a guide to brewing your own kombucha

a guide to brewing your own kombucha


1ST FERMENTATION ( ~ 7-12 days)

The fermentation process of sweet tea turning into Kombucha through the starter tea and SCOBY. Kombucha after 1F is unflavoured and mostly uncarbonated. 

2ND FERMENTATION ( ~ 2-4 days)

2F is where you can flavour your Kombucha and create carbonation. 



1. Boil tap water. This is an essential step to remove any impurities that may interfere with your brew (and do not use mineral water!).

2. Steep the tea for 30 minutes. This is dependent on the type of tea you prefer to use (i.e. less time for black tea and more time for green tea). You want to achieve a strong and fragrant tea brew, without it tasting bitter. If it is too bitter, brew at a lower temperature or use better quality loose tea leaves.

3. Remove tea leaves and measure the remaining volume of tea, ensuring that it is 2L (top up with water if necessary). Then stir in the sugar.

4. Wait for the sweet tea to cool completely to room temperature, and transfer it to a jar. This process of cooling will take around 4 to 5 hours, or more.

5. Once the sweet tea has cooled, gently stir in 320ml of starter tea. The excess starter tea can be put into another jar to start your SCOBY hotel!

6. Add in the SCOBY, and cover with a kitchen cloth or paper towel. Secure the cover on tightly with a rubberband to ensure that no flies or ants can get into the brew. Do not use a cheesecloth as the weave is too large.

7. Place the jar in the coolest area of your home.

For our tropical climates, the best option is the living room! The ambient temperature should be around 26-29 degrees celsius. It’s OK for some temperature fluctuations from air-conditioning. Some sunlight (but not direct) is OK too for your brewing jar. But do not place the jar in areas with strong smells, as the brew will absorb those smells. This also includes cupboards - your brewing jar requires ventilation to breathe and ferment.

8. It is important not to touch or move the jar for the first 7 days.

On Day 8, you can start to taste the doneness of your brew by gently nudging your SCOBY aside, and using a spoon to scoop out the Kombucha. If the brew tastes quite sweet, let it continue to ferment, and subsequently do a daily taste test. The Kombucha is ready when it tastes tangy, fizzy, slightly sweet, and pleasant to the tongue. Brew for a minimum of 8 days for probiotic cultures to develop. The maximum concentration of probiotics develops from days 10 - 14.

9. Keep 400ml of Kombucha from the top part of the jar for your SCOBY hotel! This is where the bacteria concentration is strongest. A new baby SCOBY would have also formed - and you can add it into your hotel!



This infusion method is somewhat more convenient, and allows for a more subtle flavour to develop. The longer the time of infusion, the stronger the flavour. When embarking on 2F, it is important to consider if the flavour of the fruit ferments well. e.g. Longan and Mangosteen ferment very well and develop a more complex form of their original flavour. Whereas bananas and papayas taste kind of funky.

1. Add flavourings directly into the jar. 

This can either be fresh or dry (e.g dried rose petals/ lavender/ frozen diced strawberries/ lemon slices). Cutting the fruits into smaller pieces increases the surface area for better fermentation.

2. Cover the jar, and leave to ferment again for 2-3 days (or longer).

Taste daily to check how the flavour develops.

3. When you are satisfied with your brew, you can bottle it.

You may drink it immediately, or if you wish to carbonate it: add some priming sugar till it is slightly sweet to taste. Then cap it and leave the bottle at room temperature for another 2-3 days.

4. Refrigerate completely before drinking.

If there is insufficient carbonation formed, you can continue to leave it at room temperature again for another 2 days and visually monitor the amount of carbonation formed. After, return to fridge before opening (cold stabilisation). Never open the bottle at room temperature, unless you want a Kombucha fountain!

*For 2F, it is discouraged to use cheap and thin glass bottles as they are not pressure rated and may be prone to explosion. Use only round bottles and not square ones as pressure will concentrate on the corners of square edges.
You may also place the bottles in a covered box during 2F for extra precaution! 

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