Home Brew Kombucha – First fermentation

It had gotten out of control. I was maintaining six large jars to brew Kombucha a week, while pressing my own organic juices to add for the second fermentation. Not sure who was serving who! Then, one day I get the bright idea to try and use Mate instead of regular tea as a starter and my SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeasts) crew was never the same. As any smart brewer will tell you, always save a starter SCOBY. Problem is, that one got a gnat family reunion after the lid (use cloth not paper towels!) was compromised. Now after about two years of Kombucha brewing hiatus, I have decided to bring the “Booch” back.

 

Starting the Kombucha first fermentation:

 

Ingredients and Materials for brewing Kombucha - Brew Kombucha at home

Ingredients and Materials:

  • Kombucha SCOBY with starter liquid
  • Organic green (or back) tea
  • Organic cane sugar
  • A large pot
  • A large wide mouth jar
  • Measuring container
  • Ladle to scoop up the Kombucha tea
  • Funnel for making tea transfer easier

 

Kombucha in jar - Brew Kombucha at home

Brewing process:

  • Fill the pot with as much water as will fit in the jar. For me it’s about 1 gallon.
  • Boil the water then remove from heat.
  • Add one cup of sugar per gallon of water. Or a quarter cup per quart.
  • Add six tea bags per gallon of water.
  • After the tea has steeped for a good ten minutes or so, remove the bags and let cool to room temperature
  • Transfer the tea to the jar.
  • Add the SCOBY with the starter.
  • Put a clean piece of cloth over the opening of the jar so the mixture can breathe and no gnats can get in.
  • Keep in a dark, room temperature, place. Kombucha does not like light and ferments at moderate temps.
  • After about a week, depending on temprature (shorter if hotter, longer if colder), taste. You are looking for a not so sweet and slightly acidic taste.

Some notes:

  • Keep everything as clean as possible so as to not introduce some foreign “flavors”.
  • Organic is best so you know you are not adding something that might harm the SCOBY.
  • If the tea is to hot it could damage or kill the culture, so be patient here.
  • Kombucha “eats” caffeine and sugar, that’s why we need both. No, I haven’t tried coffee. Yet…

Now this is just the firs fermentation. You could drink it as is but it might feel “lacking” in the taste or fizz from store bought Kombucha. The reason is that now the second fermentation needs to take place, follow the link… We are almost there!