How to Make Kombucha
Please note that it is always best to start the fermentation process as soon as you receive your order but if you’re not planning to start your kombucha right away, go ahead and store the scoby in the refrigerator until you’re ready. It can be stored in the original packaging for a few days. Alternatively, remove it from the packaging and place it in a glass jar along with the starter tea and it can then be stored for a few weeks. Our kombucha scoby starter cultures are remarkably resilient and will live forever if taken care of properly.
Brewing the tea
For 1 litre kombucha scoby:
Heat 900ml of water (Filtered, free of chlorine) to almost boiling then add 60g sugar and stir the mixture until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add 3 tea bags and allow to steep for approx 15 mins then remove the tea bags.
For 2 litre kombucha scoby:
Heat 1800ml of water (Filtered, free of chlorine) to almost boiling then add 120g sugar and stir the mixture until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add 6 tea bags and allow to steep for approx 15 mins then remove the tea bags.
For 3 litre kombucha scoby:
Heat 2700ml of water (Filtered, free of chlorine) to almost boiling then add 180g sugar and stir the mixture until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add 9 tea bags and allow to steep for approx 15 mins then remove the tea bags.
For 5 litre kombucha scoby:
Heat 4500ml of water (Filtered, free of chlorine) to almost boiling then add 300g sugar and stir the mixture until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add 15 tea bags and allow to steep for approx 15 mins then remove the tea bags.
Tip: Do not over steep your tea as this will lead to a bitter tasting kombucha.
The First Fermentation
- Pour your cooled mixture into your fermentation jar.
- Add the Kombucha SCOBY and Kombucha starter liquid (100ml-500ml depending on your purchase, 1-5l) to the now cooled mixture.
- Remember: Do not add the Kombucha Scoby to hot tea!
- Cover the jar with muslin cloth/coffee filter or similar. Avoid using an air tight lid as the Kombucha needs to breathe.
- Allow to culture at room temperature, 20 – 26°C is perfect for approx 7-14 days.
- As with all live cultures, store out of direct sunlight to avoid unwanted bacteria and pathogens forming.
- You will shortly see another Scoby beginning to form on the top of the jar. This can take approx 7 days.
- Feel free to taste the Kombucha at this point to see if it’s to your liking. The longer you allow it to ferment produces a more sour Kombucha and shorter brew times will produce a sweeter Kombucha so experiment until you are satisfied with the taste. We personally prefer ours at the 7 day mark when it’s still fairly sweet but others may like to wait an additional few days until the kombucha has become more sour tasting. It’s a matter of personal preference really. After a while you will find what works best for you which is the beauty (and fun!) of working with kombucha![/rt_bullet_list]
Bottling the Kombucha.
Bottling the fermented kombucha in airtight bottles will help to increase the carbonation.
Step 1: Remove the Scoby
You will notice that you now have two scobys! Your original scoby produced another scoby. This happens with every batch of kombucha you make.
Step 2: Add your Kombucha to Clean Bottles
We highly recommend simply pouring your komobucha straight into swing top bottles, as it’s super easy.
These are our favourite bottles! They’re readily available, strong, and can be reused for years. Plus, they are less likely to explode because excessive pressure can push the rubber gasket to the side to vent pressure safely.
Note: Your kombucha may have little floaties in it. These are harmless and are simply strands of brown yeast floating about as the kombucha is a living culture and continues to ferment even when bottled. If this bothers you, strain your kombucha through a non-metal sieve into a glass before drinking.
Leave 1/2″ – 1″ of headspace at the top of your bottle, then close your bottle.
After your kombucha is bottled, you can place it straight into the refrigerator for consumption later!
How long can I store the Kombucha in the refrigerator?
We recommend no longer than 7 days in the refrigerator as you will usually find the kombucha begins to turn into vinegar from there on out. Not really pleasant to drink but again, this can always be used as a starter tea if required!
How can I take a break from Kombucha?
If you need to take a break for a few weeks for an upcoming holiday etc.. and you’re worried about what to do with your kombucha scoby, then follow the steps below:
Simply go ahead and place the scoby in a fresh mixture of tea, sugar and water. Now cover the jar, just like you always do and place it in the refrigerator. Cold temperatures greatly slow the culturing process, so the refrigerator is a good place to store the scoby when a break is necessary.
The kombucha scoby will be absolutely fine for up to 5 weeks, although we don’t recommend drinking the kombucha when you return as the kombucha will be more like vinegar at this point. However, you can still use it as a starter tea if you like.
Troubleshooting & FAQs
If you experience any problems with your Kombucha please contact us immediately as refunds/replacements will only be issued if you have contacted us within the first three days of receiving your live cultures.
It’s been a few days now and my Kombucha Scoby has not arrived. Will it be ok?
We are the Ireland’s biggest supplier of live cultures and have spent years investing in and testing the safest and best delivery methods. Unfortunately delays within the postal service can and do happen from time to time BUT we absolutely guarantee our cultures will arrive safely and in top condition. In the rare event there is a problem, please be assured we will look after you fully with a replacement.
If I am making more than one cultured food types (kefir, kombucha, sourdough, etc.), how far apart should I keep the live cultures?
We recommend a minimum distance of 5 feet between the cultures. However when your cultures are being stored in the refrigerator and secured with tight-fitting lids, there is no requirement to keep distance between them.
Do your Kombucha cultures contain dairy, animal products or gluten?
No, our Kombucha cultures are grown with only organic black tea, organic sugar, and filtered water.
What tea can be used for Kombucha?
You can use just about any tea for making kombucha and the taste will vary depending on your choice. Regular black tea is the most common tea used for making kombucha.
What type of sugar is best for Kombucha?
We prefer organic cane sugar. It is completely fermentable and produces a drink with a better taste and higher content of healthy organic acids than other types of sugar. Brown sugar is less popular because it contains molasses and produces tea with stronger vinegary taste and darker cloudy color. Regular granulated sugar also works well.
What are the signs that indicate the kombucha is culturing properly?
We recommend you test the pH of your brew at day 1 and again at day 7 as this can help ensure your brew is in the proper pH range to keep mold and unwanted bacteria out. Also, some good signs to look out for are the development of strands of brown yeast floating about in the mixture and the development of a new kombucha scoby (baby scoby) close to the top of the jar.
How do I know when my tea is ready?
The tea is generally ready when it obtains a semi-sweet cider taste, a slight vinegar aroma and is fizzy. Usually it takes about 7 days depending on temperature. Finished kombucha can have a pH anywhere from 2.5-3.5 depending on the stage of the brew.
My Kombucha Scoby sank to the bottom of my jar, is in the middle, sideways, or has risen to the top of the jar. Is this normal?
Kombucha Scobys can either sink, be somewhere in the middle or rise to the top. It really doesn’t matter as long as it’s not moldy and otherwise looks healthy.
How can I get more fizz in my tea?
The temperature and the type of tea used for brewing all play a role in the carbonation of your brew. Green tea increases carbonation, but it tastes better when it mixed with black. To get more fizz, give your tea more time to ferment and increase the temperature, when you start noticing the bubbles, reduce the temperature to keep the fermentation in balance. Also, bottling the fermented kombucha in airtight bottles will help to increase the carbonation.
Will my Kombucha Scoby multiply?
Kombucha cultures do in fact multiply. Each time you brew a batch of Kombucha tea a new starter culture will form. The original starter culture (aka “the mother”) and the new starter culture (aka “the baby”) can each be used to brew a new batch of kombucha tea.
How can I reduce the amount of sugar in the finished Kombucha?
A longer fermentation process will reduce the amount of sugar in the kombucha tea.
What should I do if there is mold on my Scoby?
Do not drink the tea! Throw it out and start your next batch with a new culture and follow the directions carefully.
Are the Kombucha cultures reusable?
Yes, with proper care our kombucha cultures can be reused many times to create kombucha tea.
There you go!
Remember, like most live cultures, kombucha scobys can be temperamental and will take a while to master. These instructions should only serve as a guide and are a reflection of what works for us. After a while you are likely to find your own way and methods which is the beauty (and fun!) of working with kombucha.
Note: As with all cultures always start with a small amount each day (1-2 tablespoons max) and work your way up as your body adjusts to the beneficial bacteria.
When fermenting more than one live culture at home, we suggest a distance of at least 4 feet between the cultures at all times. This is to help stop cross contamination of the different cultures and is of particular importance when culturing dairy products. The only exception to this is when cultures are being stored in the refrigerator with tight-fitting lids.