Step-by-Step Guide: How to Brew Kombucha – Kombucha for Beauty

The “Champagne of Life” (also known as Kombucha) is a probiotic-rich fermented tea that has been around for centuries. This easy to brew beauty elixir is something the wellness community around the world has be doing for years – and many companies are making buckets of cash marketing their fruity versions of this health elixir. Well wouldn’t you know it, it’s actually extremely cheap, easy – and dare I say fun – to brew your own at home.

Drink up for your Beauty!

Why is kombucha good for beauty? Well the answer may not come as a surprise: it is an antioxidant and it’s packed with B vitamins. Big “B” for beauty! With that property comes many anti-aging benefits, and the Alkaline pH of the kombucha is great for keeping your skin balanced. If you look closely in the beauty aisle, you will start seeing companies actually putting kombucha into their skincare and hair products too.

So let’s get to what this post is about - a step-by-step guide to help you brew your own kombucha

What You’ll Need to Brew

This directions list is to brew a full batch (1 gallon or about 4 litres). For the purpose of this demonstration, I brewed a 1/2 batch – 1.5 litres. I have made notes about different measurements for different batch sizes throughout the post.

  1. 3.5 litres of filtered water
  2. A “scoby” (kombucha mother) plus 1 cup of reserve liquid – you can brew your own, get one from a friend, or buy one from a reputable source online
  3. Large pot to brew your tea
  4. Large wide-mouth sterilized glass jar
  5. 1 cup of organic Sugar
  6. 7 organic black tea bags
  7. Breathable cloth (cheesecloth, muslin)
  8. Rubber band

How to Brew

Brewing kombucha takes approximately 2 weeks. But before you get started, you’ll need to have a scoby.

Step 1: Acquire or grow a scoby

I grew my own scoby, but there are lots of ways to get your hands on one – from a friend, from a kombucha brewing shop and online. If you choose to brew your own, you need most of the same tools as above plus a bottle of store-bought raw kombucha, and 2 extra weeks (the amount of time it takes to grow a scoby).

If you want to know how to grow a scoby, check out the end of this post!

 

Step 2: Sterilize a large-mouth glass jar

I sterilized mine with boiling water and white vinegar mixed together. I swirled it around and let sit for a few minutes before rinsing out the jar until you could no longer smell the vinegar.

Step 3: Brew Your Tea

For brewing tea, you’ll need your organic black tea bags and organic sugar.

Depending on the size of your jar, depends on how much tea you brew. In this case, I used a smaller jar for demonstration and brewed 1.25 liters of tea (my jar is 1.5 liters).

It is best if you use a gallon jar – so you can brew more tea at once – in this case you would use ~3 litres of filtered water to brew your tea.

Steep the teabags in hot water in a large pot for about 5 minutes (or until the tea is dark). Because I brewed a smaller batch, I used 4 tea bags, if you’re brewing 3 or more litres, brew with 6 or 7 tea bags.

Step 4: Add your Sugar

Now you will add your sugar – if you are brewing a full gallon (3-4 liters) you will need to add 1 cup  of organic sugar. Since I did a half batch (1.5 litres), I used 1/2 a cup of sugar.

Now you might be wondering – sugar?! But I thought that was bad for my skin! You’re right. But what the sugar does is actually “feed” the scoby. By the time the kombucha is done brewing, the sugar content is very low. The scoby grows by eating the sugar in the brew!

Step 5: Stir in Sugar & Cool

Then, stir in your sugar until it is all dissolved. I prefer to use wood utensils when I brew my kombucha, but it’s not an issue if you use something else. Then, set aside your tea until it cools completely. Using hot tea can kill your scoby culture :( so be kind and patient.

Step 5: Transfer Tea to Sterilized Jar

Now you want to transfer your tea into a sterilized, wide-mouth jar. Make sure you leave enough room for your scoby & it’s “reserve” liquid!

Step 6: Add the Scoby & Reserve Liquid

Wash your hands well, and then take out the scoby from it original jar. Add in your scoby and about 1 cup of reserve liquid for a full batch (or 1/2 a cup of reserve liquid for half batch) into your new jar of freshly brewed tea & sugar.

You’ll notice my scoby has a funny brown spot on him – that’s ok, and does not mean he is an unhealthy scoby. What you’ll want to watch out for is *mould* – if you see mould, compost your scoby and start again.

Add the reserve liquid

Step 7: Cover with a Breathable Cloth & Secure

Now to keep you kombucha safe – from flies, mould and other not so nice things – cover it with a breathable cloth such as muslin, or cheesecloth. This also allows the scoby to get the air it needs to grow.

Step 8: Brew for 2 Weeks

Store your kombucha-to-be in a dry and warm location. I left mine in the kitchen where it was warm. It does let off a bit of a vinegary-smell, so if you have another warm room to place it in, that is also a good option. If it doesn’t bother you, it’s kind of fun to watch the new scoby grow and your “mother” get bigger!

Step 9: Remove & Store Scoby

Now your scoby babies will be 2 – with each new brew comes a new scoby! For each scoby, you will want to reserve ~1 cup of this brew. This is good for both storing the scoby, and so you can create your next batch. It also allows you to give a scoby to a friend, so they can start their own brew!

