Home-Brewed Kombucha Tea Recipe

In case you haven't heard, kombucha is all the rage. According to Web MD, kombucha is a delicious, fermented drink made with tea. The end result yields a slightly sour and fizzy drink with some potential health benefits. According to the outlet, the fermenting process is believed to help the digestive system due to the drink's probiotics, while the inclusion of green tea in the recipe provides the benefits of tea, as well. 

Recipe developer Miriam Hahn of YouCare-SelfCare is the brains behind this tasty and fun recipe. "In my wellness classes, I focus quite a bit on gut health and show my clients the benefits of all fermented foods, whether it is sauerkraut, kefir water, sourdough, or kombucha," she explains. "About 6 years ago I thought it would be fun to offer a class to teach people how to make it themselves, and I have literally taught hundreds of people how to make their own!" Plain and simple: Hahn is a kombucha pro, so you know you're in good hands if you follow her recipe.

Just be aware, while the hands-on prep and cook time for making kombucha is minimal, kombucha needs time to ferment — and to get the flavored, fizzy kind, it needs two separate fermentations. The entire process takes about 12 days before you have your first batch on hand, so hold off on prepping your fruit until the first fermentation has been completed. 

Gather the ingredients for home-brewed kombucha tea

Start by making a list of ingredients and heading to the grocery store. You'll need water, white sugar to make the bacteria grow, green tea bags (you can sub black tea, if you prefer), and a SCOBY and corresponding 12-ounce starter tea. 

According to Hahn, the SCOBY and starter tea come together if you buy a SCOBY on Amazon, but if you get your SCOBY from a friend who makes kombucha, you'll need them to provide the 12-ounces of tea with the SCOBY. 

You'll also want strawberries, or any other type of fruit to add flavor to the kombucha. 

Why is homemade better? "I like making my own because I love always having it on hand, and it is so much cheaper to make," Hahn shares. "Plus, I use reusable bottles, so it saves on waste. I have gotten so many people off the weeknight wine habit by switching them over to kombucha in a wine glass. It is delicious and makes a great substitute."

Prepare hot tea and cold water

Measure 8 cups of filtered water into a glass pitcher and pop it in the fridge. Then, pour the other 6 cups water into a saucepan. Place the saucepan on your burner and turn the heat to high, waiting for it to boil. 

Add the sugar to the hot water and stir it with a wooden spoon until it dissolves. "There is always going to be sugar in kombucha because that is what feeds the good bacteria. Some brands are very commercialized and have up to 22 grams [of sugar]. Most have 10-16 grams, and that is in the normal range," Hahn notes.

Then, add 8 tea bags to the saucepan and remove it from the heat. Let the mixture steep for 20 minutes before removing the tea bags. 

Add the cool water, SCOBY, and the starter tea

Once the tea has steeped and you've removed the tea bags from the saucepan, add the 8 cups cool water to the pot. This will help cool down the tea so it doesn't kill the live bacteria in the SCOBY. 

You can now add the SCOBY and the starter tea that comes with it to a large glass jar, similar to one that you would make sun tea in. "The SCOBY looks weird, and when people see it for the first time, it can be off-putting," Hahn says. "But I usually compare it to a sourdough starter ... it just contains the good bacteria that our gut thrives on, and you just need to get past what it looks like."

Then, pour the cooled tea from the pot into the large jar.

Cover the jar

Use a cheesecloth or a coffee filter to cover the jar and secure it with a rubber band. Stick the jar in a dark place for about 7 days. Hahn says she simply stuck hers in a dark cabinet. Please note that the temperature should be around 70-75 degrees. If you start to see mold grow, discard the entire batch, including the SCOBY.

Remove the SCOBY and some tea

Once the seven days are up, remove the SCOBY and 2 cups of the tea and add them to another jar. Be sure to cover this new jar with a cheesecloth or coffee filter. You will have an additional SCOBY created from the original one. You can give it to a friend who wants to make kombucha, or just toss it out.

