It’s ALIVE! Part 1: Brewing “Booch”

Because I definitely don’t have enough random things living in mason jars around my house, I recently decided to try my hand at brewing kombucha. Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that is full of probiotics and other naturally growing healthy things. Check out some info about the health benefits of drinking kombucha on my new Pinterest board: IT’S ALIVE! To brew kombucha at home you will need to have a SCOBY, which is short for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. I know, it sounds a little gross. It kind of is. You can buy them, grow them yourself, or get one from a friend. Here’s a video of me meeting my new SCOBY for the first time:

Beginner’s Kombucha

Ingredients:

  • one gallon of brewed tea, cooled ( I used PG Tips)
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • SCOBY
  • fruits or juice to flavor (optional)

Special Equipment:

  • a clean container to ferment in (I used a glass jug with a spout, the type you would use to serve drinks at a party.)
  • a big rubber band
  • some cheesecloth to cover the top of the fermenting container
  • mason jars for storage
  • coffee filters for filtering (This is optional, but I promise you will want to filter.)

Instructions:

  1. Brew the tea. For a gallon of tea I used about 10 tea bags. I let my tea brew for about 3 minutes. Add the sugar while the tea is hot & stir until dissolved.
    boochtea

    Brewing up the tea.

  2. Let the tea cool thoroughly. This is very important. Much like baking bread, where you don’t want the water you put the yeast in to be tepid but not too hot, it’s important for the tea to be cooled or the live cultures won’t do their thing.
  3. One the sweet tea is cooled, you can put it in the container and add your SCOBY.
    Here's my new buddy right after I put him in the tea.

    Here’s my new buddy right after I put him in the tea.


  4. Cover the container with a piece of cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band.
    Here's my set up all ready for a fermentation party.

    Here’s my set up all ready for a fermentation party.

  5. Put container in a warm place. Colder temperatures will cause the fermentation to slow down. I put mine next to my kitchen sink, above my dishwasher where it stays nice & warm.
  6. Now comes the hard part. Wait. Brewing kombucha can take anywhere from 7-28 days. It’s all a matter of your personal taste. It’s going to be tangy, because the SCOBY is devouring the sugar you put in the tea. It’s simply a matter of how tangy you want it. You can also back sweeten your “booch” with juice or fruit after the fermentation is complete. I tasted it at 7 days & it wasn’t quite there, I ended up fermenting it for a total of 11 days.
  7. When the flavor is how you want it, you will want to remove the SCOBY & store him covered in a little kombucha in a plastic bag or tupperware container.
    Here's what my friend looked like when I pulled him out of the finished kombucha.

    Here’s what my friend looked like when I pulled him out of the finished kombucha.

  8. Next you will want to filter your “booch”. I used my usual filtering method; coffee filters and mason jars. If you need a refresher, check it out here. It’s a messy sticky process that’s definitely a little gross.
    boochtweet

    As you can see, brewing kombucha is not for the faint of heart…

  9. I ended up with 4 quart mason jars mostly full by the time I was done. I left one plain (no sweetener or fruit), and I’m steeping some frozen fruit I had on hand (peach, cherry, and blackberry) & hoping for some sweetness and secondary fermentation (FIZZ!). **Update: I was able to achieve a little secondary fermentation & fizz after I added the fruit!   
  10. When your kombucha is done & filtered and you’ve added any juice or flavorings, you will want to store it in the fridge to prevent further fermentation. Even though it’s been filtered, and the big chunks (GAG) are out, there are still tiny bits that can (and will) continue to ferment. This can blow up the jars or bottles that you’re using for storage. Consider yourself warned.

4 comments

  1. I never filter my Kombucha, I just pull the SCOBY out and add fruit and ginger and let it ferment again. Then I bottle it. It is kind a gross to look at but the payoff is worth it. I hope you enjoy yours.

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