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Kombucha is a type of fermented tea that is a great source of organic acids, B vitamins, and various strains of probiotics and is a wonderful addition to the diet while on the Autoimmune Protocol. You start with a sweetened tea, and over time the starter culture (made of yeasts and bacteria) consumes the sugar and caffeine and turns it into a low-sugar, fizzy probiotic beverage! While it is something that can be purchased at the store (especially now considering it’s exploding popularity), I find it preferable to make at home mostly because it costs cents on the gallon, and saves a lot of glass bottles compared to the store-bought variety. Although there is a little bit of a learning curve, once you get a hang of making your own brew there is no going back!
There are some affordable tools that make brewing kombucha a little easier, although they are not completely necessary. At the very least, you will need a wide-mouth, gallon-size glass container, a sanitized dish towel, as well as a large rubber band to secure it to the top of your container. I’ve been brewing my kombucha using only these few tools for years, and although it takes a little longer and involves a little more guesswork, it is totally do-able. For those who want to experiment less, a seedling mat, thermometer, pH test strips, and some swing-top glass bottles for a secondary ferment are super handy.
You can find a starter culture (called a scoby) at some natural groceries as well as online, but the best source is to find someone you know locally who can give you a “baby” from a successful culture. The scoby looks like an opaque, jello-like glob and should come accompanied by some starter liquid. Once you make your kombucha for the first time, you will end up with an extra scoby to start a double batch or give to a friend!
This recipe uses turmeric and ginger because of their sparky flavor as well as anti-inflammatory properties (note: some people with autoimmunity can be sensitive to turmeric in their diets, read this article to find out more). You can easily come up with your own flavor additions when it comes to the secondary ferment!
- To Brew Kombucha:
- 1 gallon filtered water
- 5 bags of green tea
- 1 cup granulated sugar (don't use honey or agave nectar here)
- 1 kombucha starter culture
- 1 cup starter liquid (this should either come with the starter culture or be from a previous batch)
- 1-gallon glass container
- Cheeseclothor sanitized dish towel
- Large rubber band
- To Bottle-Ferment:
- Swing-top glass bottles or glass jars with tight lids to hold 1 gallon of liquid
- 1 green apple, cut into matchsticks
- 2 tsp fresh grated turmeric (or 1 teaspoon ground dried turmeric)
- 2 tsp fresh grated ginger (or 1 teaspoon ground dried ginger)
- Bring the gallon of water to a boil, turn off heat, and add the tea bags. Steep for 3 minutes and remove.
- Add the sugar and stir to combine. Let cool completely to room temperature.
- When the sweetened tea has cooled, pour it into your gallon container with the starter culture and starter liquid (don't do this before it is cooled, you will kill your culture!). Cover with a cheesecloth or sanitized dish towel and let the jar sit in a dark corner, on a seedling mat if using.
- Depending on the temperature of your room and if you are using a seeding mat or not, your brew will ferment faster or slower. A brew fermenting at 75-80 degrees (which you can use the jar thermometer to monitor) will take about 10 days to get to a pH of 3. If you don't use a seedling mat and it is during the colder months, it could take 2-3 weeks for your brew to get to that point. I like to do a taste test, as well as use the pH strips to see where the brew is at.
- When the taste and pH of the brew are ideal (I like how mine tastes with a pH of 3), pour most of the kombucha, sparing the culture, into bottles and/or jars, leaving a few inches of head space.
- Distribute the apple matchsticks, turmeric, and ginger evenly among the bottles and/or jars. Top off with remaining kombucha, making sure to leave some head space in every bottle for the fermentation to continue.
- Leave the bottles in a dark corner at room temperature (not on the seedling mat) for 3-5 days, making sure to "burp" them daily to release any pressure that has built up. Use caution here--I have certainly sprayed my ceiling with a batch that I forgot about for a couple of days!
- When you like the taste and fizziness of your brew, place them in the refrigerator. This will slow down, but not stop the fermentation process, so consume within 2-3 weeks for most consistent flavor.
What is the pH when the kombucha starts?
That would depend on the pH of the water you use–generally around 6 or 7.
Ph of water is zero
That is incorrect – water is most commonly a ph of 7, but can vary depending on how it was treated in a water treatment facility, for instance.
Specific gravity of water is zero, pH can range from 6 to 8, depending on where you are and the quality of water treatment.
The freezing point of water is zero, specific gravity is around 1.0 depending on its temperature. Let’s see how long we can keep this chain going 🙂
[…] Kombucha is a type of fermented tea that is a great source of organic acids, B vitamins, and various strains of probiotics and is a wonderful addition to the diet while on the Autoimmune Protocol. […]
[…] This is the most basic form of Kombucha brewing I found and it was made even easier because it was a kit. You can buy the kit at The Kombucha Shop or on Amazon (there are more varieties online). If you are really ambitious you can make it on your own without a kit. Micky Trescott has a recipe for it here. […]
where do you buy fresh turmeric?
