Gone are the days of splurging on your favorite kombucha at the grocery store or local co-op. With just a few ingredients, a handful of reusable supplies, and a good bit of patience, you can make your very own super-healthy, probiotic punch right at home.
The steps are quite simple: you brew a strong tea with sugar and let it ferment in a jar with SCOBY (an acronym for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast”), and the result is that fizzy, probiotic-packed, kinda-funky drink we all know and love. The process can take anywhere from one week to 30 days. Once you get the basics down, the real fun begins: flavors! Feel free to play around with all kinds of inventive combinations.
Here’s everything you need to prepare your DIY kombucha.
Large Kombucha SCOBY and Starter Tea
SCOBY stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. Amazon
Upon first glance, your SCOBY might give you the heebie-jeebies on account of the weird string-like things hanging from it, but don’t let those scare you off—it’s the one of the most important components in the kombucha-making process. SCOBY is essentially a slippery, rubbery layer of cellulose that fosters the fermentation of your tea. In short, it keeps bad bacteria out, and the good stuff in. This particular SCOBY is five inches in diameter and comes from a reputable kombucha company. It also includes a 16-ounce bottle of starter tea, which you’ll need to kick things off.
Glass is by far the best option for brewing kombucha. Amazon
As for what kind of vessel you should use to make kombucha, a big glass jar is the way to go. Take note that the diameter of the jar’s opening make a difference in the fermentation process. For example, if you’re using a wider-mouthed jar (say, nine inches), the fermentation may occur more quickly and yield a more vinegary-tasting kombucha. This BPA-free, nontoxic one-gallon jar comes with a cheesecloth and rubber band specifically made for brewing kombucha.
Unbleached Muslin Jar Covers
These covers will keep flies out but let your kombucha breathe during the fermentation process. Amazon
When it comes to a cover for your kombucha brew, keep in mind that choosing the correct material is vital. Kombucha can attract fruit flies and other tiny bugs, so the fabric should be tightly woven enough to prevent pests from entering. At the same time, it also needs to be vented enough to allow airflow (no airtight lids allowed!). Your best options are unbleached muslin or cheesecloth (like what comes with the jar above). If you want some extra covers on hand, this unbleached-muslin four-pack includes rubber bands, and keeps out flies but allows your kombucha to breathe easy.
Get Kombucha Organic Tea Blend
Use this loose-leaf tea blend for your initial brew. Amazon
Most beginners opt for basic black tea bags to get their kombucha going, but you can also use loose-leaf tea, like this organic black-and-green blend specifically made for kombucha. Many kombucha brewers insist that a combination of black and green teas makes sure the SCOBY gets all the nutrients it needs to thrive.
White Cane Sugar
While any white sugar will work, this organic white cane variety is a great choice. Amazon
The most basic ingredient on this list, sugar is a must for making kombucha. While any white sugar will do, most pros recommend organic white cane sugar.
Glass Beverage Bottles
These glass bottles are the perfect size for at-home or on-the-go. Amazon
When it comes to kombucha storage, look for eco-friendly glass bottles with leak-proof steel caps, like these dishwasher-friendly ones from Epica. The set comes with six.
Kombucha Brewing Kit
If you’d rather have everything in one package, order this kombucha starter kit. Amazon
If you don’t want to source each item individually (or mix and match from what you already have in your kitchen), invest in this kombucha starter kit from the Kombucha Shop. The set includes a glass jar, SCOBY and starter pouch, and extra goodies like loose-leaf tea and pH strips (to measure the acidity). It also comes with a helpful step-by-step guide on how to get started.