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Anyone home brew Kombucha? — The Grow Network Community
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Anyone home brew Kombucha?

anita.toler73anita.toler73 Posts: 25 ✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Ferments

I have decided to homebrew my own Kombucha because I have found it very helpful for my digestive tract. I just can't afford to buy it every day. I started and am on my 4th brew and I love it! I have made Kiwi Ginger (my favorite) blueberry, strawberry kiwi, and a Power Greens with Kiwi (still trying to perfect that one). Anyone else brew their own? what are your favorite recipes?



  • bejer19bejer19 IllinoisPosts: 59 ✭✭✭

    I do my own and haven't experimented much. I just brew with a mix of green and black tea and add homemade apple concentrate when I bottle. I like it pretty well with just a touch of apple taste!

  • tammyrichardsmt9tammyrichardsmt9 Posts: 108 ✭✭✭

    We tried once with a packet from the natural grocers. It was a fail. Haven't tried again yet.

  • Jens the BeekeeperJens the Beekeeper Moderator EuropePosts: 583 admin

    Brew my own too. Love it straight from the vbrewing without much additions. currently experimenting with adding grape juice to get the kids to drink it ;-) not succesfull with carbonation in any way. DO you have any tips on this?

  • Marjory WildcraftMarjory Wildcraft ✭✭✭ Posts: 1,133 admin

    Hi Anita, used to brew a lot - almost had a small factory going there. It's such a great alternative to soda for my kids. But the "kids" are now 18 and 20 and we are all going off in different directions. The thing that makes me tha happiest is my kids still prefer kombucha to soda and they buy it on their own.

    BTW: we alomost always have "Kombucha Momma" featured in our Summits, and she has a ton of great recipes and brewing tips. The next Summit coming up Oct. 14th - 20th she will be presenting on how to create your own kombucha brewing business.

  • Obiora EObiora E Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    @anita.toler73 I brewed my own Kombucha for about a year or more but stopped last year. When I did my second ferment I never added any flavoring to it. I kept it as is. I used black tea and green tea, organic raw cane sugar, sometimes Blackstrap Molasses, and Spring water.

  • kbmbillups1kbmbillups1 Posts: 573 ✭✭✭✭

    This is my 2nd year of making Kombucha every week. We love it. I started out buying it but it was sooo expensive. It did help me to stop drinking sodas though. Then, I decided to give it a try and make my own. It is really a labor of love. I make 5 gallon jars of kombucha tea each week. Then I second ferment it in recycled Kombucha bottles. Sometimes I make it in large recycled apple juice jars. We have had a couple of those stopper cap bottles explode while 2nd fermenting before putting them in the fridge! My in laws (I make Kombucha for them too.) forgot to put the bottles I gave them which were stopper cap in the fridge and they exploded over night. Not only did it scare them but their house alarm went off!

    I've tried tons of flavors, but our favorites are lychee, pomegranate, raspberry, banana strawberry, and blackberry. I try to use only organic fruit but sometimes that's hard to find especially fruit like lychees. I've tried many different sugars but my scobys are partial to Aldi's organic sugar. My Kombuchas are very lightly sweet and I found they are an acquired taste for friends and family who drink a lot of soda. I taken it to several luncheons and dinners and found that about half love it and the other half hate it! There seems to be no in between! Funny how that is!

  • StacyLouStacyLou Southern WisconsinPosts: 89 ✭✭

    I haven’t made it on my own in the past few years, but I used to make a gallon or two each week. My favorites were blackberry, raspberry, and strawberry. I’d just add a small amount of berry to each bottle at the start of the second fermentation and it gave it a nice flavor. Plus it didn’t shoot all over when I popped the top open. The first few experiments with too much berry were a little explosive - no broken glass or anything like that. Think eruption of sticky goodness everywhere. I learned to always point the bottle away from me and carefully pop the top over the sink.

    I’ve only used the black tea, but I always wanted to try some variants. Any suggestions on what green tea works well? Did you use part black, part green? Any other types of tea that you had success with? Maybe this winter I will magically find some extra time to pick it up again. :)

  • Jens the BeekeeperJens the Beekeeper Moderator EuropePosts: 583 admin

    I have used both black and green tea. both on there own as well as half and half mixed. both work good for me. No special type of green tea used so far, just what I still had laying around.

  • ines871ines871 zn8APosts: 1,290 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Marjory Wildcraft - looking forward to learning about Kombucha. - Also the stuff at the store, how long will it last in the Fridge, unopened ? - Haven't been brave enough, to open it yet, lol

  • kbmbillups1kbmbillups1 Posts: 573 ✭✭✭✭

    @rainbow It depends on which brand you buy at the store as to how long it will last. GT's if my favorite store bought. If you have that brand the lids will swell when there is too much pressure in the bottle. If I buy them in the store I look for this b/c I know I'm going to get a bubbly one. No matter the brand I think they all last quite a while unopened. My homemade ones will start tasting a little tart after 2 1/2 to 3 weeks but they're still good to drink.

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Moderator Posts: 3,602 admin

    I've been making kombucha and water kefir for 3-4 years now. They have really helped my asthma (it was severe and chronic for 35 years or so before I fund kombucha and kefir). At first, I followed all the recipes and made flavored, bottled, carbonated kombucha. Now, I just make around 2 gallons at a time, using just black tea and sugar, in a bog old glass candy jar, and dip out a cup of plain kombucha each morning. If it starts to get too sour, I use it in pickles as a vinegar substitute. This works best for me and is a lot less work. I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but I also don't like super sour kombucha - nice, happy medium.

  • Karyn PenningtonKaryn Pennington Posts: 71 ✭✭✭

    Just this past weekend I was gifted with a bottle and promised a SCOBY next time she divides it. I can't wait! I'll probably only make a half-gallon at a time as I'll be the only one to drink it -- at least I think so, who knows?

    I'm looking forward to the Summit and "Kombucha Momma". I tend to over-research things before I try them, especially like with ferments and things that can explode! lol💣️

  • lmrebertlmrebert Posts: 363 ✭✭✭✭

    So funny I started my own brew for exactly the same reasons! First I did batch brew but read you get more probiotics if the brew is at least 3 weeks old, living in southern California we have warm Temps that made my brew ready at about 10 days so I figured continuous brew was the way to go.

    My favorite flavors are by adding a golden milk spice blend, fresh ginger and fresh fruit like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and I've also used pomegranate and cranberry juice! Everyone love my home brew and now I'm super spoiled because I'm always disappointed when I get store bought stuff. There is a great FB closed group called kombucha brewers and that was an invaluable resource when I began! Also the Big Book of Kombucha is fantastic! Lately we have been traveling a lot and the 4-2 gallon jars was becoming a large commitment. So I reduced to just 1-2 gallon jar that I can go old school and get a quick 8 Oz shot daily for health, then add more tea when it drops down 1/2-2/3. Then when I have time I fill a few bottles up, add spices and pureed fruits and do second ferment, then add more tea!

  • csinclair461csinclair461 Posts: 101 ✭✭✭

    I made it and loved it for several years. I had the most success with a continuous batch, which I made in a large ceramic crock with a spigot at the bottom. I had to stop because of a histimine responsE. It was likely caused by multiple things, but the kombucha was contributing at least. I’m not sure if I drank it too much or if it picked up a wild yeast strain of candida, I was itching all over with a rash that was hive-like except it never dissipated like hives do. I made it with Jasmine green tea, and loved to drink it straight. If I did it again, I would probably buy a new scoby every 6 mo or so. And not drink in excess, heh. I will try making it again when I can drink some from the store with no reaction.

  • bubknzkleebubknzklee Posts: 15 ✭✭✭

    I have had the same scoby going for almost 7 years. We keep it in a large 2 gallon jug, and I add green tea too it. We cheat and go the easy way though, I usually just mix it with cranberry or grape juice. My husband drinks it for the probiotics to help his Crohn's and my kids call it the "mommy juice" cuz I make them drink it whenever they aren't feeling good instead of their usual drinks.

  • pseaboltpseabolt North Carolina Posts: 48 ✭✭✭

    Ugh, I feel so late in coming to a more natural and alternative lifestyle, I have so much to learn about everything!!! I’ve heard of kombucha (who hasn’t, right?) but I know nothing about it. I’m not going to ask you guys to school me on it here, but I am going to ask what are your favorite resources for the why’s, the what’s and the how’s and pretty much in that order? Thanks! You guys are awesome!

  • Wayne JohnsonWayne Johnson Posts: 14

    Kombucha is easy— I brew in continuous style in 3 gallon pot . This works good if you are consistent and draw off regularly. I brew straight green and black tea and flavor it as I drink it. It seems to maintain its same consistency and flavor—- every once in a while I cut out half of the scoby..

  • blevinandwombablevinandwomba Central PaPosts: 769 ✭✭✭✭

    @pseabolt I have found Kombucha Kamp to be a wonderful resource. That's Hannah Krum's aka "Kombucha Mama" website. https://www.kombuchakamp.com/what-is-kombucha

    I bought my scoby from her, and have been very happy with it. There is a lot of info to take in to begin with, but kombucha is actually a very easy culture to maintain. As long as you start with a healthy scoby, feed it sugar and tea, don't put it in and extremely hot or cold place, and don't let it dry out, it is very unlikely to die on you. Scobys can live for months without being fed.

  • pseaboltpseabolt North Carolina Posts: 48 ✭✭✭

    ....and now I have another obsession to learn everything about! LOL I think I may buy my daughter in law and myself matching kits for Christmas!!!

  • I brew about 2 gallons at a time: 10 bags of organic green tea, 1 cup of pure cane sugar, 4 cups of filtered water. After this brews and cools, I add the mix to the glass container with the SCOBY and then add enough water to fill it within a few inches of the top. I stir in the jar with a silicon or wooden paddle (no metal). The SCOBY is a few inches thick and the brew gets a nice tang within a day or so.