If you won’t be brewing your next batch right away (I’m taking a break as I’m ordering bigger jars), store them in a glass container with a lid in the fridge. This storage method will slow the growth of the scoby, but will not kill it. You may need to let some air into the storage jar a few times a week, depending on how long you store it for, as the air pressure from the fermentation could pop off the lid. The best thing to do is immediately start your next brew, so if you can, do!

Step 10: Collect the Tools for Bottling Your Brew

You’ll need the following things to bottle:

  1. Funnel
  2. Glass jugs with tight-fitting lids
  3. Container for your next brew, or storage container for your scobys and reserve liquid

Step 11: Bottle Your Brew

Simply pour the brew (after you’ve removed the scobys) into the jar you wish to use as a bottle. Make sure your bottle has a tight-fitting lid, to keep the kombucha healthy and fizzy!

Step 12: Set Aside for 24 Hours

After you set aside your bottle for 24 hours at room temperature, place it upright in the refrigerator!

And there you have it, beauties. Kombucha brewed and ready for drinking! I hope you enjoy!

*How to Grow a Scoby

For those lovelies that would like to brew their own scoby, it is similar to the entire kombucha growing process. Simply:

  1. Bring 1 litre of water to a boil
  2. Brew 4 organic tea bags
  3. Add in 1/3 cup of organic sugar
  4. Cool & transfer to a sterilized glass wide-mouth jar
  5. Add in 2 cups of store-bought raw, organic kombucha
  6. Cover with breathable cloth & use a rubber band to secure
  7. Wait two weeks and watch that little scoby grow!

After two weeks, you are ready to start brewing a fresh batch of kombucha with your scoby!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend, beauties!

X

 

K

  • Mademoiselle nature

    Really interesting recipe :-)x

    • http://www.livingprettynaturally.com/ Living Pretty Naturally

      Hope you enjoyed! xx

  • http://makeupdetox.com Michele

    Wow, two weeks! I just made a batch and left it 6 days, plus 2 more days in bottles… it doesn’t get vinegar-y and nasty if you leave it that long? Very interesting. Maybe next time I’ll leave mine a little longer. Great post.

    • http://www.livingprettynaturally.com/ Living Pretty Naturally

      Yes, it was perfect at 2 weeks. Delicious! I will have to do some more batches with different lengths of time, to test out what is best! Thanks for stopping by, Michele! xx

  • Anne

    Very interesting and inspiring post. Does it make any difference how big the scoby is and how much reserve liquid you have? My recipe says 200 ml for 1 l Kombucha. So, would I need a bigger scoby and more reserve liquid for a larger batch?
    Thanks already :)

    • http://www.livingprettynaturally.com/ Living Pretty Naturally

      Thanks Anne :) The scoby isn’t so much about the size, but about the size of the brew. If you’re making 3-4 liters (1 gallon) of kombucha, you will want to reserve 1 cup of reserve liquid for the next batch. The idea is to move them into the next batch right away.

      After 2 weeks of growing your first scoby, your scoby is big enough for you to brew a nice batch of kombucha.

      xx

      • Anne

        My first brew was ready last weekend and it was absolutely delicious. Unfortunately the scoby died, at least I think it did. What can I do now?

    • http://www.livingprettynaturally.com/ Living Pretty Naturally

      I saw a comment in my inbox but can’t find it on the thread. Let me know if you had any questions :) xx

      • Anne

        This was the question I posted on the thread: My first brew was ready last weekend and it was absolutely delicious. Unfortunately the scoby died, at least I think it did. What can I do now? xo

  • Lilas Mauve

    Wow, I have never heard of kombucha before, where did you buy it? :)

    http://www.lilasmauve.blogspot.com

    • http://www.livingprettynaturally.com/ Living Pretty Naturally

      I made it :) And the scoby too! Give it a try, it’s not too hard when you follow the step-by-step guide :) xx

  • http://greenvana.eu/ greenvana

    Wow, what a great recipe! Although, I’ve been frequently drinking kombucha from shops, and once in fact made by a friend, I’ve never tried it myself. I like the taste a lot. It’s probably the only fizzy drink that I drink :) Thanks for the idea – although it looks a bit hmm… like a witches elixir, I might give it a go myself ;)

    • http://www.livingprettynaturally.com/ Living Pretty Naturally

      haha a ‘witch’s exliri” I love it! Give it a go, you will love it! x

  • http://www.astridanaturals.com/ Maia @ Astrida Naturals

    Woah, this is one of the things I’ve always wanted to try but never got around to it. I LOVE drinking Kombucha, I always feel so refreshed and clean after downing a bottle… but I’m a bit scared to make my own. I love the way yours looks though, gotta try it.

    • http://www.livingprettynaturally.com/ Living Pretty Naturally

      It’s much easier than I thought it would be :) And a lot of fun! Enjoy the little adventure! xx

  • Brooke

    Hey great post, I’m just wonder if the type of tea (ie black tea) makes a difference or could others be used?

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  • http://www.bluemorphoapothecary.etsy.com/ Brandie Maraziti

    I LOVE kombucha, but have been hesitant to try to brew it home (mostly I because I can be pretty impatient, but also because it just seemed so involved). You made it look so easy! I will definitely be saving this so I can finally give it a shot!

    • http://www.livingprettynaturally.com/ Living Pretty Naturally

      Keep me posted on how you fare! xx

  • LovingBuch

    Do you have to have a cup of reserve? My friends recipe doesn’t call for it. I’m just wondering what the reason for this is and if I forgot to add it, should I scrap the recipe and start over. :-)