The Life Kombucha Way
Basic Kombucha Recipe (outline)
1 gallon water
2 cups sugar
6 to 8 weeks
"Making Kombucha is a life style."
I spend about 2 hours a week making enough for me. It takes a small investment to start. The cost of making a gallon of Kombucha is less the the cost of purchasing one bottle at the store. As your Kombucha making progresses your can add more brewing jars one at a time until you have enough to fulfill your daily needs. It is an excellent source of probiotics.
Start up Equipment
7 empty Kombucha bottles with lids.
I use empty store bought Kombucha bottles.
(If you want the labels off warming them with a heat gun (approx $20.00).
With practice, and a single edge razor blade to start them,
you can peel them off and then remove any adhesive.
1 Funnel : stainless steel is best.
2 Gallon decorative Ball jar
WARNING (if you don't warm it up with hot tap water before your pour in boiling water it WILL CRACK.)
Note: these jars have lids that fit around a plastic neck ring that lets some air through, important.
These currently can be purchased at Target and Walmart for approx $16.00
1 "Large Mouth" Half Gallon Ball jar with lid.
Can currently be purchased, 1 jar, at Target for about $6.00.
Note: Icurrently use a plastic lid for its process Ball makes them by the box of 12
1 Tea pot Stainless 1100ml. (for tea strainer part and top)
it fits perfect into the top of the Ball gallon decorative jar.
Click on link below to see one on ebay, make sure to get 1100ml not smaller.
Stainless Steel Glass Teapot Tea pot with Strainer 1100ml/ 37 fl oz Capacity!
1 Scobie (sometimes called mushroom, mother or child)
If you don't have any way to get or purchase a scobie, you can make one with the mini recipe below:
How to make your own scobie:
purchase one bottle of unflavored Kombucha at the store.
In a clean, new, and flushed with boiling water 1/2 gallon jar, after it cools add:
2 cups of tea
1 cup sugar
when at room temperature add
1 bottle of unflavored Kombucha
put a coffee filter over the top secured around the neck with a rubber band for about 4 to 6 weeks until a mushroom grows approx 1/4 in thick.
Water one gallon boiled
2 cups sugar
(I now use only pure cane sugar organic it produces better scobies and less brewing failures.) Note: most conventional white sugar is processed with animal bone marrow.
Approx 2 Tbls. Tea: Pu Erh , raw (light) or ripe (dark)
There are many verities of Pu Erh Tea available on eBay 357g disk available on eBay for around $15.00 from China, two of my favorites pictured below
Left Ripe Pu Er tea, right (green) Raw Pu Er tea disk, each 375g
Making the tea:
If you want successful Kombucha use consistent cleaning habits.
A drop of oil can ruin your Kombucha.
Your jars, tea pot strainer and top should only be used for making Kombucha. Your measuring cup for sugar should be clean and dry, free of oil, and best if stainless steel.
Fill your jars with hot tap water, after a minute dump it out and fill them again with boiling water to sterilize the jar. It is best to put the empty tea strainer into the top of the gallon decorative jar to help conduct the heat before pouring boiling water into it. It may take 2 pots of water if you get an electric tea pot like ours, it boils fast and I only boil water in it. Photo below, available at Target.
If you feel comfortable handling the hot gallon jar you can pour it into the half gallon jar when you are ready to fill the gallon jar with boiling water the second time for making the tea. If not fill them both with boiling water and wait until they cool enough to pour it out before adding second boiling water to the gallon jar for the tea.
Break off about 2 Tbs of tea put it in the tea strainer hold the edge and CAREFULLY pour some hot water through it to wash the tea.
(It is a custom in China to throw out the first cup to clean the tea, a small rinse will work.)
Put the strainer in opening of the gallon jar and fill to the top, or the rest of the way to the top, 2 electric pots, if using same electric tea pot I do,
Hold the edge of the tea strainer lift it up and spin it around about 8 times to stir the tea water. Cover it and let the tea sit until the next day (room temperature).
Starting the Kombucha:
To start your Kombucha you will get your scobie from:
The scobie you grew from the mini recipe above (unless you have a friend who gives you one or you can purchase one) or,
The scobie (mother or child) from a pour down to bottles, this is the reason for the second gallon jar,
(this is most often the case) or,
2 scoble's (mother and child) from a pour down to bottles into 2 gallon jars of tea, (twins) or,
A scobie from a "scobie hotel mother or child with its liquid. More on scobie hotels later.
Photo above; cane sugar, gallon jar with tea, strainer and lid, half gallon jar with 2 cups sugar, gallon jar with finished Kombucha containing mother and child scobies, jar with red top is a future scobie hotel.
When tea is at room temperature, 12 to 48 hours, remove tea strainer with tea, discard tea (throw it into garden)
Pour out a little tea from jar to make room for sugar.
