042 Is kombucha a lot of work?

042 Is kombucha a lot of work?

I set out to make kombucha. And then I got distracted. A few people have wondered just how much work kombucha brewing actually is. So, this time, I show the entire process with you–well, and a lot of the distractions.


You see me making six batches in the video, so I work with a lot more of each ingredient. I also don’t measure out the water but fill up my jars. I included the amount, so you can gauge what jar to use.

  1. Cook tea. Strain tea after about 8 minutes.
  2. Stir in sugar. Cover and set aside.
  3. Forget about the entire tea thing, do other things, and then remember when you want to drink some the next morning. (optional)
  4. Drain old batch (if you have one). Leave at least one scoby and about a cup of liquid in the jar. Each batch will grow a new scoby, so you can separate them to make more batches. I went from one to six by now. Bottle the finished kombucha. You can do a second fermentation now (see video #007) or place them in the fridge as they are.
  5. Let tea cool to a temperature you could comfortably put your hands in at least. I just forget about my tea, so it’s cold when I use it. If you want to speed this up, you can mix in cold water.
  6. Add liquid to your old batch. Fill up with water.

You can use a dish cloth, an old shirt, kitchen paper, or fancy fermentation lids to cover these. Just make sure they are clean when you use them. But don’t overthink it.

Recipe: Kate Hildenbrand; adapted from Fairment.

Good morning! It is Saturday, bright and early, and I’m about to make a new batch of kombucha. And because some of you have asked how much work it actually is, I am going to show you the entire process, tell you how long everything takes, and how I manage to fit it into a busy schedule where I just don’t have the energy to stand in the kitchen for hours at a time. So, let’s get to this.

Making kombucha has become routine, so every step is a lot faster and more efficient than it used to be. The essential thing you are going to need is green tea, black tea, or a combination of both. I do a 50/50 blend, because that’s just been working well for me. So I have 50% of a black tea, 50% of a green tea, just mixed by weight roughly in here.

The second thing you are going to need is some kombucha with a scoby. You’ll see up here, there’s a lot of scoby up there. You can also find scobies with a little bit of liquid on your local market place or make your own. I haven’t made my own, so I don’t know how that works, but technically, you, obviously, can do that, because these things came from somewhere.

You are also going to need some sugar, and there is no way around that. You can technically make kombucha with other sweeteners but it just won’t work. Kombucha likes to eat actual sugar. I have a brown sugar here. There’s a lot of debate if you should be using brown or white. I’ve used both white and brown. It’s a cane sugar, but you can use other sugars. Just make sure it’s actual sugar.

Almost boil some water, add the tea, and let it steep for 8-10 minutes. I use a fine mesh sieve to strain it. A cheese cloth works, too. Squeeze out all the tea to keep the waste minimal.

My tea is cooked, and it’s just sitting there in a bowl. The next thing I am going to do is stir in the sugar while it’s still hot. And then I’m just going to leave it until I have another time frame where I can work on it. This has been overnight before. Don’t fret it. It’s just cold tea.

It does not need to be fully dissolved if you let it sit for a while after. Time will do the rest. And then the distractions started. I “just quickly” made some cheese.

I made a tiny mozzarella, then used the whey to make a heat-processed fresh cheese again. I’m enjoying the process, and am tempted to try aged cheeses. Definitely not yet. I try to master the basics before moving on to the next step.

I will probably never not make a mess in the kitchen. And that’s okay. I always clean up my own mess. A benefit of being an adult, I guess. My mess, my problem. You are old enough to make a mess, because you will be the one cleaning up after yourself.

The day got away from me without a chance to finish the kombucha. Before I knew it, it was time to make dinner. I used the tiny mozzarella. And then I filled up the form with the lumpy fresh cheese. They were both really good again.

Somehow, the list of tasks always grows faster than I can work.

Well, it’s Sunday now, so it’s been another overnight for the tea, but that’s completely fine. I drained what I needed to drink some kombucha this morning and otherwise just left it. So, I’m going to get some bread rolls and some muffins going for later today, and then drain my kombucha.

I’ve been struggling a lot with my bread. I’ll learn later that my starter was the issue. But before I figured that out, I tried a lot of different techniques and recipes. I’m glad I tried them all, but I wish I’d known it wasn’t the problem. Even with a weak starter, they were all edible, all delicious.

Finally, back to the kombucha.

You could do a second fermentation after bottling the liquid. It would make it bubbly.

Try to leave at least one scoby and about a cup of liquid in the jar for the next batch.

I always run out of bottles, so I use jars for the rest. And then, the entire batch goes into the fridge for storage.

Now, all I have to do is split up the tea I made yesterday, and then fill it all up with water. I use a measuring cup but mostly eyeball how much goes into each jar. I also ignore that the jars are not exactly the same volume. It’s all good. This isn’t rocket science. Humans did this long before they had perfect measurements. Just fill up the jars until they are almost full.

That’s it. Now I’ve got my kombucha bottled and in the fridge, the new batch on the shelf, and now I don’t touch it for the next ten-ish days. Right now it takes a little bit longer. In summer, it takes a little bit less long. Then I’ll make another batch of tea, let that sit until I have time for it, drain the rest, pour in the tea-and-sugar mixture, and fill it up with water.

So it really isn’t complicated, and it really doesn’t take long. So it is worth it for me. I don’t know if it would be worth it for anyone else. Because I make such large batches, it does last me a long time. I’m usually drinking the last bottle, right before the next batch is ready.

It’s a routine by now. Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for today. So long, and thanks for being here.