Here’s all you need to begin brewing your own kombucha at home — for a few cents a pint vs. the $3.00 to $5.00 cost of store-bought ‘booch. There’s the option of purchasing a starter kit, or buying individual items. You can also choose to go with the batch or continuous brew methods. To learn all you need to know, start by reading Hannah Crum’s excellent book. Note that these are Amazon Affiliate links and clicking through to purchase helps support Booch News.
Books & How-To
Hannah Crum lists everything you need to know about brewing your own kombucha. If you only buy one book about kombucha, this is the one. Hannah owns the Kombucha Kamp — your one-stop shop for literally EVERYTHING the home brewer needs.
Ways to flavor and drink your ‘booch.
The Noma Guide to Fermentation – $17.49
Written by chefs at Noma in Copenhagen, four times recognized as the world’s best by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Featuring hundreds of time-lapse photos of every recipe offer you a reference to check against during each phase of your ferment’s progress. This book will walk you through how to use any equipment you might need, even providing a visual guide for building a fermentation chamber at home. Learn how to best utilize simple tools like canning jars, fermentation weights, and pH meters to yield the most accurate and delicious results.
You Brew Kombucha – YouTube Series
Get Kombucha Continuous Brew Kit Premium System (8-gallons) – $399.00
Get Kombucha Basic System (4-gallons) – $199
The Premium kit includes a 2.5 Gallon Porcelain Brewing Vessel w/ Handcrafted Wood Brewer Stand, 2 HUGE Organic Kombucha SCOBY Cultures w/ Free Starter Mother Liquid, Organic Whole Leaf Tea Blend and Sugar, Bottles For Flavoring, Digital pH Tester, Heater Mat, All 4 Tinctures (extract, probiotic , tonic & facial toner), Boosters for Flavor, Energy, Digestion, Weight Loss, Health and Happiness, Recipe Guides.
The deluxe kit has every single thing you need to both home brew AND bottle your own kombucha. The kit includes a SCOBY + starter liquid, 1-gallon brew jar & accessories, organic ingredients for your first batch, a 3 month supply of our delicious, fair trade, organic black tea, our 3 Step Brew & Bottle Guide PLUS your choice of glass bottles (3×32 oz or 6x16oz).
The Kombucha Shop Brewing Kit – $44.95 (standard) $74.95 (Deluxe)
As seen on ABC’s Shark Tank. This is the kit that has helped hundreds of thousands of people become kombucha home brewers. Including only 100% organic ingredients, you’ll have everything you need to start brewing. Includes Glass Brew Jar, Organic Kombucha Loose Leaf Tea, Temperature Gauge, Organic Sugar and more. The Deluxe kit adds six swing top bottles + bendable bottle brush + stainless steel funnel and strainer set.
Everything you need except the jar and water to make kombucha at home. Included: a live SCOBY with starter tea; recipe book and online resources with additional recipes and FAQ’s; Organic Black Tea, Organic Cane Sugar.
GetKombucha Starter SCOBY – $29.90
A 6″ diameter SCOBY from largest Kombucha Culture Supplier in N. America. GetKombucha has a library of videos that explain how to brew.
Each kombucha SCOBY is approximately 3″ in diameter and about 1/4″ thick. This culture is great for small or large vessels.
Kombucha Scoby – $5.99
Another source for your first SCOBY. You get one 2″ to 3.5″ SCOBY between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick plus a generous amount of starter tea.
Ideal for the continuous brewer. I use five of these puppies at home and decant 3+ gallons a week.
Three 2-gallon glass jars for the batch brewer. These are similar to those used by Health-Ade Kombucha founder Daina Trout when she started out, and now uses hundreds of thousands.
Recommended by Kombucha Kev for home brewers who wish to scale up to fill 5-gal kegs and have starter liquid for next batch.
Sticks to the outside of the brewing vessel to read the temperature.
Brix Refractometer – $18.99
Measures the sugar in homemade Kombucha to know when to stop the first fermentation and how much sweetener to add to the second fermentation. Readings taken pre- and post-fermentation give a rate of change that helps determine the approximate potential alcohol content.
