Are you wanting to try brewing but not sure what goes into it? Here is a video tutorial that takes you through the entire process - and also instructions below the video on the ratios for my First Ferment.
If you need "starter tea" and a SCOBY for your very first brew - you can find them from your local kombucha bar, a friend, or on Amazon. Here's a link for a brand I've heard works well. KOMBUCHA STARTER KIT If you're in my area - let me know & I can check my hotel.
Another great resource is Amy Nguyen from OhWeCook.com - she also has a fantastic tutorial!
Per 1 gallon jar:
- 20g loose leaf tea (10 tea bags) steeped in 1 quart water for at least 1 hour (preferably overnight) and cooled to room temp. *see note below
- 300g white sugar (1 ½ C)
- 472ml starter tea (2 C) or finished First Ferment from your previous batch.
- Additional water to fill the gallon jug up to the rim of the bottle where it starts to curve inward.
- 1 SCOBY pellicle (gelatin mat) from the previous brew. *see note below
- Clean linen napkin, or doubled over paper towel, or coffee filter to cover the top secured with a rubber band.
Brew your plain tea and add to the gallon jug, add sugar and stir to dissolve. This is now your 'sweet tea'. Your sweet tea must be tepid room temperature before adding the Starter Tea (finished 1st Ferment from the previous batch). Add the starter tea and then add water to bring the level of liquid up to the rim of the jug where it starts to curve inward, but leaving room for the SCOBY pellicle. Cover with a clean linen napkin and secure with a rubber band. Place in a location where it will be undisturbed, not bumped or jostled, and out of the sunlight. The ideal ambient room temperature is 75-80 degrees F.
See our tip for brewing in a cool or cold room HERE.
Once your 1st Ferment brew is finished and ready to be bottled, be sure to save back 2 Cups of brew which will be your starter tea for your next batch.
- Depending on your water source, you may prefer to use filtered water. We're lucky that we can use ours straight from the tap, as we have a very clean spring water source and we perform an annual water test with the city to check for impurities.
- The tea used in the First Ferment needs to be plain pure tea with nothing additional added. Herbs or flavorings will contaminate your brew, inhibit healthy SCOBY growth, and provide an environment for mold.
- With using a strong, healthy starter tea (finished F1 from the previous batch) it's not necessary to add a SCOBY pellicle to your First Ferment. The starter tea itself contains all the yeast & bacteria needed to create a brand new SCOBY in this new batch. Adding the pellicle (gelatin mat) will give your brew a boost, however, the most important thing is to have enough healthy starter tea.
- Brewing in a spot where the gallon jug won't be disturbed is important. Within the first few days of the brewing process, there will be activity on the surface of the liquid - a new SCOBY or pellicle is trying to form. It's important to leave it alone and allow it to 'seal' the top surface of the brew, and slowly grow & thicken. It is this cellulose or gelatin 'mat' that acts as a barrier to the room air and the air's impurities from contaminating the brewing liquid. You can think of it as keeping the good stuff in and the bad stuff out.
- My standard recipe is brewing stronger tea and adding a bit more sugar than what you might find is called for in other sources. I've found I prefer a nice strong boost, and a slightly sweeter brew..but not too sweet. Keep in mind the SCOBY will consume most of the sugar during the fermentation process, so the final amount of carbohydrate will be fairly low as compared to un-brewed sweet teas, juices, sodas. The reading I've done using similar ratios shows the carb content around 5g per serving.