Why bother brewing your own kombucha? Because it's super easy, tastes amazing, and costs next to nothing. My family loves kombucha, but the store bought versions aren't just super expensive, they also don't taste half as good as homemade. Jude and I have been making homemade kombucha for well over a year now and it's really easier than you might think. In this post I will share how to create a simple and delicious raspberry flavored kombucha complete with tips for a healthy brew and how to get the kids in on the action. This is a great base recipe and kombucha can be flavored in many different ways. In fact, I will be sharing a few of my favorite seasonal flavors soon!
Kombucha Is A Tasty, Healthful Drink
First, a little info on what the heck komucha is and why you should make it. Kombucha is a beverage made from fermented tea, it is full of probiotics and healthful yeasts, both of which are great for your gut and immune system. Because it is fermented it does contain a very small amount of alcohol. I do allow my kids to drink it, just not by the jug full. Usually they get about half a cup at a time, just to be safe and because I want more for myself!
Basic Kombucha Equipment
You only need a few simple items to make kombucha at home. These things will quickly pay for themselves when you stop buying GT's at Whole Foods. Note: this post includes affiliate links, see bottom of the post for more details.
- One gallon glass container with a wide opening
- Tight sealing bottles (at least 6 16 oz bottles)
- Ladle (preferably not metal)
Basic Kombucha Recipe
- Kombucha SCOBY (often called a mother)
- 10 bags or teaspoons black or green tea (preferably organic)
- 1 cup sugar (preferably organic cane)
- Bring 1 gallon of filtered water to a boil and allow to cool slightly.
- Steep your tea in the hot water for 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the tea bags, squeezing them over the pot before discarding them. If using a loose leaf tea pour the tea through a fine sieve into your glass container. (Note: kids love fishing for tea bags)
- Add your sugar, stirring until dissolved. (Let the kids stir!) If you haven't already, pour the tea into your glass container.
- Allow tea to cool to room temperature. Note, this can take awhile but it's worth the wait, be patient! (While you are waiting you can blow your kid's mind and teach them that your kombucha will be ALIVE!)
- Pour your SCOBY and it's liquid into your cooled sweet tea. (This is Jude's favorite part!)
- Cover your container with a clean lint free towel, attached with a rubber band or kitchen twine. Place on your kitchen counter where it will get good air but not get sloshed around a bunch.
- Wait between 3 and 10 days depending on the weather. Your kombucha will be ready when a new SCOBY has formed on the top and a few bubbles appear near the surface. You can test your kombucha to make sure it's ready, it should taste much less sweet and slightly tangy but not like vinegar (that has gone too long and you might want to use your SCOBY to brew a fresh batch). Note: the kombucha above was made with a huge mother, your first batch won't have as much solids at the top.
- You can drink your kombucha now or bottle it to add flavor and bubbles!
Helpful Kombucha Brewing Tips:
- Getting a SCOBY: ask around before you shell out for a SCOBY, those of use who brew always have more than we can keep up with! Otherwise I recommend looking at a local home brew supply shop for a nice fresh mother. I started my first brew with Oregon Kombucha and it worked wonderfully.
- Avoid mold: the one thing that can totally ruin your kombucha is mold. If your home is fairly hot and humid, add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to your brew to help fight it off. Also, never store your brew near a fruit bowl where that off orange at the bottom could contaminate it (maybe that's just me). Furthermore, sometimes as a SCOBY is developing it has white patches that might seem like mold, don't worry if you have mold you will know, it will get all hairy!
- Temperature: I have successfully brewed kombucha in a cool winter home and a hot summer kitchen with no problems. Generally speaking it just takes a lot longer in the cold.
- Dividing and storing SCOBY: once your brew is finished and you're ready to move on to bottling you will have SCOBY for another batch or two. Be sure to reserve at least 1 cup of liquid with each SCOBY (you can even cut a SCOBY in half) and either brew more tea right away, store it on the counter covered with a cloth, or for longer term storage, place it in the refrigerator.
DIY Raspberry Flavored Kombucha
You can flavor your kombucha with any fruit or juice, but this is my go-to because it tastes great and frozen raspberries work perfect here, making it affordable and reliable.
- One gallon brewed kombucha
- 12 oz raspberries (frozen work great)
Note: I let the kids help with every part of this bottling process, it makes it fairly messy, but also more fun.
- Defrost your raspberries, if using frozen, and smash them with the back of a fork to create a puree.
- Divide your puree between six bottles. Using a funnel add about 3 tablespoons of puree, I never measure, just add until there is about an inch of puree in the bottom of each bottle. Note: sometimes you have to stick a chopstick in there to help loosen up the puree and get it in the bottle.
- With the help of your funnel, ladle your kombucha into each bottle, making sure you leave at least one inch of head room.
- Seal up your bottles. (And clean up your mess, ha!)
- Let your bottles sit at room temperature for 2-4 days (depending on how hot it is), you'll know they are ready when your hear or see nice fizzle when you open a bottle. Note: open that first one over the sink just to be safe. Store your finished brew in the refrigerator.
- Drink and enjoy!! Note: you might want to pour your drink over a sieve if you don't like those little bits of raspberry but they've never bothered us.
I'd love to chat kombucha with you! If you have questions I'd love to help if I can! If you're an avid brewer and I missed something please share!! Leave me a comment or hit me on social media (I'm @smallfriendly everywhere)!