How to Brew Kombucha – Easy Instructions

When you brew kombucha, also known as fermented tea, you will be making a drink that has been around for a very long time. It’s only recently that it’s become a widely known and popular beverage. Beautiful photos of this colorful beverage are common on social media, and a wide variety of fermented tea flavors can be found lining grocery store shelves. Once you are brewing kombucha at home, you will enjoy it everyday.

Even in small towns, kombucha is no longer just an exotic sounding beverage. It’s become quite popular with everyday people. After a conversation with a waitress at my local dive bar about her favorite varieties of kombucha, I decided that I was going to see what the fuss was all about. 

After a few hours of internet research about fermented tea and how to brew kombucha, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it’s easy to do with a relatively minimal cost and time investment.

The Basics of Brewing Kombucha

The first thing you’ll need to start making fermented tea is a SCOBY. This is a Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and yeast. It typically looks like a white rubbery disc. If you can obtain one locally from a nearby brewer, that’s ideal, but if not, they can also be ordered online. 

Be sure to do your research and find a reputable source. In addition to a SCOBY, the short-list of basic brewing ingredients and supplies includes:

Fermented Tea Ingredients

  • 1-2 tablespoons loose leaf tea or 3-5 tea bags
  • 1 cup plain white sugar
  • 1 gallon chlorine-free water (well water, spring water, or boiled municipal tap water if chlorine has been added)
brew kombucha fermented tea

Equipment to Brew Kombucha

  • 2-gallon glass brewing vessel with a stainless steel spigot
  • cloth cover
  • kettle or pot for making the sweet tea
  • long handled spoon
  • Stainer, optional
  • Bottle funnel
  • glass bottles to use for flavoring and storing the kombucha

The steps for brewing kombucha are very straightforward. You can use the quantities below to set up a 1 gallon brew if you have a small SCOBY and small amount of starter liquid. But you can also make larger batches depending upon the size of your SCOBY. 

Just like with any type of home brewing, fermenting, or food preservation, it’s important to use clean equipment in order to ensure a safe, contaminant-free environment. 

SCOBY for brewing kombucha

Choosing a Container to Brew Kombucha

When selecting your brewing vessel, choose one with a high quality spigot that can withstand the acidity of kombucha and will not corrode or degrade over time. Low grade plastic or metallic looking paints or coatings are not appropriate for the brewing environment. A glass brewing vessel with a stainless steel spigot is a safe choice for long-term use. 

Choosing Bottles to Store Kombucha

You can use a variety of glass bottles for flavoring and storing your kombucha. Air-tight swingtip bottles are an attractive choice for storing your kombucha. Any type of heavy duty glass bottle that can withstand the pressure of carbonation will work. 

Adding flavoring ingredients such as fruits not only gives you a variety of flavors to enjoy, but it will also induce a secondary fermentation to add additional effervescence to your kombucha. Glass bottles with a larger opening that allow for easier cleaning are best to use when adding flavoring ingredients to your kombucha.

After You Brew Kombucha- Get the Bottles Ready!

Giving the kombucha a few days to absorb the flavoring ingredients. Next, you can use a strainer and bottle funnel to pour the flavored kombucha into a clean bottle for storage. This will produce a more professional looking final beverage.

The steps to brewing kombucha are listed briefly below. Although the basic process is simple, there are a lot of nuances and subtleties in the process. Getting a book on how to brew kombucha and familiarizing yourself with the steps in more detail before making your first batch can help ensure your first batch is a success.

various flavorings for second ferment

Steps for Brewing Kombucha

  1. Prepare 1 quart of hot tea using either 1-2 tablespoons of loose leaf tea or 3-5 tea bags. Use a good quality black or green tea, not herbal or decaffeinated tea.
  2. Dissolve 1 cup of plain white sugar into the hot tea.
  3. Pour 3 quarts of cool water into the brewing vessel and then add the hot tea.
  4. After the liquid in the brewing vessel has cooled to lukewarm temperature, place the SCOBY on top of the liquid. If you received more than one SCOBY you can set aside the extra in a separate jar (a SCOBY hotel) in case you need to restart your kombucha.
  5. Pour the starter liquid (which is mature kombucha) that came with your SCOBY on top of the SCOBY. 
  6. Cover the brewing vessel with a piece of breathable fabric and secure with an elastic band.
  7. Store your brewing vessel in a relatively warm location with good air circulation and out of direct sunlight.
  8. Allow the brewing vessel to sit undisturbed while it turns into fermented tea for one week to several weeks. The time it will take your newly set up kombucha to become fermented tea will vary depending upon the room temperature. Other factors such as the size of your SCOBY and the strength of the starter liquid will have an impact.

How to Enjoy Your Fermented Tea

After a week or so is when the fun really begins! 

You will be able to smell a vinegar aroma coming from the top of your brewing vessel. That means it’s time to start sampling. Pour out a shot glass sized sample from the spigot. 

