Kombucha is delicious – and the health benefits are out of this world – but at $3.00 or more per bottle, it gets costly. So what do you do when you want to enjoy a daily glass of fermented tea, but you don’t want to break the bank? You make it yourself, of course!
While the process can be complicated, it’s not that hard – and with a little education, you can be on your way to making a delicious (and healthy) brew in no time.
Here are some tips to get you going:
You can’t just grab a starter and go – you need to know what you’re doing (because if you mess up, you’ll probably have to start over completely).
The Big Book of Kombucha is a great place to start. This complete guide shows you how to do everything, from start to finish, with illustrated instructions and troubleshooting tips. It also includes some interesting facts on the origins and history of kombucha, as well as recipes and some handy info on the various health benefits.
Buy a Quality Starter
There are a lot of places you can get a starter out there, from a local supplier to a variety of internet sources (and you could even grab one from a friend!), but we’re fans of this brand.
GetKombucha offers a 100% money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with your purchase – but they promise that its organic kit with scoby is the answer to your fermented-tea problems (so you’re not going to need to place a return anyway!)
Know Your Teas!
All teas are not created equal (at least when it comes to fermenting). Good old-fashioned black is the tea of choice – its tannin allows the bacteria and yeast to thrive. And while green is acceptable, you must include at least one black tea bag to provide those helpful chemical compounds. What can’t you use? Herbal, decaf, or Earl Grey varieties – they may harm your brew.
Have the Appropriate Supplies on Hand
Brewing Kombucha doesn’t require a lot of specialized equipment or tools, but you will need a few key items to get started. Kombucha is sensitive and liable to get messed up, so it’s a good idea to use only top quality materials during both production and storage. Here are some ideas:
- Glass bottles for storing
Free from harmful chemicals and metals, glass is the ideal choice for storing your Kombucha (or any other beverage!). Avoiding plastics and other synthetic materials help ensure that your drink doesn’t leach any weird flavors or odors, plus it’s better for the environment! This set comes with steel caps and a silicone O ring, for an air-tight seal, and at 18oz, they hold a generous amount of liquid.
- Cheesecloth for covering: Your Kombucha has to sit for quite some time in order to ferment. If you want to keep it free of dust, debris, and (ew!) insects, it’s best to always keep it covered. We like to use a high-quality cheesecloth: it can be washed and reused for long-lasting value, and it won’t leach any off-putting chemicals, dyes, or odors into your tea. Only choose a variety that is pure virgin cotton for best results.
- Distilled Water: Using tap water, and even some bottled waters, could permanently damage your Kombucha, making it necessary to start a whole new batch. Don’t trust a fancy brand just because it claims to be “reverse osmosis” or “carbon filtered” – always, always, always keep some distilled on hand.
- Refined table sugar: Under any other circumstance, white sugar is the enemy. But when it comes to Kombucha, it’s the only choice. Sugar substitutes, and even natural alternatives like maple syrup and honey, can damage the brew’s beneficial bacteria (causing you to have to start over!)
Know That There is No “Normal”
Every batch of Kombucha you make will probably be slightly different from the last – and that’s okay. It’s normal for the taste and the fizziness to differ from time to time (it varies based on the particular tea you use, how long you let it sit, and even the time of year), but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a quality tea.
Brewing your own Kombucha can be a fun way to work on your journey towards good health. Good luck and let us know how it goes – we’d love to hear about your experiences experimenting with fun flavors!