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Every Man’s Guide to Brewing Kombucha at Home
Welcome to the Bucha Brewhouse & Bistro Blog. Bucha is a kombucha brewery and bistro specializing in hand crafted kombucha and healthy recipes owned and operated by my sister, Kayla Alred, the brains behind the operation. Then there is the other sister, Kendra, that’s me, putting a pen to paper and spilling all the tea…pun intended.
On Your Mark…
All aboard for the kombucha tour? My name is Kendra, and I’ll be your guide. I’m going to walk you through the brewing process step by step. Make sure to save this page so that you can refer back to these instructions whenever you need. With a little practice, brewing your own kombucha will be easy, fun, and exciting.
Fresh is Best
Everything is better when it’s fresh and homemade. Kombucha is no exception to that rule. If you enjoy kombucha that’s pre bottled and sold in stores, then you are going to LOVE it brewed fresh right in your own home. Get ready to impress all your friends when you tell them you made that yummy beverage that’s good for the belly all by yourself. Don’t worry, this is the every man’s guide to brewing at home so no experience is necessary.
First things first, there are a few things you will need to get started. You can purchase a kombucha starter kit that includes everything you’ll need for one brew, but if you intend to brew more than once then it’s probably best to pick up these items individually. We like to use loose leaf Yerba mate tea for the added health benefits and complex flavor profile, but your favorite green or black unflavored tea will work here. These disposable tea bags are perfect for brewing your tea and as a strainer to filter out the yeast strands. We use Zulka pure cane sugar, but it’s up to you; however, sweeteners or sugar substitutes will not work. You’ll need filtered water, and you can either buy a gallon or run it through a filter yourself. You’re also going to need a SCOBY and starter liquid.
We recommend a gallon size glass jar for brewing. You’ll need some tightly woven cloths to cover, and it’s important that they’re tightly woven. You need a kitchen thermometer, we really recommend a contactless thermometer if possible. You’re going to have to have a new, never used spray bottle filled with white vinegar for sanitizing. Finally, you’re going to need pH test strips to ensure the acidity is correct before you allow your kombucha to begin to ferment, and you’ll need a pipette to remove a small sample for tasting post fermentation. Once you have all of these items prepared, you’re ready to start brewing!
Let’s Get Brewing!
We are going to break these instructions down into smaller categories because our main goal is making this process easy for you.
The first thing you need to do is get everything sanitized with your vinegar (it’s important not to use soap, sanitizer, or bleach because it will kill the good bacteria in your kombucha). Wash out your glass jar with hot water and vinegar (3/4 water & 1/4 vinegar). Once you are done washing it, spray it with straight vinegar and make sure to thoroughly coat the inside and the outside around the opening. Take your cloth covering and boil it in water and vinegar (3/4 water & 1/4 vinegar) for 10 minutes. Allow it to cool in the pot while you make the kombucha (see below). When your kombucha is done and ready to be covered, sanitize your hands with vinegar and remove the cloth from the pot. Ring it out really well, and then spray both sides of it with straight vinegar. *Important note* It is very important that you keep your hands and your utensils super clean and thoroughly sanitized with vinegar.
Brewing the Tea:
-In a large pot bring 4 cups of filtered water to a boil
-Add 3 tablespoons of loose leaf tea to your tea bag
-Remove water from heat and add tea bag
-Let steep for 10 minutes
-Carefully remove tea bag
-Stir in 1 cup of sugar
-Once sugar has completely dissolved, stir in 8 cups of cold filtered water
-Check temperature to make sure it is between 68-86 degrees Fahrenheit
-Once sweetened tea is at the appropriate temperature, add to 1 cup of starter liquid and SCOBY
-Use your pH strips to test the kombucha and make sure it is under 4.5 *if it’s not you can add a little vinegar to help it along*
-Once you are at the proper pH, cover with sanitized cloth and secure with a rubber band *try to eliminate any creasing where the cloth and rubber band meet in order to decrease the risk of bugs getting in and ruining your batch*
-Place kombucha in a warm room out of direct sunlight for 7-10 days
Checking your Kombucha:
The warmer the room, the faster it will ferment. So, if you have a really warm room or if you want less vinegar tasting kombucha, you can check it at the 7 day mark; however, I recommend waiting until day 9. (The more you open the top and check it, the more likely you are to contaminate your brew.) Spray your hands and the pipette with vinegar. Then, suck a little vinegar into the pipette, shake it around, and then squeeze it out. Carefully remove your cover using one hand, making sure to pull it backwards off the jar in order to minimize the risk of dust collected on top of the jar from falling in. With your other still sanitized hand, dip the pipette into the kombucha by sliding down beside of the SCOBY and collect a sample. Once you have tasted the kombucha spray the cover with vinegar and return it to the jar. Your kombucha should have a sour taste and no sweetness at all. If it still tastes kind of sweet, it isn’t ready. If it tastes a little too vinegary, then we recommend not brewing your next batch as long. Once you are satisfied your kombucha is ready, head on over to our How to flavor kombucha blog. If your kombucha wasn’t ready, just check it daily making sure to thoroughly sanitize each time. It could take up to 14 days to ferment if the room just isn’t warm enough. We definitely recommend trying to get the batch done in under 14 days because this lessens the chance of it molding. If you want to know more about mold on scoby, look over our Is it Mold blog. *spoiler alert* It probably is not, but we will talk you through it.
“Let all that you do be done in love.” -1 Corinthians 16:14
Owner Bucha Brewhouse & Bistro