What the Heck is Kombucha?


What the Heck is Kombucha?

imageI was coaching lacrosse in 2015 for some young girls. I’d get to practice with a groovy glass bottle in my hand filled with water. The 5th and 6th grade girls commented on the cool design and wondered why I filled my water in this glass. Obviously, because I loved the pattern just as much as the kombucha. Hello, do you see my leggings everyday? The bottle came from an old kombucha drink and I told them I was saving these bottles to use for making my own batch of kombucha. “It’s a kombucha bottle,” I simply told them one day.

“Coach Claire, what is Kombucho? Kumbaya? Kambichi?” These were just a few of the names I heard it called over the next few weeks.

I explained to them, it’s a fermented drink, filled with probiotics. Basically, it’s good for cleaning out your gut. Some of them wanted to try it. Most of them thought the particular flavor I had been drinking was absolutely disgusting but when I brought my own, unique flavor they loved it!

The best part, I’ve now got the girls so hooked, they’ve been coming to practice early just to “chill and learn about kombucha making.” You should have seen them when I brought the bag with the SCOBY!

What you’ll need:

1 gallon glass brew jar

Kombucha culture/scoby and 1 cup starter tea (get it from a friend or order the full kit online at www.thekombuchashop.com)

4 tbsp of Yerba Mate (you can also use green tea, black tea or oolong tea)

Organic cane sugar

Reusable cotton tea bag

pH test strips

Temperature gauge

Cotton cover and rubber band


6-7 swing top, glass bottles


  1. In a small pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil then turn off.
  2. Remove from heat. Add tea contents to tea bag.
  3. Add tea bag to pot and let steep for 5-6 minutes.
  4. Remove tea bag and discard the tea. Rinse bag and air dry for next use.
  5. Add 1 cup organic sugar to pot and stir.
  6. Pour sweet tea mixture into the brew jar once the sugar has dissolved.
  7. Fill the jar with cold, filtered water, leaving 4 inches of space at the top.
  8. Tape your temperature gauge to the side of the jar. Your solution should be between 68 and 88 degrees F. The ideal temperature for your mixture is 76 degrees F.
  9. Add the kombucha starter tea and culture/SCOBY slowly into your jar. You can use clean hands to place the kombucha culture/SCOBY.
  10. Stir once then test the pH level according to the directions on the pH packet. It should read 4.5 or less. If it does not, you can add 1 tbsp of white vinegar to the mix and retest.
  11. Cover with the cotton cloth and use the rubber band to hold to secure the cloth.
  12. Place your jar in a warm place out of direct sunlight and with lots of airflow. Leave it there for at least 7 days and do not move it. If your house is cold, you can place a small towel underneath to keep it warm.
  13. After 7 days, you will see a new, cream colored layer growing on the surface. This is your new SCOBY. Use the straw to taste the brew. Place your finger on the top of the straw then gently dip the straw into the mixture. Be careful not to disturb the scoby too much. Taste the brew!
  14. If it is too sweet, put the cloth back on and continue brewing for a few more days. If it is too tart, try brewing the next batch for fewer days.
  15. Check to make sure the pH level is between 2.5 and 3.6!
  16. Now it’s time to bottle. With clean hands, reach into your jar and remove the SCOBY. Place them in a glass container with at least one cup of kombucha. This will be used as your starter tea for the next brew! Cover with the cotton cloth and rubber band.
  17. Fill your swing top bottles with the kombucha and place in a warm, dark place. If you are re-using store bought, screw on bottles, add a piece of parchment paper underneath the lid to keep air out. You can add fruit to each bottle to give it a little flavor. Click here for recipes!
  18. After 4-6 days, your kombucha should be ready! Place it in the fridge and enjoy!

For more tips on brewing, click here.

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