How to Make Kombucha

Ahh, kombucha. The drink of the Gods. The elixir of life. The gift that keeps on giving.

But first…

I have added a new category on my blog for my hobbies, interests, and daily living musings. This is now under: LIFESTYLE. My old self would be dancing with joy knowing that I am blogging for the self now. She’d look back at my mommy blog that I have archived since 2016 to move on to more proper and professional topics.

And now it’s back.

Doing this to the self and also filed under ‘Quarantine Diaries’. I think this is the kind of freedom we need sometimes – the freedom to talk about what we actually like aside from work and career.

So let’s do this first one —

HOW DID I LEARN ABOUT KOMBUCHA?

Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that probiotic fans love. Want to do something good for your gut health? Drink kombucha.

It’s on par with things like – Yakult, sauerkraut, kimchi – All fermented. All good for your tummy. (Plus they say it helps with weight loss!)

I have fallen in love with kombucha because of two things:

1. The film “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”

Cut to the scene where Peter Kavinsky handed Lara Jean a red cup and as she sips, she comments on why it was so vinegary. Of course. Because it’s kombucha and not beer.

This scene got me curious. What is kombucha?

2. Harlen+Holden Rockwell Glasshouse at Bonifacio Global City

Now to actually taste kombucha is another story. What could be a better experience than drinking it while eating steak in a glasshouse?

This was my first time actually tasting kombucha. And it tasted like heaven.

WHAT MADE ME DECIDE TO MAKE MY OWN KOMBUCHA?

It’s simple. I went Healthy Options and browsed around for a bottle of Kombucha. You know how much they are? At least P180-P295.

I opted to buy a bottle worth P295. And then finding that it is REALLY GOOD, I asked myself if it is even doable to make my own kombucha.

So I started my research on how to make a bottle of kombucha. I ended up being mesmerized by terms like culture and yeasts and bacteria and probiotics..

This leads me to start looking for the first and only thing that is important when making kombucha at home: SCOBY.

WHAT DO I NEED TO START KOMBUCHA BREWING?

So here are the items that you need to actually start your brewing process:

  1. Your SCOBY
  2. Container for your continuous brew
  3. Container for your Scoby hotel
  4. Tight cap locked bottles for your second fermentation

Below are images on what these items look like:

SCOBY is your symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. It’s composed of that alien-looking thing and the starter tea liquid it is floating on.

My mother SCOBY

When I started my journey, I had no idea if kombucha brewing is a thing here in Cebu. So what I did was to actually do a post on Facebook to ask for leads on suppliers for scoby to make kombucha.

I received a lot of tags and recommendations to friends and people around Cebu but what matched was Francis, a friend from the startup community. He informed me that his wife, Mei Jenevivu on Facebook, was actually brewing too.

So we connected and I asked her the million questions I had about brewing kombucha and she was kind enough to actually send me a SCOBY!! This prospect made me so excited so I pushed through with the next step before I actually received the SCOBY – to prepare my equipment to use and materials, too.

The next batch of items you need are your equipment and materials. Here below I have my brewing kit: a continuous brew container and a scoby hotel.

The continuous brew container is your main container for your brew and where you will watch your kombucha ferment in full splendor. You can look for glass container with spigot at stores like SM Stores or in Daiso. One note for the rest of your equipment – use only either glass or stainless steel. You don’t want your acidic brew to stain through plastics that you might want to use so choose your equipment with care.

The SCOBY hotel is your container for any scoby you leave behind from your previous fermentation. This is important to use especially when you are making your next brew and have to place the mother SCOBY somewhere along with the fermented liquid you made.

Continuous brew container and scoby hotel

For the next equipment, look for tight cap locked bottles like this one below. I bought my first 3 bottles from Daiso at around P89 each. They have to be able to tightly lock in order for your drink to carbonate. And yes, you want that fizz for a refreshing drink on your second fermentation!

Image may contain: drink

The rest of the equipment you need will be stainless steel measuring cups, a funnel, knife for cutting your fruits, cloth and ties for your brew container.

WHAT IS YOUR KOMBUCHA RECIPE?

My kombucha sensei has been my source of info in doing this and this is the recipe that I followed as follows:

I have made some modifications and experimented on the recipe and here’s what I have noted —

  1. Use ORGANIC – only organic. This goes for your tea, your sugar, and your fruits. I tried regular Lipton and refined sugar and it did not end well! For the tea, I always buy from Healthy Options and for the sugar, I always buy cane sugar from Metro Ayala. These produced a good batch of brew for me.
  2. For two liters of water, I actually use 4 teabags and then 1.5 cups of sugar. I let the teabags steep on freshly boiled water then mix the sugar in.
  3. Wait for your steeped tea to cool before adding it on your brew container. This prevents heating of your vessel which might cause it to break!
  4. When your steeped tea has cooled down, add it on your container then the starter tea. Then cover the top with cloth and tie. I just use a clean good morning towel and a hairtie. To make sure the ants do get in, I also add paper towel before adding the cloth towel.
  5. Follow the fermentation time as noted. Here in the Philippines, four days at room temperature is enough. If you want it to be super SOUR leave it for longer. I don’t think you’d want it that sour.
  6. When ready for your second fermentation, prepare your fruit selection ahead. THIS IS THE FUN PART. You get to experiment what fruit combinations work well and tastes good for you. My favorite has always been pineapple and ginger. It’s the best!
  7. Ginger will always give you good carbonation. Don’t know really why but other brewers find it awesome as well.
  8. Don’t test out your carbonation on your second fermentation. Put it inside the ref after 48 hours and then test. Some mistake doing it early and it causes the bottle to pop. And then you’ll have a spill party.

Here below was my first ever bottled brew after chilling inside the fridge. Definitely made for a great and health drink full of probiotics! 😉

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