* Please note that this blog remains up as a resource. However, this blog is currently on hiatus until further notice. For more information, please read this blog post. Thank you and happy kombucha brewing, drinking, and SCOBY trading! Lots of love. ~Annabelle *

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Upcoming Kombucha Demonstration in Brookline

The information about my next kombucha demo is provided below. However, due to limited capacity, RSVP is required on the Urban Homsteaders' League Meetup Page here. (You will need to join the group, but you can always leave the group after the demo).

Thanks, and hope to see you there!

Kombucha Demo

Date: Monday, December 13, 2010
Time: 7-8 pm

TBA, in Brookline, MA. Nearby T stops: Harvard Avenue Station stop on the B (green) line, Coolidge Corner stop on the C (green) line
The exact location of the workshop will be e-mailed to participants the night before the event.
Cost: Sliding scale, $15-$30
Kombucha is a fermented tea traced back to Chinese origins to around 220 B.C. Numerous health benefits have been attributed to kombucha, including curing cancer, reducing blood pressure, boosting the immune system, and aiding digestion. Kombucha is also said to have probiotics and detoxifying effects.
Brewing kombucha is quite easy to do at home, and it's fun! Annabelle Ho, author of the blog Kombucha Fuel, will demonstrate and explain the basics of brewing and bottling kombucha. Topics to be covered include required materials, the traditional and continuous brewing methods, how to grow your own kombucha mushroom, and more.
Samples of home-brewed kombucha tea will be available to taste. SCOBYs will also be available for individuals to take home. For those interested in adopting a kombucha mushroom, bringing a clean, glass pint jar would help to facilitate distribution.
For more information on kombucha and how to brew it, visit http://www.kombuchafuel.com.
Annabelle Ho is the author of Kombucha Fuel and has been brewing kombucha for over two years. She is currently an undergraduate student studying nutrition in Boston and is the president of Slow Food BU. Annabelle’s interests include herbalism, gardening, agriculture, and biking.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Simple Brewing and Bottling Instructions

These are my simple brewing instructions that I provided at my demo earlier this year for the Urban Homesteaders' League Market Stand. In addition, I've included my simple bottling instructions. More detailed brewing instructions can be found here, and more detailed bottling instructions are here. In addition, this is a link to a post where I list/link to several other kombucha recipes for more perspective and additional information. There is no recipe that's "right." Every brewer has his or her own style and favorite recipe, so adapt the recipe to what works for you!

My next Kombucha Brewing Demo will be sometime in December. Stay tuned for details, and happy brewing!


Note: It is recommended to clean the equipment with white distilled vinegar, because of soap’s antibacterial properties, which may harm the bacteria in the SCOBY.


  • 1 kombucha culture (also known as a kombucha mother or a SCOBY)
  • 2 black or green tea bags (or around 1 tsp. loose leaf tea) per quart water
  • ¼ cup (50 g) sugar per quart water
  • ½ cup (4 fl. oz) starter tea per quart water
  • Water
  • 1 glass jar
  • 1 pot to boil the water (such as stainless steel, don’t use aluminum)
  • 1 clean cloth or paper towel
  • 1 rubber band


1. Boil the water.

2. Add the tea and allow it to steep for 15 minutes.

3. Remove the tea bags/tea leaves.

4. Add the sugar and stir until it all dissolves.

5. Let the sweet tea solution cool down to room temperature (hot temperatures can kill the SCOBY).

6. Pour the sweet tea solution into the brewing container.

7. Add the starter tea into the brewing container and stir it so that it’s evenly distributed throughout the solution.

8. Add the SCOBY that is also at room temperature (it’s ok if it floats or sinks).

9. Cover the container with the clean cloth and secure it with a rubber band.

10. Put your brewing vessel in a quiet, undisturbed spot.

a. With each brewing cycle, a new baby mushroom typically forms.

b. SCOBYs like warm temperatures and the brewing vessel shouldn’t be moved during the fermentation process, because movement will disrupt the formation of the new SCOBY.

c. SCOBYs prefer warm temperatures and brewing between 75-85 F is ideal, 68-85 F is ok.

11. Leave the tea to ferment for 6-14 days (kombucha ferments more quickly in warmer temperatures, so the 6-14 days is just a guideline).

12. Your kombucha tea is done! (Signs include an apple cider vinegar aroma or taste. Taste is the best indicator; it should taste similar to a slighty fizzy version of apple cider vinegar).

13. Set aside a SCOBY and some kombucha as starter tea for your next brew.

14. Drink your kombucha tea as is and store the extra in the fridge, or consider letting your kombucha undergo a second fermentation in the bottling process.

Tip: When first learning how to brew, it is recommended to brew smaller batches (1-2 quarts). Once you get the hang of it and the kombucha mother has produced new SCOBYs, you can brew larger quantities.




  • Kombucha
  • Bottles and caps
  • Bottle capper (if you are bottling your kombucha in beer bottles)
  • Optional: small pieces of cut up fruit, ginger, herbs, or jams to add flavors to your kombucha. The possibilities are endless!


  1. Optional: Add some flavors to your brew by adding little pieces of cut up fruit, ginger, herbs, or jam to your bottles. Smaller pieces are better because they give the yeast more surface area to act on.
  2. Fill your bottle(s).
    1. I typically leave around 1.5 inches of headroom for a 12 oz beer bottle.
  3. Cap your bottle(s).
  4. Leave your bottle(s) out at room temperature for 1-2 days, or for week(s).
  5. Fill your bottle(s).
    1. The kombucha is undergoing a secondary fermentation, which can produce more fizz in the kombucha. The secondary fermentation is also a good opportunity to add different flavors to your brew.
    2. Kombucha ferments more quickly at higher temperatures.
    3. Typically when I have a batch I try one bottle after a few days, and decide whether the rest of the bottles are ready to refrigerate or require more time to ferment.
    4. *PLEASE NOTE* if you leave your bottles out for too long, they may explode due to the buildup of carbon dioxide.
  6. Refrigerate the kombucha.
    1. Refrigerating the kombucha will cause the yeast and bacteria to go dormant. Fermentation isn't completely stopped, but is slowed significantly.
  7. Enjoy and drink your kombucha!

Where to shop: The Modern Homebrew Emporium is great for brewing supplies of any kind. Location: 2304 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140, T: (614) 498-0400.