Ever hear about Kombucha? That weird sounding drink that’s all the rage in health circles? You may have friends that talk about it (usually the yoga types or alternative health types) or you may have seen some articles about it plastered on Facebook.
And if you haven’t heard of it, then it’s time to learn about it. Because drinking Kombucha is a great way to up your probiotic intake, increase your gut health, improve your digestion, and basically better your health. And even better, it’s easy to make, cheap to make, and it tastes pretty fucking good.
Despite how scary the Kombucha SCOBY looks (like some prop ripped straight from the set of Aliens), the drink actually tastes good.
You know what they say: don’t judge a book by its cover. In this case, don’t judge a drink by the lump that looks like an alien fetus sitting inside of it. Yes, that probably is not selling you on why you should drink Kombucha, but really, there’s a lot to love about Kombucha that I will detail in this article and tell you exactly how to make it at home.
Kombucha is a fantastic way to add a healthy, low cost boost to your heath. I actively encourage anyone who wants to improve their health to try it out. Yes, that includes you Muay Thai readers too — Kombucha offers benefits for Muay Thai, even if it’s simply helps up your immune system so you don’t get sick (countering some of the effects that consistent hard training has on lowing your immune system).
If you want to skip my break down of what kombucha is, what’s in it, the nutrient profile and a dissuasion of the benefits and just want to get into HOW TO MAKE KOMBUCHA, then go here to my section about the making of it.
What is Kombucha
Kombucha is basically fermented tea. Fermented tea with a bus load of living probiotics in it.
It basically works like this: you take regular old tea (black, green, oolong, etc), add sugar to it, then throw in a SCOBY (a mushroom looking thing that’s a combination of bacteria and yeast) and you let the mixture sit for anywhere from a week to a month. The SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) eats the sugar in the tea, slowly fermenting the tea.
The result is a delicious and extremely healthy drink called ‘Kombucha‘ (or also just ‘buch’ for the Kombucha fanatics).
Kombucha is not some new passing fad. It’s been around for hundreds and hundreds of years — even thousands of years. The ancient Chinese knew about it and in fact, some of them drank it.
I, in fact, drink it.
A lot of it — about 2-4 cups a day when I have some available. And I drink it not just for the health benefits, but because it tastes pretty damn good as well.
I personally prefer a good batch of Kombucha over any sort of pop, fruit punch, or pure fruit juice. Kombucha, when done right, tastes like an awesome cider / soda, but without all the chemicals, sugar, and added artificial bullshit you find in such drinks.
What is In My Kombucha
Before we talk about the befits of Kombucha or how to actually make the stuff, let’s look at what’s actually inside of it, from a nutrient standpoint.
Once the fermentation starts to occur in the drink — that is, the strain of bacteria starts to digest the sugar and nutrients in the sweat tea, waste products are expelled.
These waste products are highly beneficial to humans and include a large range of enzymes, amino acids, organic acids, and vitamins. Not to mention the actual bacteria and yeast themselves which have a whole range of positive benefits for humans (i.e the probiotics).
Here’s a detailed breakdown of some of the main acids and vitamins found in Kombucha. Many of these do contribute to vital functions of the body (like red blood cell production, immune system functions, etc). While it would be inaccurate to say just because you drink a drink that contains these that you will directly benefit in a certain area of health, certainly HAVING these nutrients available daily may optimize your body’s regulatory functions.
Enzymes / Amino acids / Organic Acids
- Glucuronic acid: This is a detoxifier that can help eliminate toxins found in things like plastics, pesticides, and resins. Glucuronic acid also helps produce glucosamines which the body can use to repair and regenerate damaged cartilage (you may have heard of the supplement Glucosamine). As such, Kombucha may just aid in helping soreness and recovery.
- Lactic Acid: There’s a of lactic acid produced as the by product of fermentation in Kombucha. You can get it from other fermented foods such as Kefir and cultured veggies too, but it’s present in Kombucha. Lactic acid has a lot of proven benefits to the body: it can aid the digestive system, helps to regulate ph levels, it aids in circulation and can prevent constipation.
