Brewing does not apply to just beer. This weekend, Kip and I brewed up some kombucha. This is considerably easier than brewing beer, so it’s right up my lazy alley. Kombucha is simply fermented tea. Here’s how it’s made:

First you start off with some tea. Here we have a special blend of black, green, and oolong. You can use pretty much whatever kind of tea you want, as long as it doesn’t have any additives that contain oils. An orange-flavored black tea, for instance, wouldn’t fly.

We boiled a quart of water, and let it cool for just a minute, so we could add it to our glass brewing vessel without cracking it. After letting the tea steep for 10 minutes, we removed the bag and added a cup of sugar and swirled it until it was all dissolved.

Then we added 2 quarts of room temperature water. This brings the temperature of the mixture to about body temperature, around 100 degrees F, perfect for the live culture we added. A culture of not just yeast but bacteria as well. A kombucha culture is often referred to as a SCOBY, which stands for symbiotic community of bacteria and yeast. It’s really fun to say, too.

We splooshed the SCOBY into the container, covered the top with a tight-knit fabric, and secured it with a rubber band. Done! I told you this was easy.

The kombucha ferments for 7-21 days, depending on where on the sour-sweet continuum you want it to be. When it’s done, we’ll bottle it, let it carbonate for 1 or 2 days, and then drink it. I’ll let you know how it goes!

We got our SCOBY and other brewing essentials from Hannah at Kombucha Kamp. She’s great!


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  1. I’ve always wondered: does Kombucha have alcohol in it? Or is the sugar content low enough to only add a trivial amount?

  2. Do you need a new SCOBY for every batch, or can you reuse the blob from batch-to-batch?

  3. Derek–it’s around 0.5% ABV.

    John–you keep reusing the SCOBY. In fact, it doubles every time, so you generate an extra with each brew–you can use the new one, compost it, or give it to friends who want to get on the kombucha train. I’ll show that when I do a post about the bottling.

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