As the kombucha ferments, the flavor will taste less like a sweet tea and more tart or tangy. If your first sample still tastes fairly sweet, wait another couple of days and then sample it again. When the kombucha reaches a balance between sweet and tart or tangy that you like, you can remove some of the fermented tea for bottling. 

Introducing a Second Ferment – Flavoring Kombucha Brews

You can either enjoy the kombucha as is, or you can flavor it with fruits, herbs, spices or savory ingredients. The possibilities are literally endless. 

If you are satisfied with the level of tanginess in your fermented tea, it can be placed in the refrigerator to preserve the current level of tanginess.  Or you can store the kombucha on the counter in bottles for a few days to allow it to continue to ferment and to develop the flavors of the added flavoring ingredients.

It is helpful to take notes as you brew kombucha, so keep a notebook in your kombucha brewing area. Record the date of when you set up your first batch and subsequent batches of kombucha, along with notes on sampling dates, and flavoring recipes. These observations will be a valuable reference as you brew fermented tea, and will help you know what worked well and also things that perhaps didn’t work as well.

Brew Kombucha using the Continuous Brewing Method

The continuous brew method is a great way to always have fermented tea ready to enjoy. It’s the method that I use, and you can read about my first two months of brewing kombucha using the continuous brew method here. For this method, you will want to leave approximately two-thirds of the kombucha in the brewing vessel after removing your first few bottles. This will give the next batch of kombucha a head start. Top up the brewing vessel with another gallon of sweet tea, and you’ll be enjoying your next batch of fermented tea in no time! 

Allow the brewing vessel to sit another week or two and begin tasting again, and then repeat the process above. The rate at which fermentation occurs will be faster during the warmer spring and summer months and slower in the fall and winter months. The rate of fermentation will also become faster as the SCOBY and kombucha mature. 

continuous scoby for brewing kombucha
brew kombucha

Long-term Care of your SCOBY for the next time you Brew Kombucha

Since the SCOBY is a living organism, over time it can grow quite large in size. You will need to maintain or trim your SCOBY occasionally. When it gets too large, your brew might ferment too quickly for your taste. It’s also a good idea to clean out the continuous brew vessel. Try to restart the process once or twice a year. 

There is so much more to learn about brewing kombucha. I hope this brief introduction gets you excited to try making your own fermented tea! 

When you brew kombucha, also known as fermented tea, you will be making a drink that has been around for a very long time. #homestead #homesteading #selfsufficiency #probiotics #fermenting #kombucha

More Fermented Foods

Boost your gut health with more probiotic goodness! Try these other fermented food recipes and start feeling healthy now!

Grow Your Own Food Series

How to Grow Your Own Food Series

In the midst of chaos and crazy, now, more than ever, people want to learn how to grow their own food! We’re linking elbows with some amazing homesteading YouTubers to show you how to grow your own food on March 23 through March 28. We’re here to help, for absolutely FREE!

Here’s what you can expect to learn about:

  • how to make a simple loaf of bread
  • how to raise chickens (anywhere!)
  • how to garden
  • what you should plant by season
  • how to garden in any climate
  • how to know how much food to grow for your family
  • how to plant basic lettuces and greens
  • how to preserve food
  • different types of gardening (vertical, raised bed, and more)
  • how to raise dairy animals
  • how to make cheese
  • how to start an herb garden
  • how to make sourdough
  • how to raise your own meat

. . . and so much more!

Join us on Monday March 23rd for the week long series, How to Grow Your Own Food! We promise, whether you’re a complete novice, or a seasoned homesteader, you’ll learn something!

Join us on the Homesteaders of America YouTube channel each morning of the week for any intro video and links to each day’s topics and videos. Make sure you subscribe and hit the notifications bell so that you can be notified of each day’s new videos!

We can’t wait to learn with you!

Participating Youtubers:

Melissa K. Knorris
Cog Hill Farm
Lumnah Acres
A Farm Girl in the Making
Better Together Life
Farmhouse on Boone
McMurray Hatchery
Janet Garman–Timber Creek Farm
Life on Beagle Road
Sow the Land
The Honeystead
Common Sense Home
Urban Overalls
Independence Acres Homestead
Nitty Gritty Life
Hoss Tools
AJ Farms–Homestead Evolution
The Hollar Homestead

Fermented Garlic | Learn the Benefits (Video)

Fermented garlic is an excellent option for those who are new to the world of fermentation. Not only is it beneficial to boost the immune system, but fermented garlic also contains natural probiotics in order to establish good gut health! Not to mention it is delicious as an overall food item! Even the kids will love it!

Why Make Fermented Garlic

Fermented Garlic will boost your immune system AND satisfy your taste buds!

For centuries garlic and raw honey have been known to contain strong medicinal qualities. Now, put them together and allow the concoction to ferment. (It is really that simple!) And what is created is a powerhouse of healthy goodness.