  • HeideHeide Posts: 11 ✭✭✭

    I started brewing about 30 years ago and stopped because many of my friends were concerned about the safety. Then my son in college brings home a bottle for $4.25. I reminded him that he can't afford that habit and should start making it. I bought him the flip top bottles and we have both been making it for the last few years. I have even used the SCOBY to make a gummy probiotic candy. I love it. I am not very scientific about it so some batches turn out much better than others. I do a double ferment and add ginger, juices or berries.

  • KarynPenningtonKarynPennington Posts: 8 ✭✭✭

    So, I got my SCOBY from a friend (as mentioned above). She never flavors and I like mine, just fine unflavored, but I'd still like to experiment. My question is, when you do the second ferment and add fruit/juice/etc., do you leave that fruit (solid) in or do you strain that out after a day or so?

    Also, my husband is so paranoid . . . I assume I'll just "know" if my SCOBY has gone bad, is that right? I mean, I will of course be careful, but are there obvious signs that I shouldn't use the batch and get a new SCOBY? I'm thinking smell will be at the top.

    Thanks -- still a newbie, but loving it every morning.

  • Matthew NisticoMatthew Nistico Posts: 3 ✭✭✭

    I've been brewing for a couple of years now. I use 1 gallon filtered or spring water to 1 cup sugar and 2 tea balls of loose black tea flavored with cardamom. It's just what I happen to have. When I decant after primary ferment, I typically add some sliced fresh ginger root and some whole blackberries and then put the bottles straight into the fridge. Once there, they will last for several weeks. I find that I don't get much in the way of secondary ferment, even if I leave some at room temp; just not enough extra sugar in the berries. So, my kombucha will have a slight effervescence to it, but is basically uncarbonated, which is fine by me.

    The interesting thing about my culture is that I let mine sit in primary ferment for a LONG time, as in typically a month! I will mark 3 weeks on my calendar, but often don't decant for longer than that because 1) I'm lazy; and/or 2) I don't have room in my fridge yet for the new bottles. And it is still quite mild and drinkable, particularly after the flavorings are added. Most people would have pure vinegar at that point. I have no idea why this is, but it is. Perhaps I have a higher tolerance for acidic kombucha, but that can't explain all of the difference. If I decanted after a week, which I believe is more typical, it would still be way too much like sweet tea.

  • ele albertoele alberto Posts: 4 ✭✭✭

    Hello All, I recently visited Charleston SC and had some of the best Kombucha ever thanks to DALAISOFIA.COM a local brew guy! We picked his brain a little about how to get a good carbonation during second ferment. His advice was use an oily herb and bottled organic juice not fresh fruit. The juice has a higher natural sugar content which helps carbonation a lot! Tried it and was very happy with results. The herbs add so much more to flavor and health benefits! If ever in Charleston SC look up DALAISOFIA.COM

    Check out all the great ingredients he uses!!!

  • bear_ba_lootbear_ba_loot Posts: 4 ✭✭✭

    Hello all Kombucha lovers,

    Ive been brewing for 12 years:

    originally in large batches in a giant crock,

    now in quart-size wide-mouth jars , which I find much easier to store, pour & use.

    i used to put sliced ginger in each batch, about 2 inches per half gallon,

    but now decant it pure & add to sun-brewed herbal & green teas,

    & to juices, especially great in beet-Apple juice.

    for the recipes, I've always eyeballed the ratios:

    twice as much sugar as tea leaves, with twice as much water as kombucha+mother.

    Really, as long as the containers are clean, it works out fine.


  • EarlKellyEarlKelly Penn state master gardener Northeastern Pennsylvania zone 5bPosts: 230 ✭✭✭

    Been hearing so much about kombucha finally bought a kit for Christmas. Batch brewing now. Can hardly wait to try my first homemade batch. Usually just buy it at the store. Will continue to check in for ideas with you guys. Thanks

  • I guess I'm the odd woman out. I have never met a kombucha that I liked. Not the bottled stuff, not the stuff I made after buying a kit. So I only did the one batch.

    I love yogurt, pickles, sourdough, sauerkraut, and have enjoyed some milk keifer. I can't explain why I don't enjoy this.

  • pseaboltpseabolt North Carolina Posts: 48 ✭✭✭

    @EarlKelly , I look forward to hearing how it goes for you. I’ve only been doing it a few months myself. My favorite flavor (so far) for second fermenting has been apples and raisins. I’ve bought some dried apricots that I’m going to try next. I like what I brew MUCH better than anything that I’ve bought so far! Good luck!!!

  • EarlKellyEarlKelly Penn state master gardener Northeastern Pennsylvania zone 5bPosts: 230 ✭✭✭

    Thanks @pseabolt , can hardly wait for it to finish. Don’t really have a warm room for the kombucha to ferment. So it will be a little slow right now. Looking at recipes right now. Want to have one picked out and ready to go after the first batch is ready. Will keep you posted.

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