The Easy Brew Method is SIMPLE. You basically prepare the tea in the same way as you would if you were making it the old fashion traditional way except you will ferment it in a “jug” instead of a “jar”. Doing so you will be able to prevent the growth of the superfluous mushroom.

Do not be put off by the amount of text on this page, some people need a more detailed description than others to understand how you can ferment the tea without using a mushroom.

Traditionally Kombucha Tea has been brewed with an emphasis on producing a Kombucha mushroom so that the mushroom can later be used to ferment a new batch of tea. This is not the easiest, or best way, to ferment Kombucha Tea as growing the mushroom or SCOBY can sometimes result in a mold contamination and then you have to throw out both the mushrooms and the tea being fermented. Additionally, people tend to fixate on the mushroom and whenever they notice an aberration in its growth they become frustrated often tossing out perfectly good batch of tea mistakenly thinking that a contamination has occurred.

Described here is a better and faster way of fermenting Kombucha Tea that helps eliminates the risk of a mold, does not require the growing of a Kombucha mushroom and the inherent frustrations associated with its growth and storage.

It needs to be pointed out that YOU ARE NOT EATING THE MUSHROOM… The only really important thing about brewing Kombucha is that the tea ferments properly.

The mushroom is only a cellulose spongy membrane and it is not what is fermenting the tea. It is the millions of bacteria and yeasts that exist within the mushroom that ferment the tea and as a by-product of the fermentation process they cause a mushroom to grow. The mushroom does not grow these bacteria and yeasts, the bacteria and yeast grow the mushroom. These microorganisms are also in the primary cultures that we provide to customers and also exist in any fermented tea that you brew using our cultures. If you doubt this consult with any microbiologist.

Fermenting Kombucha is not much different than fermenting beer or wine except traditionally people have been fermenting it in “jar” with wide mouth openings so they can extract the mushrooms after the tea is done fermenting. This leaves the fermenting tea exposed to airborne pathogens, not a good idea. Wine and Beer brewers always ferment their beverages in an enclosed environment to prevent exposure to the numerous contaminates floating in the air such as obnoxious bacteria and yeasts cells, dust, insects, mold spores, pollens, etc. etc.

Kombucha Tea should absolutely be fermented in the same safer manner.

Brewing Kombucha in Jug


Kombucha brewing in wine bottle

Bacteria and yeast replicate themselves by binary division, where-upon one parent cell divides into two daughter cells. Two then become 4, four become 16, 16 become 256, 256 become 65,536, etc.etc. This division occurs about every 20 to 40 minutes depending on the temperture of the fermenting tea. When you introduce even a small amount of previously fermented Kombucha tea containing living cells into a new batch of tea before half a day has gone by the new tea is colonized by billions of bacteria and yeasts fermenting the new tea.

It is recommended that if you purchased only one culture you first use the Easy Brew Method of fermenting Kombucha rather than risk the loss of your first batch of tea because of a mold contamination. If you purchased two or more cultures then we recommend you ferment your first batch of tea using the Easy Brew Method using only one of those cultures. The other store in the fridge as a back-up, it will probably be viable for up to 6 months if not longer.


DO NOT prematurely throw out any batch of Kombucha Tea that you “think” may have failed to properly ferment. Always pick up the phone and call me first – 360 989-9464. Often novice brewers toss out a good batch of tea because it did not ferment to their expectations.

Step One:  Prepare a gallon of sugary tea using 8 or 10 single serve tea “bags”. Preferable use a black tea (orange pekoe), black teas are roasted and produce more carbonation. Use 1 to 1 1/4 (1.25) cups of sugar, and 1/4 to 1/3 cup of either white distilled vinegar or pasteurized apple cider vinegar.  If you want to use the balloon technique described below (optional but recommended) you will need to buy some regular size party balloons, not the smaller balloons used to make water balloons.

Tip 1: You do not have to boil the water to make the tea if the water does not contain chlorine and is fit for human consumption as it is. The tea in tea bags will diffuse into cold water but it may take a few minutes longer to do so. Most, if any, chlorine put into drinking water evaporates before exiting the tap. If there is chlorine in the water (detected by smell or taste) you can let it stand for a couple of hours, instead of boiling, the chlorine will evaporate. Also… It is not a good idea to put anything that is living into hot water including pet frogs, turtles, or the living bacteria and yeasts of Kombucha.

