Nutrition Watch: Kombucha Rules!

I’ve been making my own kombucha for almost a year now and it’s been a really fun, rewarding experience.
There are a few rules but it’s actually quite easy once you get the hang of it. You’ll need:
– a brewing vessel (rule #1: no ceramic, crystal or metal- only glass or porcelain)
– a SCOBY (a Symbiotic Colony of Yeast and Bacteria)
-one gallon of water (rule #2 :don’t use alkaline water and make sure the water is filtered to remove chlorine and other contaminants)
– six to eight tea bags or two tablespoons of loose tea (rule #3: you can use black or green tea or yerba mate but don’t use flavored tea or herbal tea)
– one cup of sugar (rule #4: don’t use honey or artificial sweeteners; ideally use organic cane sugar)
– a wooden spoon for stirring in the sugar and a pot to boil the water in (rule #5: no metal should touch the SCOBY!)
– a cover for your vessel (rule #6: don’t use cheesecloth as bugs can still get in; use a paper towel or even a coffee filter)
-something to secure the cover (such as a rubber band)
– two cups or white vinegar or already made kombucha (rule #7: use kombucha without flavoring added)
I got my SCOBY at Erewhon but you can also get them online at Get Kombucha or Cultures for Health.
Start off by boiling about a 1/4 of the gallon of water in a big pot and add the tea to steep for ten minutes. Next strain the tea and stir in the sugar to completely dissolve. Add the rest of the water to bring it down to room temperature (rule #8: the sweet tea mixture must be at room temperature before you add the SCOBY) and pour this into your brewing vessel. Next add the vinegar or already made kombucha and place the SCOBY on top (rule #9: make sure your hands are clean and free of any soapy residue). Cover with a paper towel or cloth and secure. Place in a warm (70-80 degrees is ideal) spot with good airflow (i.e. not a cupboard) and away from any other cultured foods (rule #10: cross contamination from kefir, sauerkraut, etc will prove problematic for your kombucha SCOBY) and wait about seven to ten days for your brew to ferment. The longer you let it ferment the less sugar will be present and the more vinegary the taste. You can then drink it or pour it into bottles that you seal and allow to ferment further.
I chose to do the continuous brew method, which Wellness Mama explains well. The continuous brew method uses a vessel that has a spigot so you can get delicious kombucha without disturbing the SCOBY. You can either add sweet tea as you go (i.e. for every cup of kombucha you drink, add one cup of sweet tea) or just pour in another gallon of sweet tea once your vessel is almost empty (rule #11: always leave a couple cups worth of kombucha in the vessel to brew the next batch, i.e. then you only need to add sweet tea).
The kombucha SCOBY will grow! Eventually you’ll need to separate some off so that it doesn’t overwhelm your brewing vessel. Remeber rule #5 and don’t use a metal knife. I just use my hands to gently pull it apart, as shown in the picture. My SCOBY, Norman, has already been shared with four other friends.
If you’d like to learn how to make this healthy, probiotic-rich beverage, I recommend you check out Kombucha Kamp, Wellness Mama, Get Kombucha and Cultures for Health.


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  1. KaRa /

    Trying for the first time today! I lije your directions and receipe. Ill keep you posted on how i go:)

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    […] – I try to eat one organic carrot a day to aid in balancing hormones¬† Jun, beet kvaas and kombucha¬†(these are fermented beverages) cultured vegetables, especially when my meal includes meat or fish […]

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    […] also make my own kombucha and Jun and drink daily to help gut bacteria and give me a nice little pick-me-up! I really like […]

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