Three Things to Know About DIY Kombucha Brewing

Start a fun project and make your own fermented tea.

byCarrie Saum|
Three Things to Know About DIY Kombucha Brewing
A SCOBY—symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast—used to make kombucha isn’t the prettiest thing, but it’s essential to making a good ‘booch. Tim-Oliver Metz, Unsplash

Kombucha is an effervescent, lightly sweetened fermented tea. It’s made by brewing strong tea, sweetening it with sugar and adding it to a SCOBY. A SCOBY (short for symbiotic culture or community of bacteria and yeast) is a living mushroom-like culture that breaks down the sugar and gives the kombucha its tangy, fermented taste. All you need to get started is a dark, warm corner in your home, some filtered water and a kombucha homebrew kit.

This has it all, from detailed instructions on how to brew your best beverage to a six-week aged starter.

When you buy kombucha, you may find thick, gelatinous particles floating in the bottle. That’s what new SCOBY looks like—the stuff is constantly regrowing, which is why you can reuse the same SCOBY for multiple homemade batches of kombucha. You’ll know your SCOBY is ready to be used for a new batch when it’s turned thick, smooth and opaque.

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If you’re wondering why kombucha needs this strange, jelly-like substance, it’s because SCOBY protects the kombucha from unwanted environmental bacteria during the brewing process. To keep your homemade brew safe store it in a warm, dark place, away from any direct sunlight. Also, make sure to wash your hands and utensils you may use thoroughly before handling the SCOBY.

For the cost of a pre-made six-pack, you can make your own blend!

Starting your own kombucha homebrew adventure doesn’t require a lot of money for costly equipment. Sometimes you don’t even need to make your own starter SCOBY. Look for a kit that has the basics: A large jar, a healthy SCOBY, black tea, sugar and detailed directions to get started.