Green-Tea Kombucha

Kombucha is a tasty probiotic drink. You can also make this with black tea (but not flavored or decaf tea), fruit juices, and chopped fresh fruit and herbs.

Green Tea Kombucha

There’s a lot of sugar used in the first fermentation, but don’t worry: It’s for the SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) to eat, not you. (This recipes is inspired by Mastering Fermentation, by Mary Karlin,, and; both websites are great sources for starter liquid and SCOBY.)

Hands-on preparation time: 30 minutes

Total preparation time: One to one and a half weeks

Makes 3 quarts

First Fermentation

  • 12 cups filtered water (do not use chlorinated water)
  • 4 to 6 tsp. loose-leaf unflavored, caffeinated green tea in a tea infuser, strainer, or tea bags
  • 1 cup unrefined cane sugar
  • 8 ounces starter liquid
  • 1 SCOBY

Special equipment:

  • 1 gallon-sized glass jar or crock
  • 8-x-8-inch square of cheesecloth
  • Rubber band

Bring 4 cups of the water to a boil, and pour over tea. Add sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Steep the tea for 30 minutes and remove the leaves from the water. Add the remaining 8 cups of water. Cool to room temperature, and add the mixture to your jar or crock. Add the starter liquid and SCOBY. Cover the jar with the cheesecloth and secure with the rubber band. Store in a warm, dark location for seven to 10 days. Taste it every few days to check for the transition from sweetness to sour. When the kombucha tastes similar to your original starter liquid, or more tart than sweet, it is ready to bottle for the second fermentation.

Second Fermentation

  • 2 cups filtered water (do not use chlorinated water)
  • 4 tsp. green tea, in a tea infuser or in four tea bags
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 4 tbs. grated fresh gingerroot
  • 12 cups first-fermentation kombucha

Special equipment:

  • Eight 12-ounce bottles with a tight-fitting cap

Boil 1 cup of the water, and add the tea. Add the sugar, and stir to dissolve. Steep the tea for 10 minutes and remove the leaves from the water. Add the remaining cup of water and allow to cool to 96 degrees F. Add the ginger and pour about 2 ounces of the tea mixture into each bottle. Fill bottles with the first-fermentation kombucha, leaving a 1/2 inch of space at the top of each bottle. Screw on the caps, tightly. Keep sealed bottles in a warm, dark place, such as in a cupboard or closet or any spot where the temperature will stay 65 to 80 degrees F. The warmer your spot, the faster the kombucha will ferment. Every couple of days, open the bottles to “burp” them (this prevents the slim chance that they will explode). When the kombucha has reached its desired fizziness, usually in about five to seven days, it is ready to chill in the refrigerator. Drink within one month.

Food photography by Terry Brennan
Food styling by Betsy Nelson

Food Photography by Terry Brennan; Food Styling by Betsy Nelson

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