Learn how to make kombucha at home (and why you should), plus my favorite way to use it… a delicious and nourishing kombucha float!
If you’re coming here because you’re new to the world of kombucha, and you want to learn more, welcome. My name is Raia, and I’ll be your guide on this journey through its healthy, bubbly, goodness.
If you’re here ’cause you love booch and you want to save some $$ by making your own, I’ve got you covered.
And lastly, if you just want to know how to make kombucha into a dessert, I’m here to help you discover the deliciousness of your long-lost love – root beer float’s second cousin – the kombucha float. I could probably eat one every day… but anyway.
Whichever you are, read on.
All about the booch.
Though kombucha is rather new to the western world, it’s actually a very old drink. Some date it back to China around 200 BC. But if you’re in Far East Russia they’ll tell you they came up with it… Who knows? Who cares? We’re all just glad it survived all these years.
Is kombucha alcoholic?
Since kombucha is basically just fermented sweet tea, some folks get worried about its alcohol content. While kombucha does contain some alcohol (like anything fermented does) it isn’t enough to get drunk on, and it’s perfectly safe for children. In fact, unlike wine or beer, kombucha may actually help protect your liver due to the antioxidants it contains! Of course, the amount of alcohol in kombucha depends on how long it ferments.
Does kombucha contain caffeine?
Like its alcohol content, the caffeine content of kombucha can vary as well. Depending on the type of tea used, you’ll end up with different levels of caffeine in your finished kombucha. So if you’re sensitive to caffeine, you should moderate your kombucha intake. Just like coffee or black tea, I generally don’t drink it after nap time. I mean, 4pm…
Is kombucha nutritious?
Though tea is pretty full of antioxidants on its own, after it’s fermented kombucha is still packed with nutritional value. A finished batch of kombucha contains B vitamins 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, and 12, enzymes, probiotics, and a lot of beneficial acids. Kombucha has also been shown to contain antioxidants that are not found in regular black tea – a sign that the fermentation actually increases the health benefits of black tea!
The beneficial acids, probiotics, amino acids, and enzymes in kombucha make it a great drink for anyone who struggles with digestive health, too (which is most westerners, TBH). The probiotics in kombucha are wonderful for gut health and they also help boost your immune system. They’re even said to be able to stop candida!
What is kombucha made from?
Kombucha is easily made by fermenting black or green tea with a live colony of bacteria and yeast. This living colony is usually called a scoby, or “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.” Specifically, kombucha scobys contain Candida stellata, Zygosaccharomyces baili, Brettanomyces bruxellensis, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Torulaspora delbrueckii, and Schizosaccharomyces pombe yeasts.
I know, it’s Greek to me, too. Or rather, Latin…
FYI, a kombucha scoby is also sometimes called the mother, and sometimes a kombucha mushroom, though it is most definitely not a mushroom.
You can buy a scoby online at Amazon or Azure Standard, or just ask someone at your local farmer’s market. Alternatively, you can buy a bottle of plain, organic kombucha from a grocery store, let it sit out on the counter for about a week, and it will start it’s own baby scoby for you. Just note that a scoby grown from a bottle of kombucha will only be large enough to make a batch about a pint in volume…
How to make kombucha.
Like I said, kombucha is made by fermenting sweet tea with a scoby. It’s super simple, and doesn’t take much time. Making your own also saves quite a bit of money, if you’re a kombucha-lover.
If you don’t yet know how to make kombucha, simply dissolve some sugar in boiling water, add black or green tea bags, and steep. Once your sweet tea is cooled, add your tea, along with a scoby and a cup of plain kombucha to a glass jar (please don’t use ceramic!). The scoby provides the proper cultures and the extra cup of kombucha helps give your batch a kick-start.
Kombucha usually ferments for about a week before bottling. It ferment faster if your house is very hot and humid, or it could take longer if your house is cold. Post bottling, kombucha ferments a second time (this is where you add in flavors) for a day or two before it’s nice and carbonated and ready to enjoy.
When you bottle your booch, it’s good to always save at least a cup in the jar to start your next batch with.
Notes on flavors.
Once you know how to make kombucha, the options are pretty much endless when it comes to how you flavor it! Fruit is the most popular, but I have enjoyed it mixed with carrot juice and spices, spirulina, and more… My husband’s favorite flavor is lemon and ginger, my kids adore strawberry, and my personal favorite is mango.
In the recipe card I’ve linked to some of the products from my affiliate partners that I like to use. Purchasing through these links won’t cost you anything extra. Thanks!
How to make Kombucha
Free from grain, gluten, eggs and dairy.
- 1 gallon filtered water
- 1 cup organic sugar
- 7-8 organic black tea bags (or 2 tablespoons loose-leaf tea)
- 1 scoby (get them here or here)
- 1 cup plain kombucha (for your starter)
- 1 gallon-sized glass jar for first ferment
- cloth and rubber band to cover the jar
- 6 flip-top bottles or pint-size canning jars with lids for second ferment
Bring at least 1 quart of the water to a boil. Then turn off the heat and stir in sugar until it’s dissolved.
Add in tea, cover, and let steep until cooled to room temperature.
Pour tea into clean gallon-sized jar and add scoby and the cup of plain kombucha.
Fill the jar with filtered water up to 2 inches from the top.
Cover with a clean cloth and let set on the counter for 7 days.
Pour your kombucha into flip-top bottles (like these) or canning jars with air-tight lids. (Make sure to leave at least 1 cup of kombucha in the gallon jar for your next batch.)
Flavor bottles as desired, cap tightly, and let set on the counter for 1-3 days longer to carbonate.
Now you can use the leftover cup of kombucha and your scoby to make more kombucha!
This recipe makes about 6 pints of kombucha.
If you don’t want that much kombucha, you can simply cut the recipe in half, just keep the ratio of water:tea:sugar the same.
Nourishing kombucha float.
Ok. So now you know how to make kombucha at home. What should you do with it? Well, other than just drinking it straight (which is a great idea), it makes delicious smoothies, fruit snacks, meat marinades, and… kombucha floats!
Free from grain, gluten, with egg and dairy options.
- 8-12 ounces kombucha – plain, strawberry, whatever you want!
- 2 scoops primal/paleo vanilla ice cream (I use my vanilla kefir ice cream)
Fill your favorite cup with kombucha, then top with your ice cream.
I know, it’s complicated…
If you can’t do dairy, you can use a dairy-free vanilla ice cream.