Kombucha – How to Brew, Health Benefits and More!

In recent times, the world is turning out to be all about health. Everyone is tired of the negative impacts of the fast-paced life that we all live, and therefore, we all turn to healthy beverages and foods to make up for the lack of a healthy environment. Kombucha is not new in the slightest. It has been around for centuries and is known for its incredible health benefits. But what is Kombucha, and where did it come from? What are Kombucha’s health benefits, and how can you make it at home?We will answer these questions and much more. Let’s dive in!

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a type of tea that is sweetened and fermented. It is usually made from green or black tea varieties. Kombucha is sweet, somewhat tarty, and very fun and carbonated. It is an alcohol-free beverage booming with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients. Kombucha can vary in flavor according to the ingredients added. Kombucha can hence have floral, spicy, or herbal tastes, all according to its manufacturing process.

History of the Drink

Kombucha is first thought to have been used in ancient China in 200 BC for its medicinal properties. It was then taken by a Korean doctor, Dr. Kombu, to Japan from which it derives its name. The fermented tea was used to treat royal families and regarded highly as a medicine. Later on, in the 20th century, the tea expanded and reached Europe, supporting it being used in Russia and Germany.The tea then saw its popularity declined as world war II proceeded due to the unavailability of tea and sugar. In 1960, some studies surfaced that compared the effects of kombucha tea to that of yogurt and proved its benefits. Kombucha became even more popular in the 1990s due to its curative properties against serious diseases. However, Kombucha was only spread by kombucha lovers who gave others SCOBY to brew their drink at this time.The kombucha industry soon started commercializing with GT Dave, who founded GT’s Kombucha in 1995. They began as a home-based business and started selling to local health stores. Soon, they were unstoppable. To this day, GT’s Kombucha is one of the leading Kombucha brands in the US.

homemade kombucha recipe

How to make Kombucha at home? (Kombucha Tea Recipe)

You may have wondered how to make kombucha at home. Making Kombucha requires a series of steps, each of which requires a different amount of time. Making Kombucha from scratch is no doubt a lengthy process. It may take weeks before you can enjoy your first drink. Despite this, it is worth it! Plus, the length of time decreases in subsequent makings because you already have a SCOBY and don’t need to make a new one from scratch. This will save you from a lot of hassle because the actual time-consuming process is making the SCOBY.Making kombucha consists of the following steps:

  1. Form a SCOBY (1 – 4 weeks)
  2. Kombucha First Fermentation (6 – 10 days)
  3. Kombucha Second Fermentation (3 – 10 days)

Before we dive into the kombucha tea recipe and learn how to brew kombucha, let’s look at some quick tips to help you in your kombucha-making ventures.

  • Do not use any plastic or metal containers. Metal tends to react with acidic drink and contaminate it. Plastic causes an influx of bacteria in the drink. And not the good kind of bacteria you want.
  • Cleanliness is everything. All of your containers and tools must be extremely clean. Brewing kombucha requires a precise environment for the growth of good bacteria. If a harmful bacteria ends up in your batch, it may ruin the whole batch.
  • Know the temperature. Kombucha will form quicker in warm temperatures as compared to colder ones.
  • Beware of mold! Mold is the ultimate enemy of your Kombucha. Keep an eye out for any mold forming in the drink. This may be hard to recognize, but any green, white or black substance will most probably be mold. If mold forms, you will have no choice but to discard your whole batch.

How to make homemade Kombucha SCOBY (DIY)?

The SCOBY is the origin of the whole Kombucha and its flavor. It is the ‘mother.’ It may look weird and disgusting, but it is what will make your Kombucha what it is. The Kombucha SCOBY is the culture of bacteria and yeast, which helps the fermentation of Kombucha. It also protects the drink from outside invaders and keeps some of the carbonation inside while the carbonation.

Ingredients:

  • 7 cups water
  • 100g white sugar
  • Four tea bags black tea or 1 tbsp loose tea
  • 1 cup unpasteurized unflavored store-bought Kombucha
  • Glass or ceramic container. Either two with 2L each capacity or one with 4L capacity
  • Fine cloth-like coffee filters, paper towels, napkins, or cheesecloth
  • Rubberbands

Kombucha SCOBY Recipe:

  1. Add the water to a pan and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and add in the sugar. Mix until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Put in the tea and let it steep for a few hours until the mixture is at room temperature.
  3. Add the sweetened tea into the containers. Make sure the containers are completely clean. Add in the store-bought Kombucha. If you are using two jars, add half a cup into each jar. Make sure you add any particles resting on the bottom of this Kombucha. These are very useful.
  4. Secure a few layers of fine mesh cloth on top with a rubber band. This will keep out dust and bugs.
  5. Place the container at a dark place with a temperature of almost 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit
  6. Leave the container for 1 to 4 weeks until a SCOBY forms, which is at least a quarter of an inch in thickness.
  7. LEt SCOBY stay in the tea until you are ready to brew with it. It can remain there for years and grow! Do not drink the tea you used to make the SCOBY as it will be too sour. It should not even be used as starter tea.

how to make kombucha scoby

Tips for making the perfect SCOBY:

  • Do not use decaf varieties of tea as SCOBY does not grow well in these.
  • Avoid green tea for making SCOBY as it doesn’t grow well in green or other fruity teas. Use only black tea.
  • Do not substitute sugar with honey. Honey contains some bacteria that may be harmful when fermented for so long. You can use honey in the second fermentation but not while making SCOBY.
  • Don’t stir or disturb the mixture when fermenting; Your SCOBY may float at the top, sideways, or even sink at the bottom. Let it! Everything is normal
  • If you want more SCOBY, just double the ingredients, keeping the proportions in mind.

The First Kombucha Fermentation

  • 14 cups clean water
  • 200g of white sugar
  • Eight teabags or two Tablespoons of loose black or green tea
  • Two cups unflavored starter kombucha. This can be from a store or a previous batch
  • SCOBY
  • A big 4L container or two 2L containers of glass and ceramic
  • Fine mesh cloth
  • Rubberband

Kombucha Recipe:

  1. Add water to a clean pot and let it come to a boil. Turn off the heat and mix sugar into the water.
  2. Put in the tea and let it steep for a few hours until the mixture cools down to room temperature.
  3. Wash your hands very thoroughly before this step. Also, wash any plates or surfaces that you are going to use. Remove the SCOBY we prepared in the last step from the tea and set it on a very clean plate.
  4. Take your jars and fill them with the sweetened tea you prepared. Then add in the starter kombucha.
  5. Lower the SCOBY in the jar and place it in this tea
  6. Seal the top of the jar with a fine mesh cloth and secure it in place with a rubber band
  7. Place the jar in a warm, dark place that should be about 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave the jar there for 6 to 10 days.
  8. On the 6th day, draw out some tea from the jar using a paper straw. Use your fingers to keep the tea in place. Remove the straw and then taste it. You don’t want to risk contaminating the tea with your mouth bacteria.
  9. The tea is made when it is somewhat sweet and tangy. Warmth ensures a faster fermentation process. You can let the tea ferment according to your preference. If you don’t like your kombucha tea, fermenting it for some extra time will remove sugar molecules and lead to a more tangy taste.
  10. Leave about two cups of tea in the jar with the SCOBY to use as starter tea whenever you decide to brew again. You can move the rest to the second phase of the process.

Tips for acing the first fermentation:

  • You are free to explore and use tea varieties other than black tea for this step. These can be green tea, oolong tea, or any other fruity teas. Just add some black tea to the fruity teas because the SCOBY needs it to thrive.
  • If the SCOBY becomes more than 2,5 cm thick, you can peel off a few layers and either store it for later use or gift it to any of your friends who want to try making Kombucha.
  • Ensure the tea isn’t hot when you add in the SCOBY; otherwise, it will die out. Use room temperature tea only.

The Second Kombucha Fermentation

The second fermentation brings us the authentic flavors of Kombucha. It lets in the carbonation, and you can play around with different flavors that will make your Kombucha even tastier than commercially prepared varieties.

Ingredients:

  • Kombucha that you obtained from the first fermentation
  • Sweetener. You can use honey, sugar, or fruit juice. You can even add in candies etc. It is all up to you!
  • Airtight fermentation bottles or airtight jars

Kombucha Recipe:

  1. Strain the Kombucha you got from your first fermentation into airtight bottles. Leave a space of about 1.5 inches on top.
  2. Mix in any sweetener of your choice. You can add more or less according to your preference.
  3. Secure the airtight lid on top
  4. Place the containers in a dark place at room temperature for 3 to 10 days.
  5. You can taste the drink to see when it becomes according to your preference.
  6. When done, place in refrigerator to inhibit the fermentation process.

