Homemade Kombucha


Every Sunday morning I have a routine …. get my 2 litre jug, add some loose leaf tea and some dextrose along with hot water and let it cool. Later in the day I then drain off my last week’s brew and pour the cooled ‘big cup of tea’ in with the a SCOBY ( Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast). All this is to create my refreshments for the week … homemade kombucha. My big jar of brewing Kombucha then sits on the bench all week waiting to for me to begin the process all over again the next Sunday.

The Routine Begins

Despite its current popularity, my kombucha making routine began almost 10 years ago after attending a fermenting workshop in Hokitika. There we were given samples of different kinds of homemade kombucha to try and sent away with a piece of SCOBY. I remember coming home with in and themselves laughing at my rubbery ‘squid’ like creature in a jar. How on earth was that going to make a drink? Despite all the ribbing though they all enjoyed either making some or drinking it in the following years.

The great thing with this is that it is so easy and inexpensive to make unlike some of the shop versions. Like many of the fermented foods Western cultures are ‘discovering’, Kombucha itself has been around for a long time ….. at least a millennia maybe even two. This little fermented drink is thought by some to originate from North East China and was drunk throughout Russia, Eastern Europe and Japan for centuries. Aside from being delicious (though some may argue with that so maybe it is more of an acquired taste) is also has many health benefits which have be scientifically studied and proven. Some people may worry about the added sugar however this is mostly ‘eaten’ by the SCOBY in the ferment so Kombucha is actually a good low sugar alternative.

As a family we have experimented with all sorts of variations in tea and sweeteners. Himself was very fond of a black tea and honey version until he became vegan. Herself on the other-hand enjoyed a berry tea and sugar variety. My favourite however is Green tea and dextrose and I now have two jars of it on the go every week after herself gave up making her berry kombucha. Being a wee bit impatient (I can hear my mother laughing already) and an ardent believer in keeping things simple, I drink my brew within the week rather than giving it a second ferment. A quick google search will give you all sorts of information on creating more exciting brews through second ferments though if that is your thing 🙂

The Benchtop Brews

The SCOBY with grow to the diameter of your jar thanks to the ‘food’ you are giving it in the form of tea and ‘sugar’; it will eventually cover the surface of the brewing kombucha. . To help the new brew along though we always leave at least 2 cups worth of kombucha in with the SCOBY … a bit like you would have a sourdough starter. There are loads of fermenting groups around the country which you can contact to get some so that you can begin your brew, usually free as the SCOBY just keeps growing layer upon layer. If you’re local to me though I’m happy to get you started too 🙂 Below is the basic recipe for feeding your SCOBY each week.

Kombucha Recipe

  • 2 Litres of boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons of loose leaf tea (or 2-3 teabags)
  • 3/4 cup of Dextrose or sugar (you only need 1/2 cup if you are using honey)

-Combine all ingredients into a large jug or bowl.

-Allow to cool

-Pour over the SCOBY and starter in your glass jar

-Leave, covered with a cloth, for a week before pouring into bottles

Hope this finds you happy, healthy and enjoying the changes of season around you.