Drink the kombucha as-is, or infuse it with fruit

Now that the first fermentation is out of the way, you have two options. You can drink the kombucha as-is, or if you'd prefer a flavored and fizzy kombucha (more like the types you buy at the store), you need to proceed with the second fermentation. 

Grab your strawberries and remove the stems. Place them in a blender and blend to make a puree. Add the fruit puree into the original jar that doesn't contain the SCOBY and give the mixture a good stir. Cover the jar with a cheesecloth or coffee filter and secure it with a rubber band. Place the jar in the same dark spot for an additional two days. This allows the fruit flavor to infuse into the tea. "There isn't a special ingredient in this [recipe] because other than the fruit, you kinda can't mess with the formula," Hahn shares. "You can, however, add any kind of fruit and experiment with different teas."

Strain the tea and seal

Once the two days are up, strain the tea to remove and discard any fruit pulp. Use a funnel to distribute the mix into 6, 16-ounce glasses. Be sure to use ones with a flip top that are brewing bottles (Hahn notes that you can get them on Amazon). Leave 3 inches at the top of each bottle before sealing tightly. Store in the dark spot for another 3-4 days for the second fermentation.

Serve and enjoy

Once the 3-4 days are up, you can finally enjoy the kombucha. Place the bottles in the fridge for at least 4 hours before opening them and serving. This will prevent them from exploding. Then, you can serve the kombucha. The great part is, the drink will last up to 6 months in the fridge as long as you keep it in a sealed bottle.

"You can serve kombucha straight from the fridge on its own, or you can add ice, a fresh strawberry, or a slice of lemon or lime," Hahn shares. "I also love to put a splash in my smoothie to spice it up with a little fizz. You only need about 4-ounces a day, but many days I get more. One thing to note, because this recipe calls for green tea, there is caffeine in it, so if you are sensitive to [caffeine], you need to go easy on [the kombucha] at night."

Home-Brewed Kombucha Tea Recipe
5 from 19 ratings
If you're tired of spending a lot of money on store-bought kombucha, it's actually easy to make home-brewed kombucha for less. Here's how to get started.
Prep Time
30
minutes
Cook Time
15
minutes
Servings
12
servings
kombucha in glass
Total time: 45 minutes
Ingredients
  • 14 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 8 green tea bags
  • 1 kombucha SCOBY
  • 12-ounce starter tea
  • 1 cup strawberries
Directions
  1. Put 8 cups of filtered water in a glass pitcher in the fridge to cool.
  2. Bring the other 6 cups of water to a boil and add the sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon to dissolve.
  3. Add 8 tea bags to the hot water and remove the pot from the heat. Let sit for 20 minutes to steep before removing the tea bags.
  4. Add the 8 cups of cool water to the pot. This will cool down the tea so it doesn't kill the live bacteria in the SCOBY.
  5. Add the SCOBY and the starter tea that comes with the SCOBY to a large glass jar, like an iced tea pitcher.
  6. Add the cooled tea from the pot to the jar.
  7. Cover the jar with a coffee filter or cheese cloth. Secure it with a rubber band and place the jar in a dark place for 7 days.
  8. After the 7 days, remove the SCOBY and 2 cups of the tea and put it in another jar with a coffee filter or cheese cloth covering. Store it in a dark place. This will be used for your next batch of kombucha.
  9. Your kombucha is ready to drink, or you can proceed with a second fermentation to create fizz.
  10. Trim the stems from the strawberries and put the berries into a blender and blend until pureed. Add the puree to the original jar that doesn't have the SCOBY. Stir well, and cover with cheese cloth or a coffee filter and put it in a dark place for 2 days. You are doing this to infuse the fruit flavor into the tea.
  11. Strain the tea to remove any of the fruit pulp and discard. Using a funnel, distribute the mixture into 6, 16-ounce glass, flip-top brewing bottles, leaving 3 inches empty at the top. Seal tightly and store somewhere dark for 3-4 days. This is the second fermentation.
  12. After the 3-4 days have passed, the kombucha is ready.
  13. Put these bottles in the fridge for at least 4 hours before opening.
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