Kombucha Brewing Starter Kit- What You Need To Know

Kombucha bottlesWant to make your own Kombucha and save money at the same time?

You should consider buying a Kombucha brewing starter kit.

While a bottle of Kombucha can cost you $3-$5 in the store, you can brew your own for as little as $1 for the same quantity.

Keep in mind that the best starter kits are not cheap, but you will eventually get those costs back over time. They can run anywhere from $200-$400 for the large volume kits, while $30-$60 for the smaller kits. Check out one of the most popular Kombucha starter kits on Amazon.

It can take anywhere from 7-30 days to brew depending on the amount of tea and how you prefer its taste. You can then store the Kombucha in the refrigerator for weeks or months.

Advantages to buying a kit:

  • Step by step instructions: If you are a newbie, a kit walks you through the whole process.  You’ll usually get charts, measurements, and more.
  • Everything is included:  Forget having to order SCOBY, tea, jars, pH strips, etc. and piece it all together.   Get everything all in one package.
  • Save money over time: Forget paying $4-$5 a bottle, but instead brew Kombucha in large quantities for as little as $1 for the same amount.
  • Quality ingredients: You will know exactly what goes into your Kombucha by brewing it yourself and can choose every ingredient including the tea.

Disadvantages of the kits:

  • Cost: Usually the high volume kits have a large upfront cost in the hundreds of dollars, which will take time to recover.  However, you can start with a smaller kit if you do not think you will drink Kombucha as often.  You could also buy the individual parts of the kit yourself, but this will take more time and experimentation.
  • Time: It can take 7-30 days to start off your brew, so if you want Kombucha right away, you’ll need to buy a bottle in the store.

Common ingredients in many kits:

  • Large glass jar– This will be your brewing vessel.
  • SCOBY– This stands for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast” and is what gives Kombucha its health benefits.
  • Starter tea– Anytime you make a new batch of Kombucha, you need to add kombucha tea from an older batch.
  • Cane sugar– The SCOBY feeds on this sugar during the brewing process.
  • Tea bags or loose leaf tea– The SCOBY also feeds on the tea leaves.  Black tea is the most commonly used.
  • White cotton cloth with rubber band– Use to cover the top of the glass jar during brewing.
  • pH strips– These strips measure the acidity and are used to determine if the Kombucha is fully fermented.
  • Thermometer– Use this to check the temperature of the Kombucha while it brews.  The ideal temperature is roughly 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit or 24 to 30 degrees Celsius.
  • Extras– filtered water, flip top bottles, strainers, funnels, and wooden spoon.

Keep in mind that every kit is different, so not all of the above ingredients are included.  Some of the most popular makers of brewing kits are Get Kombucha, Kombucha Brooklyn, and the Kombucha Shop.

Basic instructions to make Kombucha:

  1. Boil filtered water with sugar and then steep in tea bags for several minutes.
  2. Remove tea bags.
  3. Let everything cool down in glass jar.
  4. Add SCOBY with starter tea.
  5. Cover glass jar with cloth secured by rubber band.
  6. Let sit for 7 days to brew.

There instructions will vary, but this is the general process. Read the guide with your starter kit for exact instructions.

If you like to see things in action, here is a short video to show you how to make Kombucha with similar ingredients in the kits:

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding Kombucha:

What is Kombucha?
It is a fermented tea consisting of sugar, tea leaves, water, and SCOBY (bacteria and yeast). It originated in China and has been around for over 2000 years.

Where can I buy the brewing starter kits?
Most kits can be purchased online through large retailers like Amazon or directly through the manufacturer’s sites.  Click here to check out a popular kit on Amazon.

Do I need to use caffeinated tea to make Kombucha?
Yes and no.  If you want your SCOBY to last a long time, it requires real tea (made from the Camellia sinensis plant), which contains caffeine. The SCOBY gets its nutrients from sugar and normally from the leaves of the tea. It is highly recommended to use black, green, white, or oolong tea. However, I have read reports from multiple people using Rooibos and other herbal teas to brew their Kombucha. You can use these non-caffeinated teas for the short term, but do not expect your SCOBY to last as long.

How much caffeine is in Kombucha?
The amount of caffeine depends on the type of tea you use to brew. Kombucha is generally considered to have about ⅓ the amount of caffeine as your chosen tea since the SCOBY consumes some of the caffeine.  While black tea might normally have 25-80 mg of caffeine, Kombucha with black tea may only have 8-25 mg of caffeine. Green tea has even less caffeine than black tea, so you could get as low as 2-3 mg of caffeine in the final brew.

Once I receive the starter kit, how long do I have to use the SCOBY?
Many manufacturers recommend to use the SCOBY within a few weeks of the starter kit’s arrival.

Can I reuse the SCOBY?
Yes you can reuse the SCOBY again and again. It will start to grow another SCOBY as you brew your batch. You just need to make sure to keep it healthy.

How long can you keep Kombucha in the fridge?
I’ve read that it can last for weeks or months due to the vinegar, and there really is no expiration besides the yeast and bacteria eventually dying. I would check with the manufacturer of the starter kit to be safe.

What does Kombucha taste like?

Depending on how long you ferment the tea, it can taste fairly mild or have a very strong vinegar flavor. It is naturally carbonated, so tastes fizzy. It can also be flavored with fruits to change its taste.

What are the health benefits of Kombucha?
It is known for its large amount of probiotics, which are good for gut health and digestion, plus also contains many vitamins and antioxidants.

How do you pronounce Kombucha?
It is pronounced kohm-boo-cha.

If you find yourself buying a bottle of Kombucha more than once a week, I would highly recommend buying a brewing starter kit in order to save money in the long run.  It is a great investment in your health and well-being.

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