Is there a way to make kombucha in easy steps? Yes, our step-by-step recipe and guide will tell you everything you need to know. You can find out how to make Kombucha yourself with us with simple instructions!
Whether it’s the probiotic effect, the great colors of the Kombucha or the complex sweet and sour taste. There are so many reasons to love Kombucha! And those who fall in love want to have their loved one with them as often as possible. It’s simple to make kombucha in easy steps – do it yourself!
This guide shows you how to get started with Kombucha fermentation and make kombucha in easy steps. A step-by-step guide to your first own kombucha!
What is Kombucha ?
Kombucha is magical. It starts as sugar tea, which you ferment with the help of a so-called a SCOBY. Some also call the SCOBY tea mushroom, but it’s actually not a mushroom. SCOBY is an acronym and stands for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast”, i
The bacteria and yeast use the sugar tea as a nutrient solution. This is how simple sugar tea becomes delicious kombucha.
Make kombucha in easy steps: a recipe step-by-step
- 1.3 L water
- 12g tea (best green or black tea)
- 100g sugar
- Starter liquid (approx. 200 ml)
- Tea mushroom (floats in starter fluid)
5-10 days (depending on the temperature and desired taste)
Optimal temperature: 21 – 27 degrees Celsius
- Bring 300ml of water to a boil. We recommend (at best filtered) tap water or non-carbonated mineral water.
- Now let the entire amount of tea steep in the hot water for 8-10 minutes. Then remove the loose tea. It works best with a tea strainer or a tea sock.
- Now add the entire amount of raw cane sugar (approx. 100 g) to the still hot tea and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Next, add the sweet tea and 1 liter of cold water to the fermentation vessel. The previously brewed, sweet tea cools down quickly. This point is particularly important because Kombucha culture does not tolerate hot temperatures. That would kill her, after all she is alive!
- Now the so-called starter liquid (200 ml) and the tea mushroom, the heart of the Kombucha, are added to the sweet tea (this is called vaccination). Don’t be surprised, sometimes the mushroom sinks to the bottom, sometimes it swims up. Both are perfectly correct and sinking is not a concern. Just accept: The Scoby does what it wants?
- Cover the opening of the fermentation vessel with a tea towel or kitchen paper. This protects your kombucha from vinegar flies and other vermin. If you have ordered our set, a suitable cover for the fermentation vessel is included.
- Now place your fermenter in a warm, quiet place. What is important for the Kombucha is a room temperature above 19 ° C, a little fresh air and in the best case a dark place. Too bright lighting, especially from sunlight, can damage the culture.
- After 5 days you test whether the Kombucha is already sour enough for you. If this is the case, remove the hood, take out the tea mushroom and put it aside for the time being to fill your finished kombucha (see step 9). If your kombucha is not yet acidic enough for you, let the kombucha ferment further. You can either use the tea mushroom directly for the next batch or, if you want to wait a bit for the next batch, keep it in the fridge with some liquid in an airtight container for several weeks.
If you need a longer Kombucha break, you can send your tea mushroom on vacation at the SCOBY hotel (see below)
- The last step is to fill approximately 80% of your finished kombucha into bottles and seal them airtight. For more carbon dioxide, leave your bottles at room temperature for about 1-3 days (this is called secondary fermentation ).
- Then you cool the bottles. Your kombucha stays cold for a long time and of course tastes even better. Approx. 10-20% of the Kombucha now remains in the glass as a new starter liquid for the next batch. Now you can start again from step 1.
TIP: The more acidic the kombucha becomes, the less kombucha will be used as the starting liquid the next time.
6 tips for a better brew to make kombucha in easy steps
- How to properly cover the jar: Do not use coarse mesh material. Tea towels are great and also a kitchen roll. Be sure to use a rubber to hold the cloth or paper in place. Otherwise the fermentation flies simply crawl into the container from below.
- Brew more kombucha : use larger vessels. Just keep the ratio as stated in the recipe. Also note that larger amounts of kombucha can sometimes take longer.
- Rest for your SCOBY: Are you going on vacation? The SCOBY can stay in normal Kombucha for a few weeks. You won’t like it anymore because it gets too vinegar, but your SCOBY is fine. The best way to close the jar is to stop the fermentation process. Your SCOBY rests without oxygen.
