Dec
17
2010

Kombucha Tea (with YouTube Video)

Chris and I do not buy soft drinks or bottled juices for our family. They’re expensive and, usually, quite unhealthy. Instead, we “home brew” approximately 15 gallons of kombucha tea per week. We drink it like water, so it’s hard to imagine life without kombucha! Here’s how we make it, plus a new video showing you how.

We love kombucha!

The drink has roots from ancient China and is touted as a medical elixir. The results are mostly anecdotal, but it’s difficult to not notice the reduction in the amount of sickness in our family. The winter of 2006-2007, for instance, we suffered through whooping cough and Chris had the flu for an entire month. The next year, other than a few sniffle and sneezes, we have enjoyed a sickness-free home. Like I said, there is nothing but anecdotal evidence on this, but the drink tastes great nonetheless.

Though there aren’t many critics of kombucha, there are a few. An interesting article from the Mayo Clinic refers to reports that kombucha created negative effects in people. Read the article for yourself here. The medical opinion sites improper preparation as the negative effects, not the kombucha itself. Though they lead you away from kombucha, they admit there is no imperial evidence to make the case. As with homemade anything, the risk of contamination exists, so make sure you do your research and make it right.

There are several websites on the Internet that break down the steps to making kombucha. My recipe is unique in that it adds flavored tea. I have encouraged several of my friends to make kombucha, but sometimes they come back and admit that theirs “isn’t as good” as mine. This is usually because flavored tea is not part of the ingredients. Do the flavored tea in the instructions in my Love in the Kitchen cookbook (it’s in Volume 1). If anything, swapping out your favorite flavors gives your kombucha some variety.

We’ve been on a healthy routine of kombucha for about four years now. Cynthia, Lydia, Isaiah, Micah and Now all know how to do the weekly batch of kombucha. We have one cupboard dedicated to all the jars. It’s a weekly reoutine — no more and no less. If we get behind and let the jars ferment for too long, a batch will have too much of a strong vinegar taste. If this happens to you, try it again until you get the desired taste you enjoy.

There are several kombucha recipes out there, but if you follow the recipe in my cookbook, and you shouldn’t go wrong.

I gathered the following links for my cookbook readers to do more adequate research…

Enjoy your kombucha!

About Wendy Jeub

Yes, Wendy Jeub has brought 16 children into the world, and loves each and every one of them. So much so, she'd welcome more!

  • Amy Pederson

    We finally tried kombucha after multiple friends talked to us about their use and the benefits they have seen. We love it! Thanks for this recipe. (The video clip at the end is my favorite.) If it can only sit for 8 days, do you drink all that you made right after it is done sitting? Do you make one a day and drink one a day?

    • Wendy Jeub

      We pour it all off and keep it in the refrigerator. It will still ferment a little but not very much. We drink it over the next 8 days while the next batch is brewing.

  • Abby

    I’ve never heard of it! This will sound incredicbly dumb, does it taste kinda fruity, tangy, sweet?

    • Wendy Jeub

      It is a fizzy tea taste a little tangy.

  • jane

    I have read of the benefits of kombucha, however, I believe the black teas, green teas, herbal teas also have great antioxidant properties and do not take as much time to prepare, what is the benefits of kombucha over a black tea such as Lipton?

    • Wendy Jeub

      Jane-Thanks for asking! It supports digestion, metabolism, immune system, appetite control, weight control, liver function, body alkalinity, anti-aging, cell integrity, healthy skin & hair. It has B vitamins and pro-biotics.

      • Lori

        can it be made with decaf teas? (for the littles to have too)

    • Wendy Jeub

      As for using Decaff tea the answer is no. After your tea brew has sat for 8 days there is no sugar or caffeine left! Those are the things the SCOBY/Starter lives off. It is even safe for a diabetic to drink.

  • E

    Couple of questions
    What do you cover your jars with during the brew process?
    How long do the jars take to cool – and do you cover while cooling to prevent things getting in?
    What temperature do you brew at?
    Does the brew maintain fizz in the bottles you have with the cellophane on?

    • Wendy Jeub

      Great questions from E. You can cover your jar with a coffee filter and secure it with a rubber band if you like. The cooling of the jars with boiling water in them it all depends on the day. On cold days it is shorter. But for most it takes a few hours to cool. When my jars are cooling I lay clean kitchen towels over the tops. Temp to brew is boiling hot. My jars of Kombucha stay fizzy in the fridge when I pour them all off once a week, we just cover them with either a jar lid or plastic wrap.

  • neysha

    Is there a way to make your own starter? Or do you need to buy it? Then when saving your own I noticed you have a little clothy thing?? DO you soak that or how does that work?

