Did you know that you can flavor kombucha with raw juice? One of our long-time employees, Danielle, has been fermenting kombucha and kefir for years, and had some great tips for brewing and flavoring kombucha.
We sat down with Danielle and talked about her process for making kombucha. She had so much great information, we wanted to start at the beginning. I’ve tried making kombucha before, but I could never get it quite right. After talking to her – I’m completely inspired! So, I wanted to share all her wisdom with the world! If you’re not ready to read through all the steps, we included some quick guides at the end for you to save or pin for later!
Before you begin, you need to get your hands on the starter – a SCOBY, or a Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast. Ask someone you know that brews kombucha, or you can just buy a starter kit like this one.
Steps to Brewing the Perfect Kombucha
Step 1: Brew tea (use Black, Green, or White tea only). If you’re making Jun (a honey-based kombucha), only use green tea. Use the ratios below to determine how much tea, water and sugar to use to make your kombucha. Don’t sweeten kombucha with honey unless you’re making Jun.
Step 2: Pour completely cooled tea and add SCOBY in glass jar large enough to hold the water. Don’t ever use metal as part of your brewing equipment. Cover the top of your brewing equipment with a clean t-shirt and a rubber band to keep out fruit flies (don’t use cheesecloth!). Let ferment at 70-75 degrees F for at least 7 days, 2-3 weeks if you want no sugar (it will get vinegary). For Jun, ferment at 65 degrees for 2-3 days. These are ideal temperatures, but room temperature usually works fine. In the winter use a low-temp heating pad, like you would for plant starts.
Notes: If brewing continuously, clean the jar every 2 or 3 weeks. To clean: Remove the SCOBY and empty jar and save 1 quart of the kombucha to restart the brew. Wash the SCOBY in purified water and eliminate all the brownish layers and keep the fresher, top white layers.
Bottling & flavoring your kombucha with teas, juices or lemonade
Bottling: When your kombucha is fermented and ready to bottle, remove the SCOBY and pour kombucha into clean, non-metal bottles. If you put it in an airtight bottle (like a Grolsch bottle) for 2-3 more days at room temp, you will get some carbonation.
To flavor: Flavor kombucha when you bottle, after initial fermentation. Once you remove the kombucha from the SCOBY you may add to it whatever you like, herbal teas, fruit or fruit juice, lemonades etc. The kombucha will begin to process and breakdown the sugar in juices and sweetened lemonades. Raw juices, like Genesis Organic Juice, are ideal because you’re maintaining the raw quality of kombucha.
Use a 1:4 or 1:3 ratio of raw juices and lemonades to kombucha. Using 1:4 will give you lighter flavor and 1:3 will give you a more intense and sweeter end product. Genesis lemonades and citrus juices pair well with Jun and green tea mixes, apple flavors work well with regular kombucha. Get creative!
Notes: Never put any juices, lemonades, or other flavorings with the SCOBY. Always flavor when bottling or else the SCOBY will get contaminated.
That’s it! Now, as promised, here are some easy & pin-able guides for you to save for later!