- Acetic Acid: This can inhibit the spread of harmful bacteria.
- Usnic Acid: This is a naturally occurring antibiotic. It is present in Kombucha.
- Oxalic Acid: Stimulates the product of entry between cells.
- Malic acid: aids in liver detoxification
- Gluconic Acid: helps to break down caprylic acid which benefits people who suffer from yeast infections. Butyric acid: helps product the cellular membranes and with Gcluconic acid, prevents yeast infections.
Includes the following B Vitamins
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): helps prevent weakened immune system
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): can prove beneficial against allergies
- Vitamin B3 (niacin): can aid in healing of skin tissues
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): helps with red blood production and assists in immune system functions
The Benefits of Kombucha: Why You Should Drink It
We’ve given some of the direct nutrient benefits above. But how does this break down in real life? I mean just because you eat vitamins and organic acids, does not mean you are going to necessary directly benefit from such.
The truth is that there are a number of wild claims about Kombucha being the elixir of life, curing you from all manner of ailments and diseases from Cancer to Hair Loss. But many, if not most, of these are simply marketing hype. Kombucha likely does NOT cure most of what the alternative health circles claim. Many studies have not yet shown direct for or against evidence that Kombucha does what it says.
However, though studies have not directly confirmed benefits, there’s a lot of anecdotal wisdom out there about how effective Kombucha can be at boasting some aspects of human health. I’ve personally seen these benefits myself and in other people who drink Kombucha regularly, over and over again. But ultimately, you will have to try Kombucha yourself to decide. Remember, there is a pretty potent nutrient profile in every cup of Kombucha and a serious dose of probiotics — science is JUST starting to study and understand how powerful gut health can be on the overall digestive, immune, and mental health of humans. Probiotics alone are known to greatly improve gut health.
So it’s not a stretch at all to say the Kombucha is a pretty healthy drink, and depending, may provide a serious boost to your gut health.
Here are some benefits that you may see.
Kombucha is packed full of probiotics — beneficial microorganisms that can greatly improve your gut health. You may have heard of probiotics in yogurt — that is live bacteria cultures found in yogurt. Kombucha drink contains many such microorganisms which can improve your health.
Some (but not all) of the positive benefits include:
* can prevent and treat constipation
* improves overall immune system
* aids in digestion
*can help counter IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
There’s a lot more benefits to Kombucha but I won’t go into them here. Suffice to say, there are more. Not all of the claims are true, but I can personally verify that some of them are in fact true.
Kombucha has a flavor reminiscent of cider, wine, or a slightly effervescent fruity drink. The base flavor is tasty on it’s own, but there are virtually an unlimited number of flavors you can make if you brew Kombucha yourself. The sky is the limit when it comes to creating unique and awesome Kombucha tastes. I’ve made some pretty wacky ‘kombuchnations’ myself — and all of them were drinkable.
Kombucha is better than any soda you might drink and far, far healthier.
Kombucha is easy to make, provided you have the SCOBY to start making it with. You can brew it easily with just a couple household ingredients: tea and sugar. Both of which are cheap to buy and even cheaper if you buy them in bulk.
And you can use pretty much everything in your kitchen to brew it: a glass jar, a pot to boil your tea, spoons to mix it, and cloth towels to cover the container, so you don’t need to invest in any fancy equipment. Oh sure, there are some materials like special Kombucha containers, strip heaters, ph testers, and other such items that can make your life easier, but you don’t need them.
You do need to get your hands on a Kombucha SCOBY to make Kombucha — but you can buy one on amazon for 10 to 20 dollars, get one from a friend, or look around in your neighborhood to see if anyone is selling/giving one away.
Once you have a SCOBY and start making Kombucha, it reproduces. As long as you care for it, the SCOBY will last for years.
So really, you can brew up a couple gallons of Kombucha for what comes down to about 2 to 3 dollars. Compare this to buying store-bought Kombucha from a health food store for 5 to 7 bucks a 500 ml bottle, and you can see just how much money you can save making your own Kombucha.
