How to brew your own kombucha

1:20 pm on 4 July 2015

KombuchaJo Bind of Wabi O Kombucha makes kombucha in Christchurch. He showed This Way Up's Simon Morton how it's done.

There are just a few easy steps to follow to make your own delicious kombucha. The 'secret' to good kombucha
is in its main ingredient: tea. Use good quality loose-leaf tea and learn how to brew it. The rest will follow. You'll need at least 1 large jar for your brew. This is ideally a glass jar and a size of 5 litres seems to be ideal for most people since it allows you to brew about 4 litres at a time (remember, the SCOBY, the Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeasts, needs some space in the jar).

Images courtesy of Wabi O Kombucha.


1. Brew the tea. Brew it like you would for drinking it hot! Use 6-10g of tea leaves per 1 litre of water. Steep between 3 and 5 minutes, then strain. Use water at an appropriate temperature for the specific tea (good tea merchants will inform you about the right water temperature for a specific tea).

2. Sweeten the tea while it's hot! Use 50 - 70g of sugar (white or raw organic) per litre of tea.

3. Let the tea cool to a temperature below 32 degrees C. Higher temperatures will kill the culture!

4. Add the inoculant (leftover kombucha from the last brew) and your SCOBY. Use 10% of the total volume of the freshly brewed tea (i.e. use 0.4l of inoculant for 4l of tea). Cover the jar with a cloth to allow it to breathe, keeping bugs and dirt out.

5. Place in a warm place (between 18 and 27 degrees C, the ideal being around 22 degrees) for 7 – 14 days. The resulting brew should be slightly fizzy and a little sour. The duration of fermentation depends on the temperature and your personal preference of strength. The longer you ferment, the stronger (more sour) the kombucha gets.

6. Your kombucha is now ready to drink. You can either drink it as it is or fill it into bottles, close them tightly and store in a warm place for another week. This secondary fermentation creates the effervescence. Afterwards, store the bottles in the fridge to stop fermentation. Don't forget to set some aside to use as an inoculant for your next batch.

7. Start over at point 1. Please note that each brew will give you another SCOBY which forms at the top of your jar. Use this SCOBY to build your own SCOBY factory in a second jar or start another batch with it. Alternatively, give it to your neighbours and friends and spread the love. Enjoy your kombucha adventure!

SCOBY on plate