I'm a chocolate-loving nutritionist,
pre & postnatal coach, doula and let's face it- total birth nerd 🤓.
I'm here to help you cut through mommy-marketing and pinterest perfection to confidently cultivate a pregnancy and postpartum experience you totally love.
Do you home brew? I know everyone is on a sourdough kick around here, but I’m rekindling my love of a different fermentation: kombucha! Brewing homemade kombucha is easier than it seems, saves a boatload of money and is a healthy way to introduce delicious probiotics into your diet. If you’re ready to start brewing at home, here is your easy guide to home brew kombucha.
Kombucha is a fermented, probiotic rich drink made from tea, sugar, and a culture called SCOBY. SCOBY is an acronym for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. This is what makes the fermentation process possible!Jump to Recipe
Kombucha is considered generally safe to consume during pregnancy. It is a great source of gut-loving probiotics and can support healthy blood sugar regulation. The fermentation process reduces the amount of caffeine left in the drink. Alcohol content, one of the biggest concerns for pregnant and breastfeeding parents, is minimal in home-brewed kombucha.
The SCOBY needs sugar for the fermentation process. Most of the sugar used in brewing is consumed by the SCOBY.
Organic white sugar gives the best taste for the Kombucha and provides the most consistent brew. The yeast easily converts the sugar into ethanol (step 1 of the fermentation process). Then the bacteria convert the ethanol into healthy acids.
Other types of sugar like coconut palm sugar, turbinado or brown sugar have a higher mineral content, which is awesome, but will make your brew sour more quickly. Taste test often and adjust your brew time.
You can also use molasses or REAL maple syrup. These have very bold flavors and are best used in combination with other sugars.
Steer clear of artificial sugars and honey when brewing kombucha. Artificial sweeteners or stevia aren’t fermentable by the SCOBY. You can always add stevia during your secondary ferment if you like a sweeter brew. Honey isn’t ideal with kombucha because of it antibacterial properties. It will make your SCOBY sad. There are other fermented drinks like mead and jun that specifically use honey and the fermenting culture is designed to withstand that.
No, you must use CAFFEINATED tea. The SCOBY needs that caffeine like a college student during finals week. Black tea has a high caffeine content that provides a really consistent brew. You can also use green tea or white tea. Herbal teas won’t ferment.
Avoid using flavored teas like earl gray or chai for your initial ferment. The oils in these teas may interfere with your SCOBY’s work. If you want chai flavored kombucha, add a chai tea bag during the secondary ferment.
Kombucha needs to brew for 9-14 days. The actual time will depend on weather conditions, how warm your house is, and how motivated your scoby is. You can leave it for as long as 30 days, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Kombucha brews faster in the summer and much slower in the winter.
You’ll know your brew is done when a new SCOBY has formed or it no longer tastes like sweet tea
If you haven’t noticed a new scoby, or new growth after 10 days or so, look for mold and give the kombucha a taste. Is it super sweet still? It needs more time. Is it starting to get tart? You’re there!
That’s your new SCOBY. With each batch, as the brew ferments, a new SCOBY is born. You can name it if you like! Gift your SCOBY babes to another home-brew curious friend.
Almost all Kombucha mold is:
Your scoby may just look funny! To the untrained eye, odd looking formations can seem startling at first, but over time, they become the familiar process of new SCOBY growth. This is why I instruct newbies not to look at or disturb their Kombucha for at least 7 days.
If you do find mold, you need to toss the whole batch, including your SCOBY.
After your kombucha has gone through the initial ferment, remove the SCOBYs and a cup of liquid from the batch. At this point you can either bottle the kombucha and drink it or allow it to go through a secondary ferment. The secondary ferment is where the kombucha becomes effervescent. Home brew kombucha is rarely as carbonated as soda or some of the more commercial brands you’ll find at the store. And you’ll notice it will vary batch to batch.
Seal jar with airtight lid or transfer to pop top bottles, and allow to sit on counter sealed for 3-4 days. This is your opportunity to add any flavors. Grated ginger, fresh fruit, and herbs are all tasty additions.
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