It’s Easy to Make
Along with being cheap to make, Kombucha is easy to make as well. It takes literally 2 minutes to make a batch of it if you’ve got the ingredients assembled. If you don’t, then just about 20 or so minutes at most (and some waiting time for the tea to cool down). Once you combine the ingredients, you just let the jar sit around for a couple weeks, doing nothing at all.
What Kombucha Has Done For Me?
It’s all good to talk about the benefits of Kombucha, but this is something I personally make and drink as part of a healthy diet regimen.
I do Muay Thai, I do weights, and I do a lot of Kombucha.
And I can’t live without all three!
As for my diet, I’ve talked a lot about this already in some of my other health / diet articles. Generally, I eat lots of lean protein, I keep to moderate amounts of carbs, I make fresh juice (juiced in a juicer) out of a combination of leafy greens and fruit, I drink kefir, and I drink a lot homemade kombucha.
I’ve noticed some serious benefits from Kombucha in the 2 years I’ve been drinking it. My brother has and quite a few other people I’ve helped get into Kombucha have as well. So there is no bullshit here (yes, I know there are some wild claims made about Kombucha, and not all of them are true).
1) It makes you go to the bathroom
Look, if you have a problem with constipation, Kombucha is the bees knees. Start drinking this stuff and you’ll have regular bowel movements — lots, and lots of them. If you don’t have a problem with taking a shit, then you won’t care about this. But if you do or have irregular bowel movements, Kombucha will save you. I’ve seen it work effectively on at least 5 or 6 other people I’ve gotten into Kombucha. All of them have told me how effective it has been at um giving them regular bowel movements
2) It Helps Keep Gut Healthy
This has worked wonders for me. I’ve had problems with digestion, stomach pain, and other such the past couple years while living in Thailand. Kombucha helped with this. There have been many times I’ve eaten the SAME food as other people and found out they suffered from food poison while I did not. The difference? I drink Kombucha and it improves your gut health, immunity, digestion, and all that, INCLUDING helping prevent against food poison.
3) Your Stomach Feels Better
Yea, I’ve noticed my stomach just feels a lot better. Perhaps it’s the hordes of probiotics I’ve been introducing to my system from drinking it, but whatever it is, my stomach feels better overall.
Convinced yet? I hope so — because both me and my brother are big fans of Kombucha ourselves and regularly make a fresh batch of it every two weeks.
The awesome thing about Kombucha is that anyone can make it — moms, dads, kids — and once you do, you won’t be able to live without it. It will replace soda pop and other such unhealthy drinks, providing you with a refreshing drink with a serious health kick.
If I can regularly brew Kombucha here in Thailand in a kitchen the size of your bathroom, then you certainly can at home wherever you are.
So if you are sold on the benefits of Kombucha, then let’s talk about how you can start making it on your own.
1. Kombucha SCOBY
You can’t make Kombucha without the SCOBY, so this is the most important ingredient. Get it online (it will be sent to your house) or a friend.
2. Kombucha ‘Starter’
This starter is simply a bit of Kombucha from a Previous Batch ( or .5 cup of white vinegar ). Why do you need this ‘starter’?
Well you need this to give your newly forming Kombucha mix a kick in the right direction; the starter raises the ph level, making the brew unfriendly to bad microorganisms for the first coupledays until the SCOBY starts replicating in the sweat tea, making the mixture unfriendly to bad bacteria.
Get your hands on unflavored organic tea. Green Tea or Black Tea are the most common. If you can, try to get organic. You can generally pick up a box of green leaf tea for under 10 bucks. Or if you are really cheap, a bunch of organic green / black teabags for half this at your local supermarket.
Keep in mind there must be NO extra flavorings added to the tea — extra flavoring will seep into the tea and may damage your sensitive Kombucha SCOBY which is a living organism.
In a pinch, you can use regular old Lipton’s Black tea bags which makes a pretty decent Kombucha (yes, I’ve tried it many times myself).