Tips for the perfect second fermentation:

  • Keep an eye out on your jars when fermenting. They may explode if the pressure reaches a high level. To make the process more predictable, take one plastic bottle and store the Kombucha in it. When the bottle becomes rock-hard, the other ones are probably done.
  • The Kombucha may bubble up due to the carbonation when you open them. Open them over the sink.
  • The amount of sugar you add will affect fermentation times. More sugar means faster fermentation.
  • Before placing your bottles in the fridge, let out the air pressure by opening the bottles for a second.

Supplies Needed For Making Kombucha

I have listed the products I have used and tested from Amazon that proved excellent for making Kombucha.

  • Black tea:
  • Lipton Black Tea Bags are very flavorful and work as well as loose tea.
  • Store-bought starter tea:
  • GT’s Kombucha is the original. It is unflavored and raw and hence perfect for use as starter tea.
  • Large glass container: This glass jar from amazon is spacious enough to brew the tea and is of fantastic quality.
  • Cheesecloth:
  • Regency Wraps Natural Ultra Fine Cheesecloth is perfect for keeping your kombucha breathing while keeping unwanted substances out. It is made of natural unbleached cotton!
  • Flip-top fermentation bottles:
  • Otis Classic Swing Top Glass Bottles are great at keeping in the carbonation due to the airtight caps on top.
  • Kombucha Starter kit: This kombucha starter kit has all you need to brew your first batch of Kombucha, including the SCOBY. Things couldn’t get more convenient!

kombucha health benefits

Health Benefits of Kombucha
Kombucha is a drink for all the health freaks out there. As we have discussed before, it has been used in ancient medicine for centuries. Not only does it contain the health benefits of tea, but it is also rich in probiotics and antioxidants. Kombuchas’ popularity in the health world is therefore due to good reason. Here are some of the health benefits of Kombucha according to science

Rich in Probiotics

The SCOBY on Kombucha is a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. These bacteria and yeast feeds on sugar and creates compounds that make Kombucha. Acetic acid (the main mixture of vinegar), trace amounts of alcohol and gases are produced by these bacteria and yeast.These bacteria are good, and none of these is disease-causing. Moreover, some of these bacteria, like several species of lactic acid bacteria, grow in the Kombucha, which is thought to have probiotic properties. Probiotics are great for your gut health. They keep your gut flora thriving and reduce problems like gas, bloating, diarrhea, and symptoms of IBS. They also reduce inflammation and aid weight loss.

Kombucha has the benefits of teas.

Kombucha is usually made from green and black teas, which are both incredibly healthy. Green tea contains many antioxidants that promote overall health and reduce the risk of many cancers. Green tea has also been shown to increase the number of calories burnt, reduce belly fat and limit the bad cholesterol present in the body.Black tea is also rich in antioxidants. It also works to improve cardiovascular and gut health. It is also great for people with diabetes as it controls blood sugar levels.

Kombucha Contains Antioxidants and May Prevent Cancer

Cancer is one of the scariest diseases to exist on the face of the earth. It is one of the worlds leading causes of death. In cancer, cells mutate and then grow uncontrollably to form a tumor.As mentioned before, Kombucha has many antioxidants. These compounds reduce the number of free radicals in the body. These free radicals are reactive and tend to react with body cells, causing them to malfunction and form cancer cells. Scientists believe that antioxidants gained through foods are more effective than antioxidant supplements.The polyphenols and antioxidants in Kombucha helped to limit the spread of cancerous cells. We have mentioned how antioxidants help with this. But, we do not know how polyphenols help in reducing cancer. We just know that they do! It is speculated that polyphenols prevent gene mutation and cancer cell growth. Therefore, it encourages cell death.Kombucha, made from green tea, is especially rich in antioxidants and is known to limit liver toxicity by up to 70%. In short, Kombucha can save you from cancer and liver failure.

 Kombucha has Antibacterial Properties.

Kombucha has many acidic compounds that form within. One such acid is acetic acid which is also found abundantly in vinegar. Acetic acid works excellent at killing off most bacteria and microbes. The Kombucha made from green or black tea are antibacterial and are great for fighting bacterial infections in one’s body.This acid and its antibacterial properties limit the growth of only bad bacteria. The probiotics stay unaffected! More research is needed in this regard to determine the antibacterial properties of Kombucha conclusively

Kombucha may Improve Heart Health.

Heart disease is prevalent in the world and is a leading cause of death. Kombucha has been shown to help improve heart conditions. It reduces the LDL cholesterol amount in the body and increases the HDL cholesterol amount. This naturally boosts health.Herbal teas, especially green teas, prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. This oxidation is directly linked with heart disease. Therefore, drinking Kombucha will also improve heart health.In short, green tea drinkers have a 31% less chance of having cardiovascular diseases. The same can therefore be assumed about Kombucha, especially the one made from green tea.

