In this video Nick from Roots Kombucha shows you how to brew your own kombucha. The recipe and all instructions can also be found beneath the video.

What you need

  • a kombucha culture
  • a glass or food-grade plastic container with large opening
  • kitchen towel, rubber band
  • kitchen utensils (pot, strainer, spoon, ladle, knife, funnel)
  • pressure-proof bottles with tight locks

Ingredients (for 1 liter kombucha; we recommend to brew batches of 3-5 litres at a time)

  • ~3 g (1 table spoon) organic black tea (e.g. English Breakfast Tea)
  • 1 liter water
  • 0,5 dl organic white sugar (+ ~1 tea spoon for bottle fermentation)
  • 0,1 l (1 dl) ready kombucha
  • flavoring agents (e.g. roots, leaves, berries, spices)

Instructions

Start by thoroughly cleaning all equipment. Like with all fermentation it is important to think about hygiene to prevent the wrong kind of bacteria from growing.

Step 1: Brew sweet strong tea

Boil water. Add the tea and let cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Strain the tea-leaves and add the sugar. Let cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Take the pot off the stove.

Step 2: Cool the tea to room temperature

Let the tea cool to room temperature. To speed up the cooling you can immerse the pot (with the lid on) in cold water.

Step 3: Transfer kombucha culture into the cooled fresh tea

Poor the tea into the container and then put the kombucha culture into it. For better hygiene you should not touch the culture with your hands but instead use a kitchen utensil (e.g. spoon, tongs). Now add some of the finished kombucha (about 10 % of the volume). Cover the container with the kitchen towel and fix it with the rubber band.

Step 4: Let it sit for 1 to 2 weeks

Place the container in a warm spot that is somewhat protected from sunlight. The ideal temperature is slightly over room temperature. Let the container sit for 1 to 2 weeks.

The kombucha is ready when it tastes sour. How sour it gets is up to you. Taste your kombucha at different stages to learn how you like it best.

Step 5 (optional): Add flavoring agents

(At this point you have simultaneously started a new batch kombucha – that means you started again with step 1.)

Poor the finished kombucha in pressure-proof bottles. (Add some sugar to the bottles if you want to. The sugar increases the carbonization and makes the kombucha a little sweet.) Thoroughly clean flavoring agent(s) and cut in small pieces. Add flavoring agent(s) to bottles, close and let sit for 3 to 5 days in a warm, dark spot. Keep the bottles in the fridge thereafter. Enjoy!

Good to keep in mind

  • You can use different varieties of tea to make kombucha, but keep clear from such varieties that contain essential oils such as Earl Grey. Roots Kombucha uses black tea because in our experience black tea gives the best result. Moreover black tea is used traditionally for kombucha brewing.
  • You can use other energy sources than sugar for your culture, e.g. agave syrup, but that might cause variation in your final product. Avoid honey, as honey naturally contains antibiotic compounds, which can inhibit the kombucha culture.
  • You can experiment with the amounts of tea and sugar you use to reach the strength and sweetness that pleases you most.
  • Try different flavoring agents – e.g. leaves, berries or roots – but always make sure to thoroughly clean everything you put into the kombucha.
  • After your kombucha culture has grown strong it will become necessary to split it. Simply tear the culture apart with the help of some kitchen utensil, which is usually quite easy to do. One half you can then store in a glass jar covered with kombucha in your fridge. That way you have a back-up culture or one to give away to a friend.
  • Keep an eye on your kombucha culture. If it starts to look and/or taste strange we recommend you stop using this culture and instead start a new one.
  • Don’t use ceramics to brew or store your kombucha. Kombucha’s acidity increases the risk that heavy metals leach out of the glazing into the liquid. Metal is not good for the kombucha culture either, with the exception of stainless steel. Glass, wood or food-grade plastic are the most suitable materials.
  • The ideal temperature for kombucha fermentation is 2 to 5 degrees over room temperature, but it works even at lower or higher temperatures. Lower temperatures lead to slower fermentation, higher temperatures lead to a faster process. Temperatures beyond 30°C (86°F) kill the culture.