But I recommend getting your hands on some high quality green or black tea if you can — loose leaf or tea leaves are the best option if possible, though tea bags will work fine too if you are too cheap to get tea leaves or you can’t get a hold of any.
Refined white sugar works fine. Cane sugar works fine too.
Do NOT use brown sugar, maple syrup, agape, molasses, stevia, or anything like this however — you’ll kill your SCOBY since it can’t eat this stuff. Brown sugar may not kill your scoby, but it does NOT do well on brown sugar alone (note, CANE SUGAR is NOT the same as BROWN sugar, which is white sugar with molasses added back after)
We recommend getting organic cane sugar if you can for best results. It’s cheap and you can likely buy it anywhere — so there is no reason why you can’t get a hold of it. But simple refined white sugar will work too without a problem if that’s all you have. And no, white sugar is NOT bad for the SCOBY — that’s what it eats.
5. Glass Jar or Stainless Steel Pot
You need to ferment your Kombucha in a container — about 1 or 2 gallons (you can use half a gallon if you wish, but we recommend making 1 gallon or more batches at a time).
The best choice of material for the jar is a glass. You want glass because glass does not interact with the liquid. You can also use Stainless Steel container. In a pinch you can use FOOD GRADE plastic, though we recommend glass or stainless steel over plastic of any sort, even food grade level plastic.
DO NOT USE:
- non-food grade plastic
- porcelain (non food grade)
This is simply to stir the mix and taste the results while it ferments. Any stainless steel kitchen spoon or simple wooden spoon will work. We don’t recommend using plastic if you can help it.
- Strainer – use to strain your kombucha after it’s finished brewing to remove stuff from it
- Tea Kettle / Tea Container — useful for boiling the water / steeping the tea. But not required
- Tea Infuser / Tea Ball — makes making tea a lot easier since you just put the tea leaves / loose leaf tea inside this, dip into the boiling water, then remove it after a few minutes. No fishing around to remove tea leaves from the water.
- Beaker / Glass Sampler — makes taste testing the Kombucha easy. Completely unnecessary (besides feeling like you are Walter from Breaking Bad)
- 1-2 gallon glass jar with a spigot — makes sampling / drinking your kombucha much easier to do with one of these containers. Get one of you can — they are 20 bucks and great for brewing Kombucha with.
- EZ Cap Bottles — these wine-looking bottles really help you make a much better Second Ferment Kombucha with a lot of fizz / co2 in it. Not required, but if you get into Kombucha in a big way, get them.
How to Make Kombucha Part 2: Making It (The First Ferment)
Now that you have the ingredients, here’s how to combine everything to brew your first batch of Kombucha. We can divide brewing Kombucha into two parts: the first ferment and the, optional, second ferment. This section tells you how to make the first ferment and the next section tells you how to make the second ferment, which is completely optional. If this all sounds confusing, don’t worry — it’s really not.
I’ve listed very detailed instructions below that should explain everything, but there are a lot of topics / questions you may have that can’t be covered in one article that we have on our site.
I recommend you check out the KombuchaHome.com website which has awesome information about making Kombucha and a very detailed How to Make Kombucha guide you can follow if you find yourself confused reading the guide below.
Step 1: Make the Tea
Use a simple pot or kettle to boil water. Aim to make about 1 gallon of tea — so use a container big enough to hold that amount.
Add in your loose leaf tea / tea leaves or tea bags to the boiling tea and let it steep for 5 to 10 minutes. The ratio is about 5 teabags to 1 gallon of sweet tea or 2 tablespoons of loose leaf tea.
Step 2: Add the sugar to the tea
Once your tea is made and you’ve remove the tea leaves / tea bags, add in the sugar. You’ll want to add about 1 cup of sugar per gallon of sweat tea. This is not necessary a fixed ratio — you can use 1.5 to 2 cups if you wish. 1 cup per 1 gallon of tea is the rule of thumb ratio. Once you’ve added the sugar, mix it and let it sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour — just enough to cool off to about room temperature.
