Main image of Homemade Kombucha: Continuous Brew

Homemade Kombucha: Continuous Brew

6 days + 20 min

Drink

Make-ahead

10 ingredients or less

Making homemade kombucha is a real treat! It feels like being a little chemist, with all the brewing and fermenting. There's the freedom to ferment for as long or little as you'd like, and you can add your own flavouring, to vary it up each time. Welcome to the world of homemade brewing!

Servings

(1 cup per serving)

Total

6 days + 20 min

Prep

20 min

Ferment

6 days

Free from

Soy symbol

soy

Peanut symbol

peanut

Treenut symbol

tree nut

Sesame symbol

sesame

Gluten symbol

gluten

Ingredients

  • 14 cups (3360 mL)
    boiling water
  • 1 cup (200 g)
  • 8
    bags organic, unflavoured green tea, black tea, or mix*
  • 2 cups (480 mL)
    starter tea, from previous batch of kombucha, or from unpasteurized, neutral-flavored, store-bought kombucha
  • 1
    SCOBY, homemade from previous batch, given by friend, or purchased online
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Directions

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  1. Read our Kombucha Tips & Troubleshooting Guide for more insights, tips, and answers to common questions.
  2. Place the large glass container that will house the brew in a dark, undisturbed location at room temperature. Choose a container that will easily store your kombucha with plenty of room to spare on the top. If you prefer to use a container with a spigot, which makes bottling a lot easier, choose a container with either a plastic spigot or a high-quality stainless steel spigot (304 grade or higher). This is so that the acidity of the kombucha does not degrade the metal, which could then leach into your beverage. Ideally, place the container about a foot off the floor to allow for ease of bottling after the 6 - 10 day fermentation period. It will be hard to move the vessel when the tea has been added, so start with this step first.
  3. Make the sweetened tea by combining the boiled water, sugar, and tea in a clean glass container or pot. Give it a swirl to ensure the sugar has dissolved, and allow it to steep until the tea has cooled to room temperature. It must indeed be cooled before moving on to the next steps otherwise you risk killing your SCOBY if the temperature of the liquid is too high.
  4. When cooled, remove the tea bags (or strain out the loose leaf tea*) and add the sweetened tea to the large glass container.
  5. Add the starter tea to the large glass container as well, and then gently place the SCOBY on top of the liquid with clean hands. The starter tea serves to acidify the sweetened tea to a point where bad bacteria cannot take over.
  6. Cover the container with a clean cloth, paper towel, or coffee filter and secure with a rubber band. Avoid using cheesecloth, as the small openings are large enough for fruit flies to enter, where they can lay eggs on your SCOBY (yuck!).
  7. Ferment for 6 to 10 days. Check on the kombucha periodically to ensure the SCOBY is thickening and that it looks healthy (no dark spots or signs of fruit fly larvae). The SCOBY may not always float at the top, and that's okay. A new cream-coloured "baby" layer of SCOBY should start forming on the surface of the kombucha within a few days.
  8. After 6 days, give the brew a taste-test. If the taste is to your liking (some like it more sweet, others like it more tart) then the kombucha is ready to bottle! Keep in mind that in warmer climates, the kombucha will be done fermenting faster than in cooler climates. Also, the longer the tea is left to ferment, the more that the sugar will be eaten up by the SCOBY, meaning the kombucha that results is less sweet, and slightly more acidic/vinegary tasting.
  9. Using clean glass bottles with plastic lids, gently open the spigot of the large container housing the brew and fill your bottles about ¾ full. Leave at least 2 cups (480 mL) worth of brew in the large container to serve as the "starter tea" for the next batch.
  10. If you'd like to flavour your kombucha, add a juice of your choice to the bottle, leaving about 1 inch (2 cm) of air at the top of the bottle for carbonation. For the recipe pictured, I juiced fresh ginger and apples to add to my brew. Secure the lid and store the bottled kombucha at room temperature and out of direct sunlight for 24 - 48 hours, which will allow for carbonation. After this period, refrigerate to stop fermentation and carbonation.
  11. To make a new batch of kombucha, make the sweetened tea as outlined above and when cooled, add this to the large vessel already containing the SCOBY and starter tea. Cover the container with a new clean cloth, paper towel, or coffee filter and secure with a rubber band. Allow the mixture to ferment for an additional 6 to 10 days.

Notes

  • * If preferred, substitute every 4 bags of tea for 1 Tbsp of an organic, unflavored loose leaf black or green tea.
  • Avoid using metal throughout the brewing process, but especially when the SCOBY has been introduced to the tea. Metal can leak into the brew and affect the taste and damage the SCOBY's growth.
  • It's common that for every new batch of kombucha made, a new "baby" is created that grows on top of the "mother" SCOBY. Essentially, the SCOBY replicates itself with each new batch. The more SCOBY layers that form over time, the shorter the fermentation time, as there are more bacteria and yeast to eat up the sugar. If you'd like to slow the fermentation, you can simply remove some of the older layers of SCOBY and create a "SCOBY hotel". This is essentially where you place backup SCOBYs in a clean glass jar, ensure they are fully covered with starter tea, seal with a plastic lid, and place in the fridge. It always helps to have a backup of SCOBYs in case something goes wrong. Some sources say to not refrigerate, as this can cause the SCOBY to go dormant. I've personally never had issues with this, but if you're concerned, you can store it at room temperature.
  • Read our Kombucha Tips & Troubleshooting Guide for more insights, tips, and answers to common questions.

Storage

  • Store the bottled kombucha in the fridge for up to 1 month.

Nutrition info

We believe that focusing on numbers can harm our relationship with food. Instead, our philosophy is to Nourish the Cells & the Soul. If you require specific nutrition information due to a medical condition, please consult with a dietitian or physician. The nutritional information provided is composed with the utmost care. However, we cannot guarantee the correctness of the displayed values, see also our disclaimer.

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