Specific Gravity Hydrometer Test Kit – $29.99
By using this hydrometer before and after fermentation you can easily calculate the alcohol by volume of the finished product. This kit includes a N.I.S.T. Traceable Triple Scale Hydrometer and & test jar.
** NOTE: Neither the Refractometer or the Hydrometer give completely accurate readings due to the much lower alcohol content of kombucha compared to beers and wines. However, for the home brewer curious about the ABV of their ‘booch they are better than ‘flying blind’. A full discussion of the topic addressing the challenges commercial kombucha companies face is found on this KBI page.
Milwaukee pH Tester – $23.95
A properly brewed batch of kombucha measures between 2.5 – 3.5 pH. The lower the pH, the more tart the kombucha will taste. When you start home brewing use the pH test to determine a value that tastes right to your palate and then match the taste you prefer to the pH value to determine the optimum brewing time.
Use a sachet to periodically calibrate the meter.
Ideal for cooler locations to keep the brew at the right temperature. Includes a thermometer.
Also available in a larger 48″ height.
A heating strip for anyone using larger containers.
Mechanical Timer – $3.95
Plug the heating strip into this and control when it comes on/off. Less in summer, more in winter. If you have multiple brewing containers connect a power strip to the timer with the heaters plugged in.
Holds your loose teas as they steep.
A sampler assortment of six blends. Creates approx 12-15 gallons.
8 oz of loose leaf Green & Black Tea. Makes approx 22 gallons.
I use three parts of this premium green tea in a 3:2:1 ratio with black and rooibos for my home brew.
Two parts of this strong black tea make up my 3:2:1 ratio.
One part of this makes up the final part of my tea mix.
Connoisseurs will have noticed there’s a trend away from the ubiquitous ginger/hibiscus/mango flavored kombucha brewed with a blend of teas. Select companies are brewing with premium teas. These focus on the complexity of flavor of the tea itself, rather than added fruit or flowers. These infusions are ideal when paired with a wide variety of different foods. These three selections are based on those sold by UK-based Real Kombucha. They should appeal to the more experienced home brewer.
Anyone wanting to brew premium, unflavored, ‘booch along the lines of Real Kombucha Smoke House should experiment with this tea for its molasses-like sweetness.
Dajeeling First Flush Black Tea 16oz – $38.99
Choose the ‘champagne of teas’ to brew an unflavored variety along the lines of Real Kombucha’s Royal Flush. This biodynamic Makaibari first flush offers the fruity, floral, slightly green flavor of springtime, backed by moderate tannins and hints of malt. Unlike most other great Darjeelings, it has the characteristic Makaibari flavor profile—a majestic, sweet, mineral-rich earthiness.
The Tao of Tea Dragonwell, 1-Pound – $41.09
If you’re intrigued by Real Kombucha’s Dry Dragon pick up a pound of this hand-crafted green tea. Grown near the famed West Lake in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, Dragonwell has been an honored tea since the Tang Dynasty. Organic tea leaves are hand plucked, then roasted in small woks. The precise hand movements of the tea maker give the leaves their flat shape and shiny, jade green appearance.
Kombucha Flavoring Assortment Pack – $25.00
A pack of nine unique flavor extracts to add to ‘booch, which, unlike fruit juice, avoids adding unnecessary sugar. Try Ginger Mandrake, Caledonia Cucumber, and more.
Organic Dried Lavender Flowers – $18.11
One of my favorite flavorings. Add a tablespoon or two to each gallon of plain ‘booch and let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Strain & serve.
Organic Egyptian Hibiscus Flowers – $22.16
Another favorite flavor. A small tablespoon will flavor a gallon. Add summer fruits for a great mix.
Organic Burdock Root – $11.22
Dandelion & Burdock is a uniquely English soda flavor. (Americans have Sarsaparilla, right?). I love adding a heaped tablespoon of Burdock root to my plain ‘booch — it smooths out the rough edges if the brew is a little too tart.