How To Make Classic Kombucha

If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It: Classic Kombucha Tea Always Delivers

how to make classic kombucha

“The classics are a classic for a reason.” We’ve probably all heard this phrase at one point or another, and we probably all have something that immediately pops in our head as proof of it: Classic Coca-Cola, a Plain Cheeseburger in all of its glorious simplicity, or even just a classy bowl of yogurt and granola. One new addition that should be on all our lists, especially us homebrewers, is the classic, plain Kombucha.

Now don’t get the word “plain” misconstrued – this beautifully balanced beverage is anything but with its diverse flavor profile, natural body-boosting nutrients, and positively propitious probiotics. Simply put, classic, plain Kombucha has been around for thousands of years for a reason, so now it’s time for you to brew a batch and see why!

The key and really only additional ingredient here is Real Sugar. Now you may be asking yourself, “as opposed to what?” Well, real sugar is going to be any fermentable sugar, which includes cane sugar, honey, Fermentaholics invert sugar, or even maple syrup. This Real Sugar is what carbonates the Kombucha during secondary fermentation. For a full list of Real Sugars you can use, check out our article best sugar for kombucha brewing.

So we’ve got our simply superb ingredients ready, but how much? This really depends on your preference, but anywhere from ½ – 1 tsp for each 16 fl oz bottle will work. Just measure your Real Sugar and, using a funnel, add it right to a clean 16 fl oz bottle.

After you’ve added your Real Sugar, it’s time to fill the bottles with kombucha. Fill each bottle up, leaving about 2″ of headspace. Cap the bottles tightly, label your bottles and place them in a warm location for 2-3 days for the secondary fermentation. When you’re happy with the flavor, place the bottles in the refrigerator to halt the fermentation

How to make kombucha in 4 steps

PRIMARY VS SECONDARY FERMENTATION

It’s important to note that brewing homemade kombucha is almost always a two-step fermentation process. Brewing kombucha is only a one-step process for those who prefer an unflavored flat kombucha. Otherwise, the steps consist of a primary fermentation and secondary fermentation.

  1. Primary Fermentation: The primary fermentation is the first step of the kombucha brewing process. This is where your SCOBY transforms regular sweet tea into the tart and slightly sweet kombucha we love. At the end of this stage, you will have finished kombucha, but it will be flat and unflavored. Have you skipped this step? Then check out our guide on making kombucha at home or our guide on making jun kombucha at home. Traditional kombucha is going to yield a bolder brew, while jun kombucha is milder and a bit more tart.
  2. Secondary Fermentation: The secondary fermentation is the step where you bottle, carbonate, and flavor your kombucha by the addition of sugar and flavors. This step is essentially adding a bit of sugar/flavor to each airtight bottle and letting it ferment a little longer, allowing the yeast to carbonate the beverage in an airtight environment naturally. How exactly does this happen? See our post on kombucha secondary fermentation here.

Since this recipe is for the secondary fermentation, to make this recipe, you’ll need to have kombucha that has finished the primary fermentation and ready to bottle.

How to make kombucha

INGREDIENTS

  • Kombucha: You need kombucha that has completed primary fermentation and is ready to bottle and flavor.

  • Real Sugar: We recommend organic cane sugar as our ideal Real Sugar partner for our Kombucha, especially if it is your first batch. It gives a nice benchmark and lets you know your baseline of flavor for when you want to start infusing and following any other one of our delicious recipes, like our Raspberry Lemonade Kombucha.

SECONDARY FERMENTATION PREPARATION

This recipe makes one 16 fluid ounce bottle. For a 1-gallon batch, make 7 16 ounce bottles of kombucha or times the ingredients by 7. Before beginning this recipe, you will want to:

  1. Reserve 12 – 16 fluid ounces of kombucha and your pellicle from your completed primary fermentation and set aside. It’s best to pour from the top of the brew jar as the bottom will have a much higher yeast concentration. You will use this as your starter for your next gallon batch of kombucha.
  2. With your kombucha starter tea and SCOBY placed aside, you will now have enough kombucha left to make seven 16 oz bottles. These bottles are the most popular as they are considered the best bottles for kombucha secondary fermentation, but any other airtight bottles made for carbonation will work.  

Classic, Plain Kombucha Recipe

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Recipe by Fermentaholics Course: Kombucha, Kombucha RecipesCuisine: KombuchaDifficulty: Easy

Servings

1

16 fl oz bottle

Prep time

10

minutes

Second Fermentation

2-10 Days

This Classic kombucha recipe is for one 16 fluid ounce bottle. For a gallon batch, make seven bottles. To scale this recipe to a gallon batch, multiply the ingredients by seven or toggle the serving size up to seven above. Before bottling your kombucha, remove the SCOBY pellicle along with 12-16 ounces of kombucha starter tea from your brew, and reserve for your next batch.

Ingredients

Directions

  • Place clean 16 oz bottle in the sink.
  • Add ½-1 tsp of your Real Sugar to the bottle.
  • Using a funnel, slowly pour kombucha from your brew jar into the bottles, ensuring there is about one inch of headspace left from the top of each bottle. The kombucha may foam up as you pour so be sure to pour carefully.
  • Tightly place caps on each bottle.
  • Keep bottles at room temperature for 2-10 days; it will carbonate faster at higher temperatures and slower when cold.
  • Burp the bottles as necessary to release excess pressure. This is done by removing the cap to allow built-up pressure to escape then placing the cap back on.
  • Chill in the refrigerator once you’re happy with the carbonation levels. You can serve as is and enjoy!

Notes

  • Notes: First-time brewers may find it helpful to substitute a glass bottle for a plastic bottle of equal size. Fill the plastic bottle as directed above, leaving 1-2 inches of empty headspace at the top. This plastic bottle will now be used as a pressure gauge. Once this bottle becomes rock solid, you will know the remaining are ready. This method can help prevent bottle bombs.

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