Kombucha can Help with Type 2 Diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is highly prevalent, with 300 million people affected worldwide. Symptoms include elevated blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. A study was carried out on rats with Kombucha. This study showed that Kombucha slowed down the digestion of carbohydrates; this prevented blood sugar from spiking up, helping those with diabetes to manage their condition better. This effect is only boosted with Kombucha made out of green tea because green tea reduces blood sugar levels. Those who consume green tea have an 18% lesser chance of becoming diabetic.

 Risks Associated with Kombucha:

Kombucha is not that hard to make. However, it does require to be made with a lot of care and precision. If you fear that your Kombucha is contaminated or over fermented, THROW IT AWAY! When not made properly, Kombucha can cause health problems and, in few cases, even death. Follow our recipe to learn how to brew kombucha, and you will find that Kombucha isn’t hard to get right. If you are still scared, just get a kombucha variety online. Avoid products that have too many added sugars or preservatives.kombucha probiotic drink

Homemade Kombucha FAQs

Is Kombucha good for you?

Absolutely! Kombucha is filled with probiotics and antioxidants that will keep your body at its optimum health.

Why is Kombucha good for you/why is Kombucha healthy?

Kombucha has bacteria and yeast, which create compounds that are good for your body. Moreover, some of these bacteria act as probiotics and replenish your gut flora.

Does Kombucha help with weight loss?

Kombucha can help weight loss because it is much less in caloric value than other drinks. Moreover, the green or black teas from which it is made are known to stimulate weight loss and faster metabolism.

What is Kombucha made of?

Kombucha mainly involves a culture of bacteria and yeast and either black or green tea.

Does Kombucha work?

Yes! It does. Kombucha has been used in ancient medicine for a long time due to its healing properties, which are now backed up by science.

How much alcohol is in Kombucha?

Homemade Kombucha can contain more alcohol, but the store-bought varieties have less than 0.5% ABV

Who invented Kombucha?

Kombucha was invented somewhere in China. Its name is derived from Dr. Kombu, who took the drink to Japan to treat an emperor.

Where to buy Kombucha?

You can buy many types of Kombucha both in-stores and on amazon.

How to flavor Kombucha?

You can add any fruit juice to Kombucha to flavor it during the second fermentation.

How much caffeine is in Kombucha?

Nearly all of the caffeine in Kombucha comes from the green or black tea you are using. SO it depends on your tea variety.

How long does Kombucha last?

Kombucha can be safely stored in the fridge for 6 to 8 months

How often should I drink Kombucha?

You can drink 4 ounces of Kombucha once to thrice a day

How to tell if Kombucha is bad?

Kombucha doesn’t go bad quickly. But if you see mold or Kombucha tastes like vinegar, it may be time to throw it away.

Can Kombucha make you drunk?

Well, Kombucha has less than 0.5% alcohol content, so it is improbable to make you drunk.

Are there any side effects of Kombucha?

Kombucha is thriving with probiotics. While these are great for your gut health, consuming too much Kombucha when your body isn’t used to it can lead to gas and bloating.

Can you put Kombucha in the refrigerator? 

Refrigerating Kombucha slows down the fermentation process. Therefore, it is recommended to store it in the fridge once you are done making it. You don’t want it to keep fermenting!

Can you use no-calorie sugar substitutes (like Stevia, Splenda, etc.)?

You may be sad to know that you cannot. The bacteria and yeast feed on the sugar to thrive and produce Kombucha’s signature taste and carbonation. You don’t have to worry about consuming all the sugar you added. Much of it is used by bacteria and yeast during fermentation. Kombucha will hence be much lower in sugar content.

What to do if my SCOBY sank to the bottom?

That is entirely okay! Your SCOBY may float or sink. Just let it be.

Conclusion:

So, what are you waiting for? Get started with your own at-home kombucha brewing today! We hope that our recipe and tips have been helpful. If you use this post as a starting point to make your own delicious batch of homemade kombucha, please let us know in the comments below. What’s the best thing about making it yourself? It’s cheaper than buying it from the store all year round (especially if we’re talking about those fancy organic brands). In addition to being tasty and refreshing, kombucha has many health benefits that are worth considering when deciding how often you want to make your own brews. So get up and start brewing!

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