When sweat tea is finished, add it to the brewing container. We recommend a 1 gallon glass jar.
Step 3: Add SCOBY into the Container of Sweat Tea
Take your SCOBY and add it to the sweat tea mixture. Simple and easy. But you need to have a living SCOBY first — so if you don’t, you’ve failed in a big way at this point.
Step 4: Add in Kombucha Starter
Put in your Kombucha starter. You’ll want about .5 a cup to 1 cup of kombucha from a previous batch (or the kombucha that CAME with your kombucha scoby if you bought it online). If you don’t have any previous Kombucha, substitute about half a cup of white vinegar. You can also use 1 cup of STORE bought ORGANIC Kombucha as well, but the kombucha must be organic, unflavored and non-pasteurized — otherwise it won’t work.
Adding the starter helps prevent things like: food poison causing bacteria and mold growing on your Kombucha, and other such nasties. So don’t ignore it!
Step 5: Steal Container with Paper Towel or Cloth
Once you have your jar of sweat tea + starter + kombucha SCOBY, place a paper towel over the top of the container or a towel (a clean dish drying towel works fine). Keep it attached to the top of the open container with a rubber brand or hair braid.
Note, you do NOT put a lid on the kombucha — the jar / vessel must have open access to the air. You put a paper towel or cloth over the top to keep out dust / pests but the SCOBY needs oxygen to do it’s magic. So do NOT seal with a lid!
Step 6: Let Kombucha mixture ferment for 10 days to 4 weeks.
Place the container OUT OF THE SUN in a dry place. You will need to let the kombucha mixture sit for about 2 weeks. The ideal temperature is 77 degrees. If it’s below 60 degrees, your Kombucha won’t ferment. If it’s about 70 degrees the process will take longer (a week, maybe two longer). If it’s above 77 degrees, you may have an uneven balance of yeast and bacteria that can throw off the taste. In general, as long as the temperature in the room containing the kombucha brew is between 67 to 85 degrees, you’ll get a good tasting brew. Above or below this range and you may have problems.
You’ll want to TASTE TEST the Kombucha every 3-5 days. It should be sweet, yet a bit tangy (the fermented flavor) when it’s done. The more fermented the brew is, the less sweet it is. Typically, we recommend about 10-14 days on average.
Step 5: Remove the SCOBY when done and make another batch with the SCOBY
When your brew is done (about 2 weeks), remove the SCOBY from the brew and 1-2 cups and use these for the next brew. You’ll need to make another batch right away to put your SCOBY into to keep it alive /healthy.
The rest of the Kombucha is what you will drink. Pour this into another container (glass) and put it into the fridge. You’ll need to keep it cool to ‘stop’ the fermentation. If you simply remove the SCOBY and leave it, the brew will continue to ferment and new SCOBYs will form and the brew will become less sweet. So to ‘preserve’ the taste and halt the fermentation, you’ll need to refrigerate it.
With each new batch of Kombucha, the SCOBY will produce a ‘baby scoby’ at the top of the container. You can peel this off and use this as the new SCOBY (tossing out the old one) or use both mother and baby in your next batch. Eventually, you’ll end up with more SCOBYs then you know what to do with.
You can use the new SCOBYs to produce more Kombucha in more containers as time goes on IF you need more Kombucha.
At this point, you are done. Put the kombucha (minus the SCOBY and starter bit which you need to use to make another fresh batch) in the fridge, and enjoy.
But if you want to add a LOT more flavor to the Kombucha and a lot more FIZZ / Carbonation, then you’ll want to do a Second Ferment, which will take anywhere from 2 days to a full week, depending. Go to the next part to learn how to make a second ferment.
How to Brew Kombucha Part 3: The Second Ferment
Once you’ve made your Kombucha, you can optionally infuse a lot more flavor into the brew. I highly recommend this part because it adds a LOT more flavor to the Kombucha. The second ferment is what takes your Kombucha from simply good tasting to fantastically great tasting. And you can modify the flavor in any direction you wish to come up with some truly outstanding.