    • Wendy Jeub

      Neysha, Great questions! If you want to make some buy the good BRAGGS vinegar with ‘The Mother’ in it and use that for your 4 oz of fresh Kombucha and in 8 days you will have your own homegrown starter!! The first batch will taste very vinegary but you can still drink it. From then on you just use your own. Your starter will look like a tiny thin layer of plastic wrap in your Kombucha. For your next batch just use 4 oz from your fresh brew and your own starter.

  • http://natedavidscott.com Nate

    We just got a kombucha starter and are excited to be making our own. Where did you get the large glass jars?

    • Wendy Jeub

      The glass jars are from Sam’s and used to be filled with pickles. :)

      • Christina

        Ingenious! 😀

  • Wendy Jeub

    There are more tips in my 1st cookbook on Kombucha. “Love In The Kitchen” Vol 1.

  • tereza

    oh, I used to drink that in Brazil!!! For a while we got a starter and we would make that and drink as a health drink. We drank it for health reasons only, because it did not have a very pleasant taste at all. then again, we did not use flavored tea in it. :)

    Today as a Mom, my children drink water daily; juice once a day and NEVER milk with meals. When we eat out, they drink sweet tea or water.

    • Wendy Jeub

      Tereza, Some things come only for a season.

  • neysha

    thank you so much. I imagin it hasany health properties if the starter is outof raw apple cider vinegar. WOW great thanks!

    • Wendy Jeub

      That would be like saying there are no new benefits to drinking red wine. That it is just like eating a raw grape.

  • bernadette lock

    Hi Wendy, was very interested in kombucha tea after reading your article and watching the preparation of it. My question is, i am pregnant with my 5th child and have been either pregnant or breastfeeding for sometime now and was wondering if it is safe to consume during either. As we dont use contraception, except breastfeeding, i dont know of a ‘safe’ period in which to start. Also, at which age do you start your children drinking this wonderful tea.

    • Wendy Jeub

      Hi Bernadette, It really is up to you. I wouldn’t start when PG or early PG anyway. Can you ask a Natural DR or a natural nutritionist? When nursing I do not see a problem at all. I start my kids the same time I would be ok with raw honey and that is about 18 months. Blessings to your family and happy ‘Kombucha’ making!!

  • Tami

    Could you make this with honey or stevia? We are trying to eliminate white sugar, I’m guessing that it feeds the brew, isn’t there for flavor?

    • Wendy Jeub

      Hi Tami, No you need the white sugar in there to ‘feed’ the batch. However, the good news is there isn’t any left when it is completely brewed. It is kinda like wine making. Happy brewing!

  • Janet Kiessling

    Wendy, Hi there – I am very interested in making the tea. Sounds a little scary to make – but I am one of those people who read the directions 50 times & watch the video 50 times – then I’ll make it! But I did have a question about the yeast starter that is in the cookbook? How do you make that? Or do you have to buy it? Let me know. :) Thanks so much for being an inspiritation to my family & I! Janet

    • Wendy Jeub

      Hello Janet, Your best bet is to get one from a friend. If you do not know anyone who is brewing it then you can try this: If you want to make some buy the good BRAGGS vinegar with ‘The Mother’ in it and use that for your 4 oz of fresh Kombucha and in 8 days you will have your own homegrown starter!! The first batch will taste very vinegary but you can still drink it. From then on you just use your own. Your starter will look like a tiny thin layer of plastic wrap in your Kombucha. For your next batch just use 4 oz from your fresh brew and your own starter.

      • Janet Kiessling

        Thank you for getting back to me!:)
        Yes, I do have a way to get the starter for the tea, but it was the yeast culture I had a question about. I watched the video several times. What is the ‘filter’ looking thingy that you put in the steeping tea? Isn’t that the yeast culture? Thank you so much for the videos – I am a viusal mommy/learner – so they are very helpful!!!:) Janet

      • Janet Kiessling

        Hey there – Guess what? I finally got it!!! Btwn my own research & my hubbie reasearching from work – we now see the difference. We were not ‘seeing’ the Kombucha mushroom starter. Not till I looked online as to what they actually were. Sorry – it’s that visual thing – 😉 Now, unfortunately – we don’t have access to any w/o buying one – :(. But, that’s ok! So far the cheapest that we have found is $15 & that’s w/o a shipping cost :). Whew!! We’ll be on our way soon!!!
        Thanks – Janet

  • http://mryogurt.info/ Bill

    We make it in a 2 gallon glass jar we bought at Target for around $10. After the initial batch brewed for several weeks we pulled off a gallon and replaced it with fresh, cool sweet tea. That batch only took 3 days to finish. We have kept it going for over 6 months and learned much since then.

    Some tips: try mixing the raw kombucha with some fruit juice (up to 25%) – we use a combo of cranberry and pomegranate. And then let it sit in a cold place at least a day or two. It will take some of the “bite” out of the kombucha and is really great that way.

    Mix some of the previous batch with the fresh batch also… that also helps take the edge off it.

    We use 4 green tea and 4 black tea bags per gallon.

    Keep the kombucha plain and add flavorings after it is made… that way is safer so you don’t mess up the SCOBY.

    Go easy on the kombucha until your body gets used to it. 4 oz is ok to start and work up – we drink about 12 oz daily.

    Good luck and thanks for providing such great information.

    KOMBUCHA LIVES!

    Bill

    • Wendy Jeub

      HI Bill, great info! However, we have researched it and found that there is no new benefits to brewing it longer then 8 days. All your getting is much strong ‘tasting’ brew. Also, by leaving so much of your previous batch in the jar it will just taste strong for no good reason. Your best bet is to remove the ‘starter’ at 8 days, pour off the whole jar and start a new batch with fresh ‘sweet tea’ and only 4 oz of ‘fresh brewed ‘8 days’ old Kombucha’.

      It will taste better. You can mix it with 100% juice if the taste is still too strong.

      Happy brewing!

      • Wendy Jeub

        I also see that you are using to many tea bags. I use 4 bags for a 3 quart batch, that is all you need. We like to use 4 green tea bags that are flavored, like green pomegranate or green peach. These end up in a very light and lovely flavor at the end of the brewing process.

        Also, we just use the empty 1 gallon pickle jars we get at Sam’s we have found that to be cheaper then buying 1 empty jar.

        It looks like you guys are doing a great job though! Keep up the good work.

      • http://mryogurt.info/ Bill

        Actually, it was only the first batch to get the continuous brewing process going that I waited over a week to start drawing off the kombucha. Now it only takes 3-4 days.

        I have pH strips to determine the acidity and it runs between 3.2 – 3.6 which isn’t too bad.

        I have the same batch I started with 6 months ago going – have had to remove the SCOBY once to reduce it’s size by removing all of the extra layers.

        And I don’t need to use 100% juice as 25% works well. After I add the juice, having it rest a day or sold makes it nice and smooth. Everyone who has tasted it says it is the best they ever tasted.

        Thank you for the feedback – maybe it has helped others to understand what is involved in kombucha making!

        Bill

  • Paula

    Hello Kombucha Fans,
    I tried Kombucha a few months ago. I bought a bottle of it from Whole Foods. It took me two days to finish it but I never really bought another one, so I didn’t get the health benefits. I bought some again yesterday and I drank the whole bottle (about 8-12 oz) as it tasted great. I felt so sleepy that evening, and light headed. I really felt awful. I looked at the bottle and it said because of fermentation, it contins 0.5% alcohol…I guess that is why I felt the way I did. If I make it at home, and drink the same amount, am I going to continue to feel the way I did yesterday?

    • Wendy Jeub

      Hi Paula, You may want to do some further research. Check out this link. http://www.kombucha.org/

      There really is so small an amount of alcohol that it should not matter and yes when you do it at home you see less. However, it will give you a bit of a detoxification. That may cause you to feel the way you did.

      When I first started to drink it I got a slight headache that lasted for 3 days. However, I knew it would pass and that it was just part of the detox process.

      You would probably feel the same way if you tried a 3 day fast.

      Blessings to you!

  • http://mryogurt.info/ Bill

    Thank you for the advice on how many tea bags to use…. and here are my thoughts….

    – I make the tea in one of those machines which will accept multiple tea bags and puts the heated water through them. I keep 6 in the machine at one time, pulling 2 off the top and adding 2 at the bottom so I really am getting all the tea out of each bag.

    – The resulting tea is not all that strong and not at all objectionable. I do not use flavored teas but depend on the fruit juices added later for the flavor.

    – What is great is that the addition of the fruit juices creates a secondary fermentation which results in strong carbonation of the kombucha.

    Again, thank you for your thoughts and advice…

    • Wendy Jeub

      I have never heard of using a machine. But if it works for you great.

      As long as you boil your water and sugar for the 10 mins.

      I get the same response when people taste mine. They say it is the best they have had. :)

      Happy brewing.

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  • Lori

    Hi Wendy: thank you for your very informative blog! I am new to brewing and am enjoying the learning process. We seem to drink our kombucha faster than I can get it ready. Can I double or triple the recipe at once in a larger jar? Or do I need to make multiple jars of 3 quart brews? Thanks!

  • Jeub

    We make 11 gallons at a time. We put 3 quarts or so in each glass jar. Just add Scoby and fresh Kombucha and your good to go. If you have a large enough jar then you can do that too. WJ<

  • Norma020171

    hola, una pregunta, se puede tomar te de kombucha estando embarazada, o amamantando. neceito su repuesta por favor.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KKY5IO5GLLPVMCMQKK4PGQKXZI Norma Camacho

    Necesito saber si puedo tomar el te de kombucha estando embarazada o amamantando. necesito una respuesta.

  • Susan

    Thank you for your website!

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