Long long ago, when I was around 14-15 years old, I made a lot of kombucha, and even sold kombucha scobys on the internet. I was into building html sites, and selling on ebay. I published a free recipe tutorial and sold the scobys for $10. It was fun and I actually sold quite a few of them. If you know me, you know I love to make and sell things that I love, and I really love Kombucha. Funny thing is, I grew up drinking it fresh and never knew you could bottle it. I remember especially liking it around day 7 when it would become a little bit effervescent, and always tried to get some around then. In recent months, my husband and I have come to appreciate the cases of Brew Dr. Kombucha you can buy at costco. They were selling this amazing Strawberry Lemonade version. Eventually they replaced it with a multi-pack of flavors that included some flavours that we didn’t really care for, which led us to trying some other brands. Basically we have been on the hunt for a replacement. Even Planet organic no longer carries Brew Dr. Kombucha, so I started buying a different brand, which is good, but not as good. We tried a couple of hopped boochas, and LOVED THEM, but the real problem comes down to – we want to drink a lot more of this stuff then we can afford. Having a $3-4 beverage once in a while is justifiable, if not for the pleasure at least for the health benefit, but when I finally sat down to do the math, we would love to drink about 2-3 gallons a week of this stuff… And it runs about $35 dollars a gallon. Whoa!! Now there is somewhere I could save some money. I just need to learn to make some incredible flavours that we can enjoy all the time and learn to bottle them. Day before yesterday, I actually bottled 5 different bottles. It’s supposed to take about 3 days to carbonate. I used saved bottles from purchased kombucha, and started a two new batches last week from a bottle of Brew Dr. and a bottle of GT’s. Both batches turned out great, but slightly different and now I’m just hoping to keep them going and get the bottling thing figured out.
For my base recipe, I used 1 cup sugar to 3 quarts water and 3 TBSP loose leaf Irish Breakfast blend tea. This has to cool down to room temperature before adding the scoby and starter tea and all containers need to be washed with hot water to avoid contact with anything that could introduce mold. It needs to be covered with a cloth or coffee filter and rubber band to keep out fruit flies and mold spores. I use 1 gallon pickle jars and a lemonade jar I have with a spigot for my batches. I do batch method (count 7 days, taste it and if it’s done, drink it or bottle it) as rather than continuous brew (where you add more tea as you empty it, diluting the soured tea with fresh tea and drinking it along the way).
EDIT: This post is not super clear on what should be done for bottling, as this was in the beginning of my bottling days. An updated post will be coming shortly.
Keep an eye out on youtube for videos about my kombucha brewing at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6qtmec60fIX6qOAEQW3PVQ . If you would like to know more in-depth details about the process, I can point you in the right direction. I’ll be updating along the way about my bottling adventures, and which flavors we like. I tried a really great version about a year ago using frozen strawberries and basil. I did not bottle it, but I will be trying some variations of it again.