Simply Homemade Series: Home-Brewed Kombucha!

Last week I took my two older daughters to see “The Sound of Music” at the Kennedy Center in downtown D.C. It was a beautifully done show and the girls came home singing all the songs, including “A Few of My Favorite Things.” Last week I announced that I am beginning a “mini-blog series” on my favorite homemade kitchen staples. If you missed my blog last week, you can still check it out to learn how to make homemade yogurt. I have saved $300 per year by making it regularly for our family and avoided all the extra ingredients!

This week I am excited to share with you another family favorite: Home-brewed Kombucha! Kombucha has become a popular drink in recent years in the U.S., but for those who have never heard of it, let me ‘splain a little bit about this delicious fizzy drink.

What is Kombucha? Kombucha is a fermented probiotic drink that has been around for centuries that originated in China. It can be flavored with a variety of juices or spices, but in its plain form it tastes (in my opinion) like a cold, fizzy, and tart cider/tea.

What are its potential health benefits? There is a lot of debate on what the health benefits of kombucha are, so I’m just going to share another site that has already done the work of listing all the potential benefits from this drink. I will share that personally I have found kombucha to aid my digestion and increase my energy. I found that when coffee was unappealing during my last pregnancy, I would drink a glass of kombucha in the afternoons and it really seemed to help my energy levels. The probiotics in this drink alone made me desire to give it a try. Also, all my kids (including my almost-two year old) love it!

If you have ever purchased store-bought kombucha, you know how expensive it can be, especially if you drink it regularly. This is why I started making it myself. I would recommend trying out a few bottles from the store to see if you like it before making the effort to brew it at home.

Kombucha is very simple to make. Here’s what you need:

  1. A one-gallon (or larger) glass jar
  2. black tea bags (I am told you can also use green tea, but I have always used black)
  3. sugar
  4. 1 Kombucha SCOBY with one-two cups of strong starter liquid (already brewed kombucha) – you can either get your scoby from a friend who has an extra or you can buy one online.

 

Here’s how you brew it:┬áIn a large saucepan, bring 3 quarts (12 cups) of water to a boil. Stir in one cup of sugar until dissolved. Add 4-5 tea bags and allow the tea to brew. Then allow the tea to cool to room temperature. After it has cooled, pour the sweetened tea into your large glass jar and add the SCOBY and starter liquid. Do not seal the top but cover it with a white cotton towel or a brown coffee filter with a rubber band to hold it tight. Store it in a warm, dry place (I keep mine on my kitchen counter) and allow the tea to ferment for 7-10 days. I am told you can do even longer, but for our family we prefer the taste after exactly a week. You can taste-test it after a week and see if you would prefer it to be a stronger flavor; If so, just let it brew another few days.

Once the kombucha is ready, pour it into glass jars (do not use plastic) using a plastic funnel and store in your refrigerator. I use these great bottles from Amazon. You can then either brew another batch which will be ready within 7-10 days or you can store the scoby with some starter liquid in a glass jar in your refrigerator (it will stop fermenting while it is refrigerated).

Let me know if you try making your own kombucha and how it turns out!

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