Bottling my homemade kombucha. Have a look at those bubbles!
Bottling my homemade kombucha. Have a look at those bubbles!

I feel like this is one of my biggest waste reduction successes. I made kombucha and the whole family loves it! Never in my life had I heard of kombucha, a fermented sugary tea drink, until I started trying to avoid single use packaging.

You see, when you stop accepting waste you have to think about whether you will give up a product, find it somewhere unpackaged, or make it at home (if you can find the ingredients without single use disposable packaging); or as in this case, do some research and discover something completely new to fulfil a need.

The need I’m talking about my friends is bubbles. Yes I love a bit of fizzy drink to guzzle after a long hot day of outdoors work. Water, milk or homemade cordial just doesn’t cut it. I gave up soda water as my choice of thirst quencher, though like chocolate, this wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Some people have suggested I use a soda stream for making soda water at home, but for now I’ve decided against this because it will take up room in my kitchen and I run the risk of my kids and husband going nuts with the syrups which come in plastic bottles. If you were confident you wouldn’t use the syrups this could be a good option for you as Sodastream has a gas cylinder exchange system.

But back to my zero waste homemade kombucha. Wow, what a taste. I literally felt excitement.  Effervescent, tart and sweet, no longer like tea. And it’s meant to be a very healthy drink.

Collecting my kombucha SCOBY
Collecting my kombucha SCOBY

I recommend finding a SCOBY to get you started – I agree, it looks like it belongs in a science room display cabinet. SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast and that’s what transforms the tea. It is possible to grow one yourself but I think you would need a lot of patience. When I collected my SCOBY from the Leongatha Health, Nutrition, and Wholefoods Store they gave me some directions on paper but I needed a little more information. I found this ‘how to’ article on the kitchn website really helpful. In the end I made some modifications such as using my spigot jars for easier decanting into flip-top bottles (I got them secondhand from the opshop) and easier continuous fermentation.

Making the sugary tea.
Making the sugary tea. The teabags have gone into the compost and when I run out of teabags (I had quite a large supply) I will get tea in my own jars or make my own herbal tea.

This was such an easy zero waste switch. Please let me know if you try it for the first time and what you think. I’d also love to hear from people who are experimenting with different flavourings as I think this will be my next step.

The kombucha fermentation is underway, out of direct sunlight.
The fermentation is underway, out of direct sunlight. Fermentation can take from 7 to 14 days depending on how you like it to taste. I started bottling at day 9.

UPDATE: Whilst this drink is to our liking, and many others I know, I have discovered that some people hate it. It has been quite enjoyable to offer it to people for the first time and watch which camp they fall into (hehehe).

I have since started adding fruits like peaches and nectarines at day 9 to mix up the flavours. This second ferment goes into a bottle with the lid on for two or three days. Don’t leave longer or the build up of gas will cause an explosion. It is a great way to use up fruit that has gone a bit past the fresh eating stage.

Thirdly, I was getting sick every month or so for about 2 or 3 years. I have not been sick for six months since adding fermented foods to my diet. Admittedly, we have gone into Summer, but my gut and overall health is feeling much healthier. It won’t hurt you to give it a try too.

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12 thoughts

  1. My friend brought up some kombucha. We loved it too. We were surprised that it had a bit of a fizz to it. Wouldn’t mind having a go at making it. Just need to find a starter. Where did you get yours? Angela

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    1. I got mine from the Leongatha Health, Nutrition and Wholefoods store. They give it out for free. If you don’t have a large jar to bring in they will lend one to you. 😄

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  2. Hi Tammy,we love our kombucha and try to drink three glasses a day,I have flavoured it with mixed Berries (fresh or frozen) pineapple and ginger this is our favourite and at the moment I have apple and cinnamon,haven’t tried it yet.love hearing what you are up to and the great info you pass along keep up the good work.

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  3. I drank it 4 years ,but a member of my family decided to clean my fridge out whilst I was having a stay in hospital hence no more plant ,this plant grows it is a living bacteria ?? u can cut it up with a sterile utensil but I did read if u drink it a lot and 4 a long time it can effect u liver ,it needs to brew in a warm environment in cooler weather it slows down a lot whilst it,s brewing u need to keep it covered if u make the tea in a bucket with no lid

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