WHAT DO I NEED TO MAKE KOMBUCHA?With our advice you will be a pro Kombucha brewer in no time and at the very least you will have the knowledge on how to make great tasting Kombucha.
Ok you probably know already that you need a SCOBY to brew Kombucha, right? Let me share with you some super important facts to kick start your kombucha journey.
When it comes to SCOBYs, Not all SCOBYs are the same!
What?? Yep read on! You may hear that you could make your own SCOBY from scratch by using a bottle of Kombucha and you indeed could. However, that would extend your time until you have drinkable kombucha, by about 2 weeks 😱, which would be 3-4 Weeks in total! You may not want to wait that long and financially that does not make sense if you already drinking kombucha on a regular basis.
On top of that you should also know that most Commercial Kombucha brewers do not use the natural formula but a modified one that ensures their kombucha never goes above 0.5% of alcohol. These modifications also ensure an extended shelf life however this compromises the taste of your kombucha and the natural bacteria balance. I have tried all that and only a small number of Kombucha brands have produced some type of SCOBY, the rest did not even produce any SCOBY. For the above reasons I would play it safe and buy a SCOBY from a reputable source.Sweet, now we know we need a good SCOBY and we can start brewing Kombucha right? Nearly! What nobody tells you, is that you need enough starter liquid to start brewing your kombucha and it is as equally important as your SCOBY.
Kombucha Starter Liquid, what’s that? That is the liquid that comes with your SCOBY. For a successful kombucha brew you will need strong fermented kombucha as your Kombucha Starter liquid. Important that you get your SCOBY and Kombucha Starter Liquid from a reputable source because if your Kombucha starter liquid is weak then it can result in your kombucha brew becoming susceptible to mould.
So In order to brew more kombucha you need strong fermented Kombucha and a SCOBY? That’s right! If you plan to brew 4L of Kombucha, which is not much once you start brewing, just wait and see how quickly it disappears 😋🤤 you will need about 400ml of strong fermented Kombucha and a SCOBY. The kombucha starter liquid already has all the yeast and bacteria that is needed to make delicious Kombucha, and the SCOBY acts like a reinforcement base. The basic formula is that you need about 100ml of strong fermented Kombucha for every Litre you want to make. So if you want to make 8L of Kombucha, simply use 800ml of starter liquid (strong fermented Kombucha).
What else would I need to get started? Besides the SCOBY and Starter Liquid you would need a jar, a cloth with rubber band and the ingredients Sugar and Tea.
Ok let’s break it down. In regard to the Jar we highly recommend using one with a tap, it will make things faster, cleaner and easier when bottling your Kombucha. Additionally, you won’t need to disturb your new grown baby SCOBY that would grow on top of your brew in order to taste your kombucha. When it comes to the size of your brewing vessel, its best to choose a large one, at least 4L preferably 8L. You don’t want to put in all the effort of making your kombucha and then have it gone before your next brew is even finished. That’s why the 4L size is the absolute minimum in my opinion.
Can you not brew kombucha in a 2L Jar or smaller? Yes you can BUT that would harvest you only about 3-5 bottles of Kombucha and they would be gone in no time. In my opinion anything smaller then 4L is not worth the hassle. I want to emphasize to you that you can always make less kombucha in a bigger jar but never more in a smaller jar.
For the cloth, we recommend using one that is tightly woven, NOT a muslin or cheese cloth unless you want maggots in your Kombucha. I know it would be some extra protein, but I like my kombucha without it. That is why you should have a good tightly woven cloth covering your Jar and securing it with a simple rubber band. By the way all our cloths come with a rubber band 😊
Ok now to the ingredients! So, can I just use any tea? Nope, the tea must come from the Camellia sinensis plant and be preferably free of any extra flavour. What does that mean? The four main types of tea from the plant Camellia sinensis are Green tea, Black tea, White tea and Oolong tea. Try to use organic tea as it is free of pesticide residue which otherwise could interfere with your SCOBY. Want to know the best teas for kombucha brewing simply check out our Kombucha Booklet.
What about sugar? You can use any plain white sugar. I prefer to use organic sugar. It is important to use real sugar and not a substitute like Stevia or Erythritol.
What about the amounts that are required to brew kombucha? No problem, it’s a simple formula, use about 50g of sugar for one litre of Kombucha and 4-6g of tea per 1 Litre of Kombucha. We have detailed recipe instruction on how to make your kombucha in our free Kombucha booklet. It also includes lots of great tips, recipes and troubleshooting advice. Simply provide us with your email and we will send you the downloadable link for the Kombucha booklet. You will also automatically receive access to the kombucha booklet if you purchase any of our Kombucha Kits.
Once you have organised the SCOBY (with enough starter Kombucha), the Jar, cloth with a rubber band und the ingredients you can make your own kombucha 😊
Is that ALL?? Not quite! Here are some things that will help you greatly, making and bottling your delicious Kombucha.
Once your brew is mixed up and fermenting you need to ensure that it stays above 22°C, it is very handy to have a thermometer strip glued to your jar in order to check on your brew ensuring it is in the fermenting range of 22-27°C. If you don’t live in Cairns or Darwin I would also highly recommend to have a heat mat in order to keep your brew warm at night or also during the day if you live further down south.What happens if I don’t use a heat mat and my kombucha is below 22°C?? As soon as your Kombucha brew becomes colder it will slow down the fermentation process and the usual fermentation time of 1-2 weeks will become 3-4 weeks or longer. Plus, your brew would be more susceptible to mould. Once you try using a heat mat you would definitely not want to go back. It also helps you with the second fermentation where you make your kombucha fizzy. More about that in the Kombucha Booklet.
I thought the Kombucha would be already fizzy after the first fermentation! Not quite. Here is a quick explanation on how you can make your Kombucha fizzy. Once your kombucha is to your liking you should bottle it. During this process you have the possibility to add some flavours if you like. Then you have two choices. One is to put your bottled Kombucha into the fridge to stop the fermentation process. However, it won't be fizzy at that time and will stay flat. Lots of people like it that way. The second option is to bottle your kombucha and leave it at room temperature (about 22-24°) for about 4-15 days. The symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast will keep consuming the rest of the sugars or newly added flavours and produce additional CO2 which creates the beautiful fizz, if the bottle is properly closed/airtight! Just be aware to use good quality bottles that can handle the pressure as some brews can develop a lot of fizz/pressure and can make your bottles explode. I have shared with you everything you need to know to become a pro Kombucha brewer.
Let me sum it up for you, I will highlight the things you need to have a great Kombucha setup/experience. By having everything ready to go you will be able to bring some delicious self-made kombucha to a BBQ and be the star of the show 😉
I wish someone would have told me about all these things before I started my Kombucha journey. So therefore here it is a quick summary of the things you need to Produce great tasting Kombucha:
- SCOBY with kombucha starter liquid -I highly recommend to get a SCOBY with enough starter liquid to do a Kombucha brew of at least 4, better 8 litre.
- Easy to follow instructions -you can receive a link to our amazing Kombucha Booklet by sending us your email address below.
- Jar with tap- get a kombucha jar with a tap, it’s much easier and quicker to fill up your bottles from the tap than using a funnel which can be quite messy. We also have easy to follow instructions on how to maintain and clean your tap.
- Thermometer/Temperature strip on the side of your Jar- In my opinion its an absolute must have. You must be able to check the temperature of your brew otherwise you are left in the dark. You can do it without but considering how much a Temp strip cost (less than a coffee) its really a must have for me.
- Cloth and rubber band- you must cover your brew with a breathable cloth that does not let any insects through.
- Sugar and tea- Its best to use Organic. Ensure the tea you use is from the Camellia sinensis plant and be preferably free of any extra flavour. The main types of tea from the plant Camellia sinensis are Green tea, Black tea, White tea and Oolong tea.
- Heat mat- if your house temperature goes down to ~ 18-20°C at night, then I would highly recommend getting a heat mat especially during the colder months of the year. It will make your life much easier and your fermentation process quicker and safer. Its best to get two heat mats as you would need the second one for your bottles while you have already your second ferment going.
- Bottles- usually you need some bottles to store your finished Kombucha. You could put your Kombucha in jugs cover them and put them in the fridge, but its best to use bottles or growlers/squealers and if you want to do the second fermentation in order to create some flavours and fizz you will need good quality bottles or growlers/squealers. If you like to create different flavours with fresh fruit or herbs, I recommend to use growlers/squealers as they have a much wider mouth opening. That makes it extremely easy to put in the fruits or herbs. And they can handle high pressure.
That is it 😊, there are some fancy tools like Refractometer or pH strips that you could use for your Kombucha brewing. However, with everything I have listed above you should be well prepared. If you like to know more about the Refractometer and pH strips, check out our Kombucha booklet.
I have written this guide because I spend hours organising all these items! I started with a 2L jar with no tap🤦and no Heat mat, what a pain it was waiting 3 weeks for only 3-4 bottles of Kombucha and then having the mess of trying to bottle it without a tap.
As mentioned, I wish I would have read a guide like that before I started my Kombucha journey 5 Years ago.
Now you already know more than some people that started brewing kombucha way before you and If you like to give it a go. I would recommend starting with one of our Kombucha kits that include everything you need to get started. Simply add a few more things to it like the bottles and the heat mats. And you will be on your way to making delicious and healthy Kombucha.
If you are still not quite sure what exactly you need for your Kombucha needs. You are more than welcome to give me a call 0411248629 and I will try my best to help you out!
Hope you have enjoyed this guide.