This post may contain affiliate links, including for Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which means I get a commission if you decide to purchase through the links, at no cost to you. I promote items I love so that you can benefit from them too! Please read the terms + conditions for more information.
A Beginner's Guide to Making Kombucha
If you love the sweet-bitter, fizzy fermented drink called "kombucha," and you consume at least a few bottles a week, it may be time to start making your own. Follow along with this beginner's guide to make your own kombucha from scratch in just a few weeks!
This is a comprehensive kombucha-making guide for beginners, meant to walk you through the basic steps of making your first SCOBY, then on to your first and second kombucha fermentation. The end result will be you enjoying your own fruity, fizzy drink at home to share with family and friends!
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a carbonated, fermented drink made from sugar, black or green tea, bacteria, and yeast. These simple ingredients become "kombucha" when yeast ferments the sugar to alcohol, and then the alcohol ferments to acetic acid. Because this is a fermented drink, there is a trace of alcohol in it, less than 0.5%.
The Benefits of Kombucha
There are reported to be numerous health benefits associated with drinking kombucha. Two of the biggest benefits could be that kombucha is rich in probiotics (gut health) and antioxidants (cellular health). Is there a mental wellness connection? There are reports that consuming foods rich in probiotics, which decrease inflammation, can help alleviate depressive symptoms. There are more studies that need to be completed, but we do know that the food we eat can have a direct correlation to our mind and body wellness.
*This information is not intended to be health advice or make any health claims. Check with your health professional before making any changes to your diet.
How I Grew to Love Kombucha
My first introduction to kombucha was in the late 1990's when one of my "crunchy" friends offered me some. I had never heard of this strange drink, but gave it a sip anyway... whoa, I did NOT like it, not one bit. Not to mention there were stringy, brown objects floating in my drink! I truly thought people must be crazy to like that stuff. Well, a few years later I decided to give it another try; my taste buds must have gone "crazy," because I loved the sweet fermented bitterness the second time around. I'm guessing it probably took you a few attempts before you enjoyed kombucha - let's just say it's an acquired taste for most!
Fast forward to about 2012, I'm now a kombucha drinking fiend, I actually crave it! And since it can be an expensive drink, I decided it would be a good idea to start making my own kombucha at home. I devoured all of the information I could find and learned tips from a couple of my more seasoned kombucha-making friends. It wasn't long until I had multiple big gallon jugs lining the kitchen pantry. When my kids were younger they would see the alien-looking blob in the jar and say, "Ewww what is that?!" as the strong, vinegary odor would waft through the room. But over the years, my entire household has come to love kombucha and we easily drink a gallon a week.
"In a world full of soda be a kombucha." -Unknown
So, You Want to Make Your Own Kombucha?
Making your own kombucha is a fun hobby and much more economical than buying store-bought. It's easy to maintain once you learn the steps, so go ahead and give it a try!
STEP 1: The SCOBY
What is a SCOBY?
SCOBY is an acronym for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. It may sound scary and unappetizing, but it's actually pretty amazing. Before you can have kombucha, you first have to have a healthy SCOBY!
You're probably wondering, "where do I get a SCOBY?"
There are Three Ways to Acquire a SCOBY:
1. You can get a baby SCOBY from a friend's SCOBY
2. You can purchase a SCOBY cultu