It is not only one of the easiest ferments to make, but also one of the healthiest! If you’re considering getting into fermenting at home, this is a great place to start!

In stacking the anti-bacterial properties found in both honey and garlic make this ferment incredibly beneficial!

Garlic is an expectorant, fever reducer, digestive stimulant, anti-parasitic, cholesterol reducer, and blood thinner (so avoid large quantities of this ferment if you are taking blood thinners already.)

Fermented Honey Ingredients

The steps to create this highly medicinal natural item are quite easy. More than likely the ingredients are available within your home pantry. Ideally, use garden-grown, locally sourced, and the freshest ingredients possible.

  • Raw, Local Honey
  • Fresh Garlic

You can use store-bought garlic and it will work, no problem, but the raw, unpasteurized honey is very important!

That’s really all you need!

With this in mind, check out this video and learn how to create fermented garlic, it’s medicinal uses, and how to utilize it as a fantastic food option for good gut health.

How to Make Fermented Garlic Honey

The process of making fermented garlic honey is extremely easy. Simply stack layers of garlic covering the cloves with honey and repeat. Make sure that the top layer is honey and the garlic is completely submerged. Remove all the air bubbles. 

Consider using a fermentation pipe to release air or you may open the lid to burb the fermentation daily.

You will know the fermentation is ready when the honey goes from it’s normal consistency to very thin and runny. 

Uses for Fermented Garlic Honey

You can use the garlic anywhere you would regularly use it. In cooking, pesto, salad dressing, salsa recipes, pickles, or even by itself! You can use the garlic to make a compound butter or garlic powder for seasoning food.

The fermented honey can be used in sauces and marinades where the garlicky honey flavor would help a dish shine.

The dosage on fermented garlic is 4 grams of fresh garlic daily (about 4 cloves). A tablespoon of the honey can be taken daily or the honey can be used for cuts, scrapes, and wounds.

Fermented honey is extremely beneficial for human consumption, but you can also use it on your homestead! Make sure to incorporate it with raising poultry and small livestock as well. For example, providing it in place of medicated feed.

However you use it, make sure you keep it at room temperature. Once you start to heat it up you lose the live cultures & probiotics. 

How to Ferment Garlic Honey

More Fermented Foods

Boost your gut health with more probiotic goodness! Try these other fermented food recipes and start feeling healthy now!

Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar Made at Home

Apple Cider Vinegar

For little effort you get one of the most beneficial pantry staples, apple cider vinegar! Learn all about the health benefits of apple cider vinegar and the various ways you can use it!

By Destiny Hagest, Lehman’s Hardware

A few falls ago, one of my husband’s coworkers invited us to come out with buckets to pick apples from the trees in his overwhelmed backyard. We came home happy with three five-gallon buckets full. Then came the endless task of processing them, and figuring out what the heck we were going to do when we got sick of apple pies.

Aside from bourbon apple pork chops, apple muffins, and EVERYTHING ELSE we wound up making, I had a massive pile of apple peels, and I decided I wanted to do something more than feed them to my chickens this year. (Sorry chickens, that’s what you get for trying to eat my wedding ring).

Turning to the internet for inspiration, I quickly discovered that making apple cider vinegar required little else but clean water, apple scraps, and a bit of patience, so I set to work.

By that Christmas season, I had about 64 ounces of the stuff — pure, homemade apple cider vinegar, just ever so slightly sweet, and all the more satisfying because I had made it myself.

You guys, this isn’t a complicated process, it takes SO little effort (well, aside from all that cursed peeling).

And you get one of my favorite beneficial kitchen staples ever out of the deal. Learn about the health benefits and other creative ways you can use apple cider vinegar.

Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

There are so many fantastic health benefits to apple cider vinegar.*

It can slow premature aging. 

  • Thanks to the natural antioxidants in apple cider vinegar, sipping this little concoction is akin to taking a beauty supplement — it actually helps to fight signs of premature aging caused by free radical damage (think: sunlight).

It helps balance your blood sugar.

  • This one is really interesting. Several studies have shown that sipping a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar each night can actually lower your blood sugar the next morning!

It’s great for sore throats. 

  • Thanks to the natural antibacterial properties of apple cider vinegar, it makes a great natural sore throat medicine.

It can balance your gut. 

  • There’s a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut responsible for making digestion run smoothly and helping your body absorb nutrients properly. When you have a bacterial overgrowth, apple cider vinegar can help to balance that.

It can reduce heartburn. 

  • It sounds crazy, right? The truth is is that apple cider vinegar, when diluted with water, can actually help prevent heartburn. Since acid reflux is caused by a shortage of acid, apple cider vinegar helps to gently restore the balance.

It’s a great source of manganese. 

  • There isn’t much nutrient-wise to apple cider vinegar, but it does have unusually high levels of the mineral manganese, which is responsible for everything from bone health to regulating our metabolism.