Pour some tea into the jar with sugar, shake the jar with lid on to mix it with the water then pour it into the gallon jar with tea. (this step helps to keep from using something to stir the mixture, like a spoon, that might contaminate it.)
After washing your hands try to pick a scobie out of the finished Kombucha jar, (this is most often the case) If you can not grab it, you will have to pour down several bottles of Kombucha until you can get it out and put it into the gallon of tea with sugar add a small amount of Kombucha, approx 1/4 to 1/2 cup, into the jar, you may have to pour out a little of the mixture until the full line is about the bottom of the straight section the neck of the jar.
There should be a second scobie in your Kombucha (mother or child) that can go into a scobie hotel or your garden or another Kombucha if you are making twins.
Photo above: #450 front scobie (mother) in scobie hotel jar with red lid. next row 7 bottles of Kombucha from pour down, #465 New gallon of tea with scobie (#450 child) this jar the lid was loose so it has a coffee filter to prevent gnats from getting in.
It is a good idea to keep notes on your Kombucha, this will help you to manage the brewing time of your Kombuchas and help you to understand how it is effected during process.
I keep a notebook with:
Kind of tea
Total number of days
On the facing page I keep notes of interest, examples, number days of tea brewing, scobie condition, failures, scobie exchange, and for fun Moon illumination, days and hours,
I tag every gallon with a small piece of label, on lid, with its number, my current batch is #465.
I also make a post it note with the batch number, date, and kind of tea,
While the jar above is full of healthy scobies there is not much room left for Kombucha.
This is a good example of the need for scobie management and the reason I do not make
"Constant Kombucha " the kind with a jar tap at the bottom where you keep adding tea to the top.
It will be full of scobies and possible trouble in time. When a scobie gets too thick, ex over 2 inches, if you have a thinner child or scoble in a hotel, the thick scobie should go to the garden. (I bury mine) if you don't they become fly food.
The scobies in the above pic are a good color, sometimes they are whiter, especially if they are on top, Sometimes they get covered with a darker fluffy brown yeast covering as they age, if they get dark they eventually go to the garden or scobie hotel.
Note: brown yeast will sometimes be in your Kombucha this is ok.
Sometimes little dark brown flakes of tea are at the bottom of the jar, if you pour slow they will be in the last spoon full and can be poured out.
If there are black things floating in your Kombucha (Many) it is bad.
If your Kombucha taste like sweetened tea with no sower vinegar tint the brewing failed.
I have made Kombucha with many diffierent teas, black, white, yellow, green, oolong, Jasmine (flowered) Pu Er raw and ripe (fermented)
Pu Er Ripe tea, which is a fermented tea grew the best scobies an robust Kombucha, my current brewing time 45 to 60 days
Pu Er Raw tea the scobies did not do as well a larger percentage of them I retired after brewing, my current brewing time 50 to 70 days
Flowered teas, Ex. Jasmine had high rates of scobie retirement, usually requiring replacement and retirement of scobies. I call these one time scobie teas before the garden.
Teas like Earl Gray are not sutible for Kombucha because they contain oils, Bergamot oil in Earl Grays case. The oil will cause Kombucha failure.
Things to consider:
Home brewed Kombucha like mine can contain up to 1.5 % alcohol. This is unsuitable for children, Store purchased Kombucha is much lower, like .5% this is due to shorter brewing time less sugar and the legal law for sales to the general public,
In the summer gnats can be a problem if you are not fast and meticulous with your bottling and walk away during bottling leaving tops open gnats if in the area will go in and lay eggs. This is why I put coffee filters between the lid and plastic rim in the summer if there is too play between the ring and the lid. Gnats are also the reason I recommend making sure there is no water or fluid around the plastic rim, glass, or lid. If you had gnats in your Kombucha you will see them dead in the lid or on the rim or on the scobie, sometimes floating. Get out a magnifying glass. Gnats are a rare occurrence in my brewing because of good habits.
Add your favorite juice or fruit for flavor before drinking.
Try my favorite flavoring recipe:
Life Double Dragon Wizards Brew Kombucha
I currently run about 6 scobie hotels:
They can keep a refrigerated scobie for several months,
These are back ups in case of gnat infestation or failed scobies.
How to make a scobie hotel:
Jar with lid (no rust) clean and previously sterilized with boiling water before first use.
Some tea with sugar enough to cover the scobie, (top can stick out).
Add a very small amount of Kombucha after scobie is in.
I do not recommend scobie hotels containing more then one scobie.
Note: rotate out scobie from hotel with better looking or fresh scobie when available.
Hint: we pull the number off the lid of the Kombucha and put it on the scoble hotel to keep track of it.
" A Window Into The Temple
If it's not " LIFE " it's not Kombucha"
Life Kombucha Brewing Co.
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