for your own safety.
im a very how-did-it-start kinda person. how is it that adding unpasturized kombucha to start the "mother" fungus can start the whole thing? i just dont see how it can start. and where does unpasturized kombucha come from anyway? same process u explained? if so, how did the make they're first "mother" culture? i think u konw wat im talking about. thank you
With unpasteurized(Live!) Kombucha, while bottled, the "mother" wont grow, due to the anaerobic environment. The bacteria responsible for the polysacharide mycelium are aerobic.

Given oxygen(clothcover), sugar and purines(tea), the sleeping cultures in a bottle of live kombucha will awaken! The more acidic, the more they thrive.

The bacteria and yeast in kombucha float around in the air, along with all the other molds, yeast and bacteria, IF you create a "must/wort", and DIDNT introduce a kombucha scoby or starter drink; There is a 20% chance you might spontaneously generate one given a prolonged fermentation time. Try IT the traditional way!
nateO3 years ago
Would brewer's yeast work? 
CydeSwype3 years ago
 You can use dried scoby for dog treats (they prefer it dried to fresh, as it's more like a jerky).  I read horses like it also.  You can eat scoby dried or fresh (I haven't done this yet, but read of others doing it).  There's even a method for using it as a skin treatment:

http://kombuchakamp.blogspot.com/2007/09/what-to-do-with-extra-babies.html
What would you use the dried scoby for?  Would you be able to use it(rehydrated)  later as a starter?
ElissaMeyers (author)  craftinsusan4 years ago
 Unfortunately, the scoby is unable to be rehydrated, (that I know of). I have just heard of people using the dried scoby for art projects. It can be strong, and when dried it feels like a leather.
SisterMable4 years ago
Be sure to never use a metal utensil in your tea or on your scoby - use plastic, glass, or just your hands! :)
Doctor What5 years ago
Very good and clear! I've got to find some kombucha so I can make my own SCOBY (instead of purchasing one).
We should make a kombucha group and have everyone mail their mothers to each other!
ElissaMeyers (author)  scoochmaroo5 years ago
I was actually thinking about doing something like that also! We should definitely. It would be really awesome to have a community of people that share a kombucha family.
Check out the new Kombucha Group I created!
I'm going to be getting a mother from stasterisk here in the bay area,
and I'd love to send my new ones on to someone else.
Let's start a list of people who have some or need some!
You guys are so cool. I would love to get started with my own 'brew' again. Recently moved in the winter time and lost my scoby. I would love another. Can you help me? the group sounds great, count me in.
That's a great idea! Wouldn't people have to use refrigerated shipping? And is that available?
I know they do mail-order SCOBYs, so I'll look into how it's done!
Now go join the Group!
Sweet. Once you find out how to ship them, I would gladly be a part. Just PM me when you find out!
Please count me in. I love kombucha; I'd like to make my own. FTG
FeedTheGrid4 years ago
Well done, Elissa. So, I can grow my own SCOBY from a store-bought kombucha? Sweet. Although, I do like the idea of sending the mothers. Awesome. Thanks for sharing! FTG
SeanPatrick5 years ago
Just for clarification the Kombucha mother is not a fungus. The name SCOBY is actually an acronym that describes the makeup of the organism; it stands for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast.
mooshisho5 years ago
I tried 3 times to get my topic posted in the forums, but every time I hit "preview topic," it would disappear, so I'll post it here for now. I had recently gotten a mother from a friend and started to brew my first batch of kombucha. However, she didn't send me the "instructions" for brewing until a little later. She told me that I needed to add apple cider vinegar since I didn't get any starter tea. Right now, I've only the sweet tea mix (black tea + sugar) and the original mother. The original mother is kind of just floating on its side (it was a little too big for my jar) and there is a new mother growing at the surface. It's been sitting out for about 5 days. Will my tea turn out alright even though I didn't have the starter tea or vinegar? Thank you! -- Moo
mce1285 years ago
This is cool, but I don't see the "green" twist for it to qualify for the epilog contest. After all fermentation releases co2.
ElissaMeyers (author)  mce1285 years ago
I guess I was thinking that it is a renewable drink in which all you need is some black tea and sugar. Also, it does require the boiling of water, but I suppose you could do so with an alternative source that does not use gas or electric. But for the most part, you are making your own drink and being free of plastic and glass bottles (besides the jar you are starting with). Recycling is good to do with drinks you buy at the store, but why not just make your own drink and reuse your cup.
Ok, I get where you're coming from... I'm all about the homebrew myself, and was just curious how it fit to that... :)
ElissaMeyers (author)  mce1285 years ago
Because you are interested in homebrewing things/reusing things, you may find my blog interesting. I have just started putting peoples favorite cups/drinking devices on it and having people include a little story about its past and what they put in it.

http://elissameyers.wordpress.com/
mce128 mce1285 years ago
maybe if you combined it with one of the algae "bioreactors" as the co2 source?
MissChiff5 years ago
I am confused in a few places:

Step 5: If you do not have a SCOBY to start fermenting your tea, you can begin making it by simply pouring in a bottle of unpasteurized kombucha.
I pour the bottle of Kombucha into the pot of cooled tea? Or place the SCOBY in the pot?
Can I used one of the flavored Kombucha drinks? Will it affect the flavor of the SCOBY/resulting kombucha?

Step 6: After growing your first SCOBY ...
What do I do with the tea in that time? Do I leave it in the pot? Do I need to refrigerate it? How long will it take to grow my first SCOBY from a bottle of commercial kombucha?
How long will kombucha last in the fridge? Since it's fermented, is it ok indefinitely?

I've recently fallen in love with Kombucha and crave it every day, so I'm excited to get started. I've been reading all of the instructables about it, but this one seems the most user-friendly. Thanks for your help!
ElissaMeyers (author)  MissChiff5 years ago
for step 5: If you do not have a SCOBY at all then you would put a bottle of Kombucha in with the cooled pot of tea/sugar inside of a glass jar. Leaving in the Kombucha and tea in the pot can cause a weird chemical reaction so it is best to keep it in glass. If you have acquired a SCOBY already, then you do not need to pour the bottle of Kombucha in at all. You would just put it right in with the black tea/sugar mix in a jar. Also, make sure to get the original Kombucha without flavoring as it will not be as effective when starting to grow your first SCOBY. What I have done, is add flavored black tea to my next batch. for step 6: You will have to leave the tea with Kombucha bottle/SCOBY alone for a couple weeks in the jar. Don't refrigerate it or anything, just leave it out and covered with the cloth on top of your fridge or on a counter. The Kombucha after it has been fermented, should last awhile. I normally drink it within the growing time of my next batch so it is consistently refilled. Best of luck with your Kombucha!
Dr. Steel5 years ago
All I could think of while reading the title was the song Sugar by System of a Down.
heheh same here! "The kombucha mushroom people sitting around all day!"
how alcoholic is kombucha
same as non-alcoholic beer, around .5% alcohol by volume (1 proof)
lemonie5 years ago
Seems to be a popular subject for a booze Instructable, maybe I should try one of these. L
abadfart5 years ago
very nice and tasty
westhomas5 years ago
Awesome!
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