Kombucha (otherwise known as ‘bucha’ or ‘booch’) is made from tea, sugar, a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast (‘SCOBY’) and a small amount of previously brewed kombucha. The SCOBY consumes the sugar and ‘feeds’ on the tea producing the kombucha, which takes anywhere from 7 – 28 days. Adding fruit and other flavours to the kombucha during the flavouring and bottling process will give you the finished product which will be a great tasting, naturally carbonated drink that has many health benefits.
Kombucha can have varying tastes and flavours as a result of the amount of time the Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria & Yeast (SCOBY) has to “work” and whether you have added flavouring to your brew. The longer you leave your SCOBY in your brewed sweet tea, the stronger the vinegar taste, because kombucha is produced through a similar process as to how vinegar is made. The shorter the period the SCOBY has to consume the sugars in the sweet tea, the sweeter the kombucha. Depending on how sweet you like your kombucha, you can remove the SCOBY earlier (5-7 days) and begin to flavour it with fruit or juice during the second step in the brewing process. You could alternatively, drink kombucha raw. If you have never tried kombucha before, you can purchase a bottle at your local grocery store or health food shop.
Yes, you can make kombucha at home and it is quite simple too! Brewing kombucha is relatively inexpensive when you brew it at home $0.25-$0.50/bottle compared to $3-$8/bottle at a grocery store.
To make kombucha, you will need organic sugar and tea, a glass jar, cloth cover, and SCOBY. You can get a SCOBY from a friend or you can purchase one from a reputable company. We have complete home-brew kits in our shop which include everything you need to get started. If you already have a SCOBY and the tools you need, you can read our Step-by-Step Guide on how to brew.
A Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria & Yeast (SCOBY) is referred to as a culture, mother, and/or baby. During the brewing process, small bits of SCOBY may fall off the main SCOBY and you can either strain the pieces out or have them as part of your bucha. It won’t hurt you; think of it as kombucha pulp!
No two SCOBYs are identical, so don’t be alarmed if your SCOBY begins to look odd or change colours. Although mold could be a cause for concern, it is most likely a result of air bubbles and/or yeast in your brew. Your SCOBY may look unhealthy if it changes to a varying shade of green, blue, brown, orange, or pink; however, this is completely normal!
We have included a gallery of both healthy and unhealthy looking SCOBYs to give you a reference point. If you can’t quite determine whether you have a healthy and happy SCOBY, please feel free to get a second opinion by sending a photo of your SCOBY to [email protected]
Yes, but you won’t get tipsy! The alcohol content ranges between 0.3% to 0.5% which is less than a super ripe banana or your freshly squeezed OJ!
To maintain a well balanced ratio of yeast to bacteria, it is best to maintain a temperature range of 22 to 25 degrees Celsius or 73-77 degrees Fahrenheit . Although your SCOBY will still be ok in temperatures that are colder, if the temperature remains below 19 degrees Ceclius or 66 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period of time, your SCOBY may start developing mold. Additionally, the colder the temperature, the longer it takes to brew your kombucha. If you are brewing during the summer or your house is naturally warm, if you store your brew in temperatures above 29 degrees, it will cause the yeast to overpopulate and your brew won’t taste as good.
Kombucha can be kept in your fridge for months, because the brewing process is slowed at colder temperatures. The acidic nature of kombucha allows it to keep for longer periods of time similar to pickles or other fermented foods/drinks.
You can get a SCOBY from a friend who has a ‘baby SCOBY’ or you can purchase one from a reputable company. You should ensure that the SCOBY is healthy (you can see our photos of healthy and not-so-healthy SCOBYs). The SCOBY should come with at a cup of ‘starter-fluid’ which is the raw kombucha it was raised in, so that the SCOBY is at the appropriate acidity when brewing a new batch. You can purchase a SCOBY from our shop. Our cultures are raised with organic Ceylon black tea, organic cane sugar, and filtered water to ensure the highest quality SCOBY.
Your SCOBY is a living organism. If you properly take care of your SCOBY, it will continue brewing great tasting kombucha many times over. Over time, you will grown baby SCOBYs as a result. You could decide to expand your brewing capacity with the baby SCOBY or you can give it away. Many people form a “SCOBY hotel” which is another container to hold the extra SCOBYs you have grown, kept in starter fluid and occasionally topped off with sweet tea.
We recommend using swing-top bottles or mason jars to bottle your brew. They are the best option to maintain the fizziness of your bucha. Occasionally, you may want to ‘burp’ your brew to ensure that there isn’t too much pressure in the bottle, so the swing-tops will be handy to release pressure and close back up.
Using soap will be sufficient, but note that antibacterial soap shouldn’t be used as leftover contaminant could harm your SCOBY culture. Additionally, warm water and vinegar can be effective as well. Make sure to rinse your equipment and bottles thoroughly before using.
There are two primary processes in brewing kombucha. The first step renders raw kombucha which you can drink as is; however, if you want to add some character to your brew, you can customize your flavour in the second brewing process. You can add juice, fruit, ginger (or other roots) to flavour your raw kombucha before allowing the kombucha to build up carbonation. Using a swing-top bottle or bottle with a polycone phenolic cap will help maintain the carbonation during the second brew process.
No. You can drink your kombucha as is. Depending on the tea you used and whether you used sugar or honey, your brew may already taste amazing. You can also add your favourite flavors when you serve your bucha. Just smash up some berries, cut up some fruit, or add fruit concentrate to your bucha, chill for 10 to 15 minutes and serve.
You can find larger brewing vessels and use the same proportions to increase the yield of your brews. We recommend increasing your brew size slowly over time so your SCOBY can grow and adjust to the new vessel size.