Strawberry Ginger Kombucha

Kombucha has arrived! This beverage has gone from the fringes to main stream. It's not just for hippies and weirdos anymore. Everyone is drinking it!

In case you missed the memo, kombucha is a fermented beverage made from tea. Known as the "tea of immortality," it originated in China, but has traditionally been consumed in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Japan, too. Because it is fermented, kombucha contains a very small amount of alcohol. Way less than beer or wine, nothing I even notice, but if you want to avoid all alcohol, kombucha is not for you.

You can purchase kombucha everywhere these days. I treat myself to a single bottle each week from Aldi. Why just a single bottle? Because commercially produced kombucha is not cheap. Aldi carries a few different brands. The prices range from about $2.50-$3. 25 per bottle.

But the ingredients to make kombucha are super cheap: black tea and white sugar. Plus it is so easy to make at home. You simply prepare a quart of sweet tea, let it cool, and combine it with a SCOBY: symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. You can purchase your SCOBY online or get one from a friend who makes kombucha. SCOBYs reproduce like crazy and I am constantly throwing mine in the compost. (If any local friends want one, just ask!)

There are two stages to making delicious kombucha. Stage One: allow the sweetened tea to ferment for about one week in a dark closet or pantry. Stage Two: Add your flavorings, such as fresh fruit, dried fruit, ginger, vanilla, spices, etc. Let your kombucha sit another 1-2 days at room temperature until fizzy.

Measurements do not have to be exact for this recipe to work. I've been making kombucha for many years, and I am not a detail-oriented person! The only way to kill your SCOBY is to leave it unattended for MONTHS until it dries out and/or grows mold. I have varied the amount of sugar from 1/4-1/2 cup per quart of tea. The more sugar you add, the sweeter (DUH!) but less sugar still works fine. (As long as you enjoy drinking vinegar!) You can also double or triple this recipe as needed.

Each SCOBY can be reused several times. New SCOBYs will grow with each new batch. Old SCOBYs can be composted or shared with friends.


1 quart boiling water
2 black tea bags
About 1/3 cup white sugar
1 SCOBY and 1/2 cup kombucha

2 large strawberries, sliced (or more)
1 slice crystallized ginger (or more)

In a large glass jar, pour boiling water over tea bags. Let steep about 5 minutes or until dark. Remove tea bags and add sugar. Let mixture cool to room temperature. Add SCOBY and kombucha to cooled tea. Cover with clean cloth and rubber band. Let sit in dark closet or pantry at room temperature for one week. In 1 or 2 clean glass bottles, place strawberries and ginger. Pour in fermented kombucha. Cap the bottles and let sit at room temperature for another 24-48 hours, until fizzy. Refrigerate before drinking. Store in fridge. Makes one quart.