Tip 2: You can make a concentrate of tea by first putting the tea bags into a large drinking glass and then pour this concentrate into your clean jug then add more water, sugar, and vinegar per directions above. Using hot water from your tap will dissolve the sugar more quickly, then allow to cool. You can also prepare the tea in a separate gallon container and after it is prepared just pour it into the jug. You can make smaller batches of Kombucha using wine bottles if you wish.

Tip 3: Green tea can also be used but produces far less carbonation as it is not a roasted tea. The roasting of a tea (black tea) produces carbon which is released as CO2 when as the tea ferments.

Tip 4: Tea is basically used for human flavoring purposes, the Kombucha bacteria and yeast are primarily after the sugar. Regular tea (Camellia sinensis) , both black and green,  as well as other variations, and most flavored teas, can be used as a base tea to make Kombucha.

Although Tea (Camellia_sinensis) when used to ferment Kombucha does provide various medicinal and health benefits more of these benefits may be gained from using various “herbal” teas. Herbal teas that may provide you with a more potent Kombucha include Knotweed (Polygonum aviculare) and other plant species from the genus of Polygonum. Knotweed is an excellent source for Resveratrol.

Another potent herbal plant that may produce a Kombucha with more health benefits is Jiaogulan Tea as well as Banaba.

All of the above mentioned Teas may be used in a blend with regular tea for the purpose of enchancing the health benefits of your home-brewed Kombucha or at 100% strength. Other various herbal teas can also be used such as Sage (the common spice most people have in their home) but some such teas may require to be made in a blend with regular tea to cut their taste. You will need to estabish for yourself the amount to use of any of these herbal teas.

Check Ebay as a possible source for buying the teas mentioned above.

Tip 5: Avoid the use of loose leaf tea if possible, depending on the source of the tea and how well it was cleaned loose leaf tea may harbor mold spores and increase the chances of a contamination.

Step Two:  If using wine bottles pour 1/2 of the contents or more of the Kombucha culture vials into each wine bottle BEFORE you completely fill the bottles. Empty wine bottles can usually be obtained for free from a local restaurant as they just otherwise throw them out. There are millions of bacteria and yeasts in the vial, more than enough to ferment a batch of tea even if using only the contents of half a vial.

If using a gallon jug add all of the contents of one culture vial to the gallon jug BEFORE you completely fill the jug. If you do not already have a “jug” somewhere in your home you can get wine jugs from any local liquor store as they still sell cheap wine in gallon glass jugs.

Alternatively if you have prepared the tea in a separate gallon container (need not be glass) you can pour the entire contents of a culture vial into the this gallon batch of sugary tea, shake or stir well to spread the bacteria and yeasts, then fill the glass bottles or jug that you will be using to ferment the tea in.

Step Three:  When filling the bottles or jug fill them until they overflow, after having introduced the bacteria and yeast, do this to remove all foam. Next, reduce the level of the tea to about 1 inch from the very top. The tea needs to be well up into the narrow neck of the bottle to prevent a mushroom from forming.

Step Four:  Seal the bottle by simply placing a balloon over the neck. The balloon will partially inflate once the tea starts to ferment. This may take 3 to 5 days if brewing at the proper temperature but longer if the tea is cooler than recommended.

If you want the balloons to greater inflate (not that this is important) you need to buy corks (local hardware store), drill a hole through the center, and then put the balloon over the cork (see photo) and insert into the jug or bottle.

The use of balloons helps to prevent evaporation as the tea ferments and also lets you know the tea is fermenting. Balloons also protect the tea from contaminants in the air. How much the balloon inflates is not important, because of many variables a balloon will inflate to different sizes and at different times. Do not judge the quality of the fermentation by the inflation of the balloon.

If using balloons stretch them out before pulling them over the neck of the wine bottle, wine jug, or cork.

You can also purchase on E-Bay inexpensive “S-Shape Twin Bubble Air Locks” used in home brewing beer or wine (see pics below). You insert these through a drilled rubber plug or cork which you then insert into the bottle. