Kombucha is delicious, naturally fizzy, and full of probiotics that are fantastic for your digestive system. Unfortunately, a 16 oz. bottle of kombucha from the store usually falls somewhere between $3-4, which is a lot of money to spend if you want to drink it every day like I do. To cut down on costs, I’ve been making my own kombucha at home, and have now reached the point where I’m producing enough to share with friends and family members who are interested in trying it out for themselves.
To make homemade kombucha, you’ll first need to obtain a kombucha SCOBY, which is a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast that feeds off caffeinated tea and sugar. You can find your own scoby in one of three ways:
1. Buy from any store that sells them. If you can’t find a store that will sell them locally, you can buy them online, dehydrated or fresh.
2. Grow your own from a bottle of raw store bought kombucha. Method here.
3. Bum off someone you know who already brews their own kombucha at home.
Once you’ve obtained a scoby, you’re ready to make your kombucha. And because your scoby will duplicate each time you brew a new batch, you’ll eventually produce enough to give the extras away as gifts for friends and family members who are also interested making it at home.
To give as gifts, I like to package my extra scoby in a small jar covered with reserve liquid. I also like to prepare a bottle of freshly brewed kombucha to go alongside the scoby so the recipient can taste the finished product. Lastly, it’s important to include some basic instructions for how to use the scoby:
Instructions for making your own kombucha (1 gallon):
Bring 3 1/2 quarts of water to a boil. Remove from heat, and add 1 cup sugar. Stir to dissolve.
Add 5 standard sized bags of black tea (caffeinated), and brew for 15-20 minutes. Remove tea bags, and allow the liquid to cool to room temperature. Pour in a gallon sized GLASS jar with a wide mouth.
Add SCOBY and ½ cup reserve kombucha liquid. Cover with cloth and secure with rubber band. Let sit in a cool, dark place for 1-3 weeks, checking the flavor every couple of days after the first week has passed.
Once you’re satisfied with the flavor, strain the kombucha liquid minus 1/2 cup into a bottle and store in the refrigerator for drinking. Repeat the process for more kombucha!
Also, since you now have two SCOBYs, you can either give your extra scoby away, or you can start up another jar for more kombucha goodness.
A few important notes about making your own kombucha:
– Don’t let metal come in contact with your SCOBY. It will degrade the culture.
– Use white sugar only – no sugar substitutions. White sugar helps maintain the pH.
– If your SCOBY shows any signs of mold, discard and start over.
– You can substitute black tea for any other tea that contains caffeine, such as green tea or oolong tea.
– Once you’ve strained your kombucha into a bottle for refrigeration, you can add ginger, fruit, or fruit juices to flavor the beverage.
To package my kombucha + kombucha SCOBY, I used sunflower colored tags and labels in the style Lucky in Lace.
More homemade gift ideas from Lindsay:
Almond Milk Recipe Creamy Avocado Dressing Candy Cane Cooler Apple Cider Syrup
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