Brewing kombucha at home is easy and fun! You might be wondering, just what is kombucha and why would I want to brew it at home? Kombucha is a healthful fermented tea that is often used for medicinal purposes. It is a type of fermented food, where bacteria and/or yeast digest the sugars in a food to create different compounds that are anecdotally thought to support health.
Kombucha is tea and sugar that is fermented using something called a scoby, or a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. The scoby digests the sugar in the tea, creating acetic acid (vinegar) and glucoronic acid, which is one of the components of kombucha that may be responsible for its purported health benefits. Once fermented, kombucha contains multiple species of yeast and bacteria along with active enzymes, amino acids, organic acids, and polyphenols produced by the yeast and bacteria. It can contain a small percentage of alcohol.
Brewing kombucha at home is much less expensive than buying it in the store, supporting goals of self-sufficiency for homesteaders. It is also easy and fun. If you're a do-it-yourselfer, kombucha is a natural fit (as are all fermented foods!). Just set up the brew and let time and the scoby do the work.
In the photo above you see a scoby. Scobies are sometimes called "mother cultures" or "kombucha mushrooms." In order to brew kombucha, you will need to get a scoby. You can grow one from a bottle of commerical kombucha, but ideally, you will get one from a friend or local kombucha brewer. As you make kombucha, more scobies grow, so home or commercial kombucha brewers often have an extra scoby or two around.
You can also buy a scoby online.