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Preparing to Brew Kombucha

It takes some time get all of the items needed to brew kombucha. But, this part is probably the hardest step, as the brewing is easy. Here is how to prepare:

Gather Ingredients

Water (1 gallon)
I estimate by using a large pot. Precise quantity is not important. If using tap water, you do not  need to prepare this ahead of time.

Tea (3-4 bags/2-4 tablespoons loose leaf)
Black tea works well.  Quantity varies based on quality and type of tea. I have had success with Wegman’s decaf orange pekoe (bags), and Frontier’s Organic Black Decaf (loose). Herbal tea and chai turned out vile.

Sugar (1 cup)
I mostly use raw cane sugar because that is what we have, but the cheap white stuff works just as well. You can use honey or other natural sweeteners, but it can produce an off taste. Note that the sugar feeds the SCOBY, and little sugar will remain in the fermented product (the longer is brews, the less sugar remains).

Symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY)
Reserve the liquid the SCOBY comes in. Obtain from a friend, online, or even Craigslist.

Gather supplies
Needed for Day 1

  • Pot
  • Spoon
  • Large glass brewing jar (mine is an old pickle jar)
  • Sieve (if using loose leaf tea)
  • Piece of cloth large enough to cover the jar opening
  • Rubber band or twine 
  • Optional: small glass jar, extra fabric, extra twine (for backup SCOBY)
Some of the Day 1 Supplies

Needed for Day 7+

  • 3-5 glass storage/drinking bottles (Old glass jars with lids work just as well as beer brewing bottles. If using jars with metal lids, place a piece of parchment paper in between the jar and lid.)
  • Something to label storage bottles with (grease pencil, masking tape, post-it, Sharpie, etc.)
  • Funnel
  • Flavoring agents (fruit, juice, herbs, etc.)
  • All of the equipment from Day 1
Some of the Day 7+ Bottling Day Supplies

 Clean Your Equipment

  • Using a dishwasher on heat dry is an easy way to sanitize (even if you don’t have a sanitize cycle).  
  • Alternatively, boil water and then submerge small items in the water (provided they are heat-safe). For your brewing vessel, pour some of the water inside, cap, and swish around, being mindful that the glass will get very hot. Dump out the water. 
  • Let all items cool to room temperature before using.

Prepare a SCOBY Hotel (optional)
Sometimes SCOBYs go bad. Other times, you might make a really vile batch of kombucha and you want to have clean starter liquid on reserve for your next batch rather than perpetuating the nastiness. To make a SCOBY hotel, assemble a jar containing a small bit of SCOBY (perhaps one layer of your large SCOBY) and a small amount of kombucha. Top with cloth and rubber band or twine. Leave in an out-of-the-way, warm place out of direct sunlight (indirect light is fine).

Preparing the SCOBY Hotel and Fermenting Jar


This is part of a series on brewing kombucha. You can view all of the kombucha entries here.


About More Green for Less Green

Hi, I’m Pamm. Welcome to my little slice of the web! As a progressive Evangelical female pastor and crunchy homeschooling mom, I’m never quite what anyone expects of me. But, hey, that’s what makes blogging interesting, right? Join me as I try to wholeheartedly parent my three little boys, slowly fix up the trashed foreclosure we bought in 2009, and live simply.

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