Kombucha Brewing for Beginners

I have always loved tea and fermented food. So when I learned that a happy Venn diagram of tea and fermented food exists I became very, very pumped up.

Tea and fermented foods
Kombucha venn diagram

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha in the simplest sense is fermented tea. Being fermented like our favorite pickles, yogurt and kimchi, it imparts unique taste that is certainly one to crave for.

What are the benefits of drinking Kombucha?

Probably TMI, but constipation is something I struggle with. I try to eat more fiber, but I get so full easily that I usually don’t get my daily requirement for fiber. When this happens, my bowel knows. LOL

 

Probiotics are scientifically proven  to enhance gut health. Since Kombucha is made by beneficial yeast and bacteria, it is definitely a good source of probiotics.

While the jury is still out on the other health claims of kombucha, I am all for consuming it even if it only means making my poop time happier. So I started my search on finding someone who sells kombucha. Unfortunately, even the swankiest health store here in the Philippines did not sell kombucha. Not to be stymied by this and being Type A, I decided to brew my own.

My biggest hurdle is finding a good SCOBY. I don’t know anyone who brews, so thank the internet gods that I found Kombucha Philippines. They are selling SCOBY, organic teas and even Kefir. I did not waste time in ordering the Kombucha starter pack and started my Kombucha journey.

How to make Kombucha?

The two most common method of brewing Kombucha is the Batch brew and the continuous brew method. Depending on your preference each method has its merits.

Batch brew is the method most commonly used by starters. It’s most basic as it involves making the sweet tea in a glass jar, adding the SCOBY and starter liquid, and letting it ferment. After 7 to 10 days (depending on the size of container) you can harvest and repeat the process.

However, I selected the continuous brew method as it significantly reduces the amount of time, effort and dishwashing (very important!) needed to make a new batch. While a normal glass jar is great for Batch brew, a jar with spigot is required for Continuous brew. I got my jar here. And I also replaced the metal spigot with higher quality one I found in Shopee.

There are hundreds of instructions online on how to brew your own Kombucha but I’m going to make it as simple as I can to remove your fear in brewing your own. Regardless on the method you choose to brew kombucha you will need the following for a one gallon brew:

Ingredients:

1 SCOBY

1 cup Starter tea (usually comes with the SCOBY)

1 tbsp Organic loose leaf tea or 6 to 8 tea bags

1 cup white sugar

1 gallon of dechlorinated water

Equipment:

1 gallon glass jar (if using CB method, use a glass jar with spigot)

1 tightly woven cloth and some rubber bands for cover

Wooden spoon/ladle

Steps:

  1. Heat 4 cups of water just below boiling. Put in glass jar together with tea. Wait for 10 to 15 mins without stirring. Remove tea.
  2. Add 1 cup of sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. This is now your sweet tea.
  3. Add the sweet tea together with the remaining water in your brewing vessel. Wait until mixture is in room temperature.
  4. Add the SCOBY* and starter liquid.
  5. Cover with cloth secured with rubber band.
  6. Wait for 4 to 7 days. Start tasting after 5 days (sooner if you are excited). If the taste is tart to your liking, it is now ready for harvest.
  7. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done and brag to your friends how you DIYed your own kombucha.

Kombucha can be expensive ($2 to $5 per bottle!!!) so I was expecting making it to be difficult and labor intensive and was pleasantly surprised that the opposite is true. I just dedicate a good 15min of my week to top off my Kombucha brew even if I drink Kombucha everyday. I am considering adding another vessel to enable me to drink more and share to my friends.

First kombucha brew Philippines
My first kombucha brew!

Some of the resources that helped me are:

The Big Book of Kombucha

Kombucha subreddit

Kombucha Philippines

Will you be brewing your own Kombucha? Please share us your experience in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

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