Pantry Project: Make Your Own Kombucha at Home for Pennies!

Disclaimer: If you like my recipe, click the links below and I’ll get a little dough. (When you click on the affiliate links below, I will receive an itty bitty commission from Amazon.com.)

Mmmmm…Kombucha. Kombucha is fermented tea. It tastes sweet and sour and if you do a second fermentation in the bottle, it can be bubbly – making it a fantastic alternative for soda. You can find kombucha in almost every grocery and health food store towards the end of the produce aisle in the refrigerated section near the vegan section.

If you want to try kombucha before you make it at home, this is my favorite brand and flavor. If you’re going to buy a bottle to start your first batch of kombucha at home, please buy the original unflavored version. 

Raw kombucha (like the kind you’ll make at home) contains naturally occuring probiotics, vitamin B, and antioxidants so it can boost the good bacteria in your gut, your immunity, and help to detox the body.

Despite these health benefits, it’s hard to justify spending $4/bottle at the grocery store when it is made from such simple ingredients.

We’ve been making Kombucha at home since September and ever since that first batch, I have been hooked. Hooked on how delicious, affordable, and easy to make it is!

You basically make sweet tea, cool it down, and add it to a big jar with a SCOBY and a couple cups of already made kombucha to ferment. It’s great on its own, or with fresh fruit and ginger added in, or in cocktails and salad dressings.

Rue loves it so much! She thinks it’s juice and kept popping off while nursing this morning to gracefully ask for some.

 

See? Very graceful.

 


 

HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

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4 cups cold filtered water, 2 cups boiled water, 5 tea bags, 1 cup sugar

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A SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast)

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2 cups of store bought kombucha, a big ass jar to store it in, a tea towel, and a rubber band

WHERE DO YOU GET A SCOBY?

You can buy one or make one. It should take you 1-2 weeks to make one on your own (longer if it’s really cold where you live because warmth grows bacteria) and all you need is 1/2 bottle of good quality plain store bought kombucha.

To make a SCOBY at home, simply pour 1/2 bottle of plain store bought kombucha into a wide mouth mason jar. Cover the jar with a tea towel, secure the towel with a rubber band, and let the kombucha ferment in a dark warm place (the cabinet above the stove is my favorite place) for 1-2 weeks or until you see a baby SCOBY floating on top of the kombucha.

This SCOBY and the kombucha that it was formed in would be an excellent base for your first batch of kombucha!

I’ve made a SCOBY three different ways and this was by far the quickest and easiest way!

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Three different homemade SCOBYs. The top was the easiest and fastest to make.


 

SO NOW THAT YOU HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO MAKE KOMBUCHA AT HOME, THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT:

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This is the blend I have found that makes for the lightest, easiest drinking kombucha. Feel free to use all black tea or all green tea, or your own blend! Herbal teas or teas with oils (like Earl Gray) are not recommended for brewing kombucha.

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This step is just to cool the tea down. Alternatively, you could put it in the fridge to cool or let it sit on the counter until it reaches room temperature. (But who has time for that?!)

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Please wash your hands before handing a SCOBY as well as all of the equipment you will use before brewing kombucha with vinegar. I use an all purpose vinegar spray (1 part vinegar to 3 parts water in a spray bottle). Just spray clean dishes and rinse with water. Then spray your clean hands and rinse with water. This will prevent any residual anti-bacterials from soap from getting into your kombucha and killing your SCOBY. It will also ensure everything is sterilized. Since we’re not pasteurizing our fermented tea, contamination is possible.

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Store your jar on the counter, in a cupboard, or in the pantry and drink once you like the taste of it. Since I have a very large SCOBY and kombucha in my jar that has been fermenting for months, I never wait anymore to drink my kombucha. I add a new batch of sweet tea when the jar is half empty, and drink immediately. The strong aged kombucha mixed with the freshly brewed tea makes for a very palatable kombucha. If you want it to be more sour, just wait longer to drink it!

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Use a sterilized ladle or a measuring cup to gently push down the SCOBY and fetch your kombucha!

SO I FOLLOWED YOUR RECIPE BUT I HATE THE TASTE OF THIS KOMBUCHA! WHAT CAN I DO?

Use it in place of vinegar, dilute it with more sweet tea, or add fruit and flavorings to it (strawberries, apples, pineapple, blackberries, ginger, mint, etc). Even just drinking it over ice will help dilute the tartness of it. Also, just try drinking it sooner than later. The longer it sits, the stronger it gets.

The beauty here is that you can make it however you like and it won’t cost you very much at all!

The initial cost to make a SCOBY and your first batch of kombucha should be about $8. After that, all you have to pay for is tea and sugar. For five organic tea bags and 1 cup of sugar, you’re going to spend about $1.04. That will make you 6 cups of kombucha, so each cup is $0.17? Come on! That’s a no-brainer!

I hope you enjoy this simple to make and fun to drink “juice” at home with your family!

Happy fermenting!

<3,

Laura

NOTE: Kombucha does contain trace amounts of alcohol. So if you’re worried about giving that to your children, try mixing it with unsweetened tea and a splash of homemade coconut sugar simple syrup. 

I tried making kombucha with coconut sugar and it was a big fat fail. The natural antibiotic and anti-microbial properties of coconut sugar prevented the necessary bacteria from growing and halted the fermentation process.


 

READ MORE: 

“Kombucha: Is it really good for you?” -Ellie Krieger, Washington Post

Kombucha FAQs -The Zero Waste Chef

Health Benefits of Probiotics – Harvard Health

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, physician, dietitian, nutritionist, or medical professional of any sort. I am not authorized to give professional medical or nutritional advice. None of the info on kanganrue.com has been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. Nothing published on this site is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please contact your doctor immediately for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. By using this site you agree to these terms.

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