You can read this awesome site about how to make a second ferment Kombucha for even more detail if you wish.
Kombucha is healthy enough a drink that you’d probably want to drink it anyway JUST for the health benefits. But add in a lot of awesomeness of flavor, and well, you won’t have any problems drinking it — or convincing other people in your household to drink it.
Lets talk about how do Second Ferment Kombucha.
Step 1: Remove SCOBY from Kombucha Brew
Assuming that you’ve completed Step 2 in the previous section and you’ve just finished your first ferment. At this point, you’ve REMOVED your SCOBY and some starter and used both to create a new currently-brewing batch of Kombucha.
Now you have the kombucha that does NOT have the SCOBY in it. We are going to use THIS for the second ferment.
Step 2: Put the Kombucha Brew into a container
I personally recommend the EZ Cap style bottles (16 oz or 32 oz) which yield a much more fizzy Kombucha than using a regular glass jar. This has something to do with the jar trapping in more CO2 due to the more narrow size of the jar and the lid blocks all leakage (and releases less when you burp it).
However, you can use a regular glass jar as well. In fact, you can use the SAME glass jar that you used to make the Kombucha in the first place, or use a new glass jar.
Likely, you will need to have two glass jars at this point — one for the second ferment and one for the new kombucha brew that you have your SCOBY + starter + new batch of sweat tea in.
Once you have your kombucha in the container (again, just in case you forgot, minus the SCOBY in it), we go to the next step.
Step 3: Add In the Flavorings
This is what adds all that extra flavor to the Kombucha mix. I like to say, this is where the magic happens. It’s also where you can really experiment with the flavors. If you get into Kombucha and start to make it regularly, you’ll likely play around with many ingredients and ingredient combinations.
The key here with the second ferment is to add in something sweet.
Why? Because sugar = more carbonation.
We need MORE sugar to the brew which will help feed the yeast in the SCOBY. More active yeast + more sugar + sealing the container = lots of carbonation in the final brew.
So once we seal the container and block the air flow, this will create an anaerobic environment. In this environment, the YEAST will take over and start eating the sugar, releasing CO2 into the brew. This adds carbonation to the brew and gives it that bubbly flavor that pop / soda / wine / cider has. It also allows the fruit to infuse additional flavor into the Kombucha mix.
The end result is something delicious.
You can use ANY sort of fruit. I suggest you add in about 2 to 3 cups of fresh fruit. Put the fruit into a blender to mash it up or cut it up yourself with a knife into small pieces.
You can also use herbs as well to infuse flavor:
- fresh ginger
- fresh mint leaves
- fresh chili peppers
Dried spice can add another element to the flavor. Here are a few suggestions
You can also use fresh (or canned) fruit juice instead of adding cut up fresh fruit. I prefer fresh fruit — it adds a better flavor, but fruit juice works too.
Combine Fruit + Herbs or Fruit + Spice
- You can mix and match fruit + herbs + spices for even more flavor profiles.
- For example, add in apple + cinnamon + ginger for a powerfully tasty Kombucha
- Ginger makes for one of the best flavors
- Blueberry Mint Kombucha is another win
- Chili Mint Peach Kombucha is something you’ll want to try.
Note: if you don’t add fruit, you won’t get AS sweet a second ferment. The reason is that the yeast will start eating the sugar in the Kombucha. If there is no external sugar source added (i.e. from fresh fruit or fruit juice say), then there is less ‘fuel’ for the yeast to eat. This means less C02 in the mixture. The end result is you won’t have as fizzy a kombucha and since the yeast will eat the existing sugar, your second ferment will be less sweet. Having said that, I do recommend the Ginger Kombucha mix — it’s one of the best tasting.
Step 4: Seal Container with lid and let It Ferment for 2 to 7 days
Once you’ve added the ingredients to the kombucha (fresh fruit, herbs, spices, etc), you’ll want to seal the mixture to block the oxygen.
Unlike the first ferment (Part 2), we will be sealing the top of the container completely, not putting a simple cloth or paper towel over it.
Because we seal it, the CO2 will build up in the container. This means you’ll need to unlatch the lid / open the lid every 2 days to prevent too much pressure from building. This is called ‘BURPING.’
If you do not open the lid every couple days during the second ferment, you risk the jar exploding from the pressure build up.
This is no joke — this actually happened to me a few months ago when I did NOT ‘burp’ the kombucha during a second ferment for 2 days. The jar exploded, throwing glass, fruit, and kombucha all over my kitchen in about a 5 foot radius.
Step 5: Filter out the fruit / ingredients then refrigerate
When the Kombucha has the taste you like, simply put it into the fridge and drink it at will.
Optionally, you can strain the kombucha to remove the spice / fruit from the mixture if you wish. There is nothing wrong with leaving it in the Kombucha, but some people prefer to strain it.
At this point you are done and your Kombucha is ready. Chill it in the fridge and serve at will. If you’ve used the EZ Cap style bottles, then you can just drink your brew from these directly — and it will feel a lot like you are drinking a cider or fruity beer!
So there you go: the MuayThaiPros Guide to Making Your Own Kombucha. So enjoy your Kombucha and experiment with new flavor combinations.
Note that you can check this website out for some of the best kombucha flavors to choose from.
How to Prevent a Bad Batch / Warnings
While making kombucha is easy, there are some warnings you should read to help prevent a bad batch (and to reduce the chances you might get sick from such).
Normally, you won’t have any problems with a bad batch of Kombucha. The reason is that the Kombucha SCOBY creates a friendly culture of bacteria and yeast that’s beneficial to you inside the liquid. The living culture of bacteria and yeast, when brewing in sweet tea, also prevents bad micro organisms from growing in the batch which is why you can leave it out to ferment without worry about getting sick from it.
However, things can go wrong, especially if the SCOBY is not healthy or you don’t use the right ingredients (you don’t add sugar, you forgot to add the right type of tea, you add the SCOBY to hot water that kills it).
Here are a few things to help prevent problems.
Don’t Drink if It Smells Off
Don’t drink your Kombucha if it smells bad or weird. It should be slightly sweet with a tangy taste and a faintly cider /vinegary smell. It should not stink or smell bad.
Don’t Drink if there is Mold on the SCOBY or on top of the brew
It doesn’t happen often, but mold growing on the SCOBY or at the top of the brew is a possibility. It’s only happened to me one time in 2 years, and that’s because I did something stupid when brewing Kombucha. As long as your SCOBY is healthy and you have the proper ingredients added to your brew, you won’t likely have mold. If there is mold, throw everything away — including the SCOBY and current batch.
Don’t Put Your Kombucha By the Garbage, Outside, or by Fruits or Bred
Doing so may cause mold to grow on you Kombucha (always on the surface — mold can’t grow under the liquid). So make sure you keep your Kombucha brewing in nice clean environment, away from the sun and away from anything that could cause mold to leap to your brew.
Use a LIVING SCOBY, not a dehydrated one
Get your hands on a living scoby if you want to brew Kombucha, not one of those dehydrated SCOBYs I see sold online. You could have issues with a dehydrated SCOBY’s health and your Kombucha may taste bad or simply not ferment.
The Final Word on Making Kombucha
So, should you make Kombucha. I absolutely say you should — at the very least try it. Provided you follow the instructions carefully on how to make Kombucha and get yourself a healthy, living SCOBY, you shouldn’t have any issues with making a bad batch or getting sick from drinking your own home made Kombucha.
Though it might seem dodgy making Kombucha and drinking what looks like mushroom pee, it’s actually very healthy and safe to drink.
I’ve been making Kombucha for years, my mother has been making it for years, my entire family makes it, and I’ve helped many, many other people make kombucha with NO issues.
Once you start, you’ll probably want to keep on going making Kombucha. So give it a go.