- Other tea options: You can’t only work with black tea. Even if your tea mushroom loves this tea. You can also choose green tea, white tea, oolong or pu-erh from real tea. Herbal teas like hibiscus also work. It should always be a large part of real tea (i.e. from the tea plant) because the nitrogen it contains forms the nutrients for your SCOBY. Stay away from too oily teas or teas with artificial flavors.
- The right place to store it: Be sure to keep your containers away from direct sunlight. So no windowsill – the good bacteria like it dark and warm!
- Be careful with your SCOBY: avoid contact with metal. It not only stains its taste, but reacts with your SCOBY and harms it. Stainless steel is an exception.
The SCOBY – is it really a mushroom?
Understanding the SCOBY is an important part to make kombucha in easy steps. So… Let’s talk about this gooey thing that’s in the picture. Strange, isn’t it? Rather admirable. There are many theories as to why bacteria and yeasts enter into this symbiosis. One says that this jellyfish-like form on the one hand prevents too much oxygen from the fermenting tea and creates a special environment within the glass container that accelerates the fermentation. But actually it is simply the most convenient way for the bacteria and yeast to move from container to container, we think.
What is a SCOBY?
As you just learned in the first part to make kombucha in easy steps, a kombucha mushroom is required for the fermentation – this is the SCOBY or tea mushroom. It looks like a jellyfish or a mushroom and usually swims on the Kombucha. Sometimes it sinks to the ground … SCOBYs do what they want? It is firm, but has a gooey consistency.
What does “SCOBY” mean?
SCOBY is an English abbreviation and stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts – a symbiosis of bacteria and yeast. This describes what the mushroom is made of:
It is a fiber matrix (Kombuchan and Glucan) that is produced by the bacteria. You can think of this matrix as a dense jungle, with trees, grasses and bushes. The microorganisms are the animals that live in this jungle. A wide variety of lactic acid bacteria and acetic acid bacteria as well as yeasts frolic in the tightest of spaces and work closely (symbiotically) together.
What happens in the SCOBY?
The SCOBY floats on the surface of the ferment to get as much oxygen as possible. For the fermentation, the bacteria and yeast need oxygen in order to be able to produce the aromatic and sweet and sour Kombucha.
They split the sugar from the tea into glucose and fructose and metabolize it into the Kombucha ingredients, the number of which are many, many different. The microorganisms take nitrogen compounds from the tea and a little nitrogen from the air.
If there is overpopulation or a very aged population in the SCOBY, the microorganisms have two options:
- They go into the liquid. Therefore not only the SCOBY, but also the liquid is full to the brim with microorganisms.
- They form a new SCOBY . It always forms on the top, which is why it is a good idea to remove the bottom SCOBY layers if the Kombucha mushroom gets too thick.
What is a SCOBY hotel?
Care of the SCOBY is also an important factor, but not dificult, if you want to make kombucha in easy steps. You can store all SCOBYs in liquid in a glass jar — which is often referred to as the SCOBY hotel. The liquid is preparation liquid, that is, the finished Kombucha. It is important that the tea mushrooms are completely covered with liquid.
Now you may be asking yourself a question: How long can it be stored? In contrast to milk or water kefir , which you have to “feed” regularly, the SCOBY s with the Kombucha are very easy to care for . Due to the low pH , which is approximately between 2.5 and 3.5, Kombucha is one of the safest ferments at home and is virtually immune to hostile microorganisms that spoil it.
Little maintenance is required if you choose a SCOBY hotel that can last for weeks, months or even years.
There are two options at the hotel : Either you leave the container open and cover it (as during fermentation) only with an air-permeable cloth or paper. In the open variant, the mushrooms continue to grow, but only on the surface.
Or you can put everything airtight in the fridge or in a cool cellar.
If you choose completely closed storage, be aware that if you want to use them again for kombucha production, the mushrooms need a little longer to wake up from their “hibernation” and the fermentation takes a little more time afterwards will take.
In addition, SCOBYs that come from a cool environment are slightly more susceptible to mold , spoilage or a bland taste. This improves after the first fermentation. We still recommend the first variant.
Maintenance of the SCOBY hotel
# 1 Remove yeast
The yeasts that form must be removed from time to time. The yeasts are responsible for the production of carbon dioxide and also provide nutrients for the bacteria (and humans!). However, if they are in large numbers, there is a dysbalance between the yeast and bacteria and impede the symbiosis, i.e. the optimal interaction between the two organisms.
The yeast components are dark and hang as lumps or scraps on the SCOBY or collect on the bottom of the vessel when they have ended their life cycle. It is important to remove the yeast only partially and not completely, as this would also lead to a dysbalance in favor of the bacteria.
It is also important to always work with clean hands and utensils to avoid contamination. The SCOBYs are also cleaned with lukewarm water or vinegar water.
First you take the tea mushrooms out of the jar and put them in a bowl – cover them immediately to avoid attracting fruit flies! The liquid from the hotel is now filtered through a sieve or cloth into a clean container (do not tip the liquid away!) – despite filtering the large yeast components, enough yeast remains in the liquid and in the SCOBYs themselves.
This creates a new potent starter culture! The hotel jar is then washed out to also remove the yeast that is still stuck in the glass. If this has not been done for a long time, you may have to scrub properly!
When the SCOBYs have all been trimmed to the optimum size (how to do this is explained in the next paragraph!), They can go back to the hotel. Then there is fresh sugar tea until the jar is about half full and the filtered starter liquid.
This ensures a suitable (not too basic) pH value , which then prevents the culture from spoiling. The ratio of fresh tea to starter liquid should be approximately 50:50.
# 2 Trim the SCOBY
Also in the hotel, if it is stored at room temperature and air can circulate, a new SCOBY will form on the surface. The longer the period, the thicker this SCOBY will of course.
And the thicker the SCOBY, the less oxygen gets to the liquid underneath (carbonic acid also forms when air is excluded). Crushing the tea fungi helps keep the oxygen available.
With some mushrooms, the layers can simply be peeled off manually, making a thick slice into several thin slices. If something breaks in the process, it is not bad at all and does not hurt the SCOBY.
If the layers are not so easy to separate, you can do this with a knife or scissors (first clean the utensils with vinegar or kombucha vinegar!). Then cut the SCOBY lengthways to reduce the thickness. Soft or frayed ends can also be cut off.
# 3 Get new potent starter cultures
The many cultures in a small space in the hotel ensure that the liquid becomes very acidic. This makes them the ideal starting liquid for new Kombucha! The fermentation time will be shortened by a few days.
Mixing liquid or starter liquid, which is five to six days old, can easily be used once for mixing. However, this is disadvantageous for several batches in succession, because then a predominance of the yeast is also promoted, as a result of which the taste suffers.
One possibility is to let one or two liters of Kombucha turn into vinegar and then always take part of it for the new approach. With very acidic kombucha, it is sufficient if 10% of the amount you want to have is starting liquid.
For example, if you want to prepare three liters of Kombucha, 300 ml of it should be starting liquid.
New sweetened tea does not have to be added every time you take liquid. Now and then you should do this, so that there is always enough liquid in the hotel and you always have acidic Kombucha ready.
# 4 SCOBY roulette
Some Kombucha brewers prefer to let the SCOBYs and some liquid move back and forth between the fermentation vessel and the hotel. The SCOBY, which was previously used for the Kombucha production, then goes back to the hotel and waits to be used for a later approach.
With this method, the cultures always remain active and at the same time always get a certain amount of rest, which may have a positive effect on them.
Others use a SCOBY several times in succession once they have found a balance and taste that they like.
It is up to you to find the perfect rhythm in which the SCOBY works best and which is best suited to the environment and your own taste. Just try out how it works best! Have fun trying when you make kombucha in easy steps!
Is Kombucha dangerous or harmful?
Making kombucha yourself always means less hygiene than in a sterile laboratory. Of course, you don’t have an industrial kitchen at home and follow some safety and hygiene protocols. So if you have the normally clean home, and follow the other tips to make kombucha in easy steps, there will not be a problem.
But can Kombucha be harmful to your health? Here is the very good news: Kombucha is a drink with an acidic pH . In such an environment, bad bacteria and germs have no chance to grow. It is inherently safe from contamination. Even mold spreads very rarely, we have never experienced it while following the recipe and method to make kombucha in easy steps.
Kombucha has been around for over 2,500 years (!). It was brewed in much more unsanitary environments than it is today and it was always safe. So we are completely on the safe side, especially because of the acidic environment.
How much alcohol is in the Kombucha?
Kombucha contains alcohol – fruit juices too. This is natural and not harmful. Alcohol is a by-product of the fermentation process. Kombucha generally has no more than about 0.5% alcohol and is of course limited to about two percent alcohol by volume. However, people with a tendency to drink more alcohol should be careful.