I sometimes find it at my local natural grocery, but it seems to come and go. You could always put a special request in to see if they can order some for you!
We often find in Asian Markets. It is similar to Galanga (Thai Ginger) and other Gingers. If you can get a rhyzome in good condition its easy to grow but slow. See YouTube Growing Turmeric.
I bought some from Amazon online.
[…] Turmeric Tonic Kombucha – Autoimmune Paleo […]
[…] What are your favorite meals to batch cook? I love batch cooking and have gotten really good at it. A typical batch cooking day includes a roasted whole chicken over veggies, roasted sweet potatoes, coconut yoghurt, bone broth, ferments, tuna salad, salad dressing and kombucha. […]
[…] Turmeric Tonic Kombucha from Autoimmune Paleo […]
After spraying my whole kitchen with half the batch, I poured myself the first glass of this kombucha recipe, and OH MY is it delicious! Easily my favorite, of all the kombucha recipes I have tried. I know of a grocery that carries fresh turmeric in my area, but because I have a lot of it on hand I used dried, as well as dried ginger. I also used a Gala apple, because that was what I had. I did let the second ferment sit on my counter for a couple extra days, which probably explains why it was so carbonated. I like a bubbly kombucha, though. Making it from scratch without a kit and without buying a scoby is so easy I would encourage anyone to try it. If anyone has any questions about starting from scratch, please feel free to send me an email-I’ve done it many times. Thank you for what you do, and for your beautiful cookbook!
I am so sorry to hear about your explosion… yikes! Happy it tasted delicious and hopefully made up for the trouble. I do think it was from the extra second ferment–that can be very powerful!
I would love to know how to brew Kombucha without a scoby or starter kit. Do you have the recipe?
Thanks for your help!
Hi Kate! Unfortunately you need a scoby or starter kit or the recipe won’t work!
Actually, if you buy a bottle of commercial kombucha like Budda’s Brew or any other that is not flavored, you can leave it out at room temperature and it will eventually begin to grow a scoby on top. Also, your recipe here suggests green tea, but scobies really prefer black tea and will eventually die without it, getting weaker with subsequent brews. Green tea uses a different organism to ferment and the drink is called Jung.
Hi Sonii, I’ve heard this but haven’t been able to grow a strong enough scoby to start a new batch (maybe I just need to wait longer?).
Hi, I would beg to disagree, I can’t have tea, green or black tea, so I made my kombucha with rooibos tea, and my skoby is very thick and healthy. The flavour is a bit stronger, next time I will not steap it for so long.
Just wanted to know your recipe for making kombucha at home. Thank you.
This is it!
You mentioned making Kombucha from scratch; I’m very much interested and would appreciate some more information on this topic.
Hi, can u gave the recipe on your making of Kombucha without using kit. Tq
You’ll need to get your hands on a scoby or a starter kit to make kombucha!
I made my own scoby using the sweet tea brew and adding one bottle of GT brand kombucha. I finally “retired” the “mother” scoby after many brewings.
I now have a scoby “hotel” in which I keep the many scobys that have been made. I will be giving them to friends and my granddaughter.
Cool, thanks for sharing!
Hi Im wanting to start a kombucha for my husband who has been diagnosed Level 4 Prostate Cancer and after reading your comments I know that this recipe he will enjoy drinking throughout the day. So look forward to your reply on how to get started.
Wishing you and your husband the best of luck!
I AM INTERESTED IN MAKING A SCOBY WITHOUT A BABY OR A KIT. I USED TO MAKE KOMBUCKA TEA YEARS AGO. WHEN I QUIT I PUT A BABY INTO A CONTAINER AND KEPT IT IN MY FRIDGE. I’M NOT SURE IF IT IS ANY GOOD AFTER ALL THESE YEARS. I WOULD SURE APPRECIATE THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR STARTING A NEW ONE.
WHEN I MADE IT BEFORE I WAS TOLD NOT TO LET THE BABY BE TOUCHED BY A METAL SPOON OF UTENSIL. IS IT STILL NECESSARY TO BE CAUTIOUS WITH METAL?
You can try using your old scoby, or you can purchase one online – I am a fan of kombuchakamp.com. I do think it is important not to use metal utensils, although I have before in a pinch and I didn’t lose my scoby. Good luck!
[…] Fermented Beverages: A small glass of kombucha or beet […]
We have hard water; will that affect the fermentation?
Possibly, you can either try with bottled water, or see how your hard-water ferment goes!
[…] Recipe: Turmeric Tonic Kombucha […]
[…] 1. Turmeric Tonic Kombucha […]
I have 16oz flip top bottles. It’s it a teaspoon of dried tumeric and a teaspoon of ginger per bottle or do I split it up between the bottles? It’s about 8 bottles per gallon of kombucha tea so that would be about a pinch of the tumeric and ginger per bottle. I know I can experiment but I would rather head in the right direction to begin with.
Hi Jay, you want to split up the ginger and turmeric. When I make a batch, I end up with 3 24 ounce bottles because of the liquid evaporation during the ferment and leaving some extra liquid with the scoby for the next round. Hope it helps!
Can you just pour in into another gallon jug and add your spices and apple?
You want to make sure the jug has a top that seals appropriately so that it gets fizzy. I’d be worried with a gallon, you are either going to build up so much pressure it breaks or the seal won’t be strong enough and your second ferment will turn out flat.
[…] Recipe: Turmeric Tonic Kombucha […]
I have heard that adding peppercorns when brewing turmeric tea aids in absorption. Do you think that this would also be the case with Kombucha?
Hi Ronboi, yes there is an element in pepper that is a cofactor for the absorption of turmeric. Unfortunately pepper is not included on the elimination diet so I’ve avoided it in this recipe, but if you find you aren’t sensitive you could try adding some to your brew for a therapeutic benefit!
I’m new to the AIP diet. I’m not quite understanding how Kombucha is allowed when it has sugar. Won’t that irritate the lining of your gut prolonging the healing process?
Hi Kimbo! First, most of the sugar is “eaten” by the scoby when kombucha is being made. Second, sugar is not avoided on AIP nor is it directly a gut irritant. Small amounts, like that used to make kombucha, or cure meats, is fine on the elimination diet. Of course, excess sugar in the diet is problematic, but that isn’t what we are talking about here. Hope it helps!
Hi Mickey! What type of sugar do you use here? Coconut palm sugar? White sugar? Thanks!
Hi Kelly! I use cane sugar.
I really enjoyed making this, and am pleased it turned out quite delicious! Curious, what do you suppose is the added nutritional benefit with the raw ginger and turmeric via second fermentation? I’ve used those herbs in teas, broths, tinctures and straight. But I’d love to know if the fermentation boosts any of their nutritional qualities!
Hi Jessica! I actually don’t know the answer to this question – I just know they are anti-inflammatory, taste good, and make the kombucha nice and fizzy!
Apparently it should… Please refer to https://www.sarahwilson.com/2014/08/fermented-turmeric-tonic/ for a couple of links to some studies that have been conducted on the subject. I haven’t read them in detail, so I can’t vouch for them personally, but it does sound exciting!
[…] Turmeric contains a medicinal compound called curcumin, that is one of the most well-studied herbs in the scientific literature. It has been shown to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, support detoxification, reduce cancer risk, improve brain function, balance blood sugar…the list goes on. There have even been studies showing that it lessens the symptoms of autoimmune disease and can potentially slow down disease progression. However, every study has been done on the supplement curcumin. What about turmeric – the food from which the supplement is made? The problem is that curcumin isn’t very bioavailable. That means that our bodies have a difficult time absorbing it, which is why supplements have been patented with special ingredients that make it bioavailable. So, what can we do to increase its medicinal properties when we use turmeric in cooking? (1) Always eat it with fat – curcumin is fat soluble, not water soluble. (2) Heat the fat. One study showed this increased its bioavailability 12-fold. (3) Add black pepper. There’s a reason traditional recipes combine the two. One study showed it increased absorption by 2000%. Note: black pepper isn't AIP, but it's one of the first foods you can try when you're ready for reintroductions. (4) Ferment it. Fermented foods are magical for many reasons, one of which is their ability to increase the digestibility of foods. So, if you make your own sauerkraut or kombucha, add some grated turmeric to your next batch. Warning: Turmeric is bright yellow, and it stains anything it touches. Wear an apron when you cook with it! (Recipes: Ginger Turmeric Sauerkraut and Turmeric Tonic Kombucha). […]
Hi, I gave a scoby to a friend in a gallon jar of fresh made brew four months ago and it is still sitting in the jug untouched. Would it still be good if I dump the liquid out?
Cindy, at four months I’m not sure how healthy that scoby is. If it were me, I would likely start with a “fresh” one but I know some fermentation folks who would say to evaluate for mold/health and use if it is still good. Unfortunately I’m not super experienced with leaving things long-term and don’t want to make anyone sick!
How much turmeric and ginger you put into 1 jar? 1 tsp of each?
Hi Greg! The recipe above is for 1 gallon of liquid. Depending on how big your jars are to hold that quantity, just divide it up 🙂
I have scoby. Been working with kombutcha for about 3 months. I have a scoby hotel and wouldn’t mind letting go of them if anyone needs.
Is it ok to add turmeric oil instead of root to the Kombucha 2nd ferment?
Hi Lesli, you can try, but I haven’t tried it so I am not sure how it will affect the brew. I think it should be fine, as long as you don’t add too much (sometimes additions can “kill” the mother, but not sure if that would happen in the second stage). At any rate, let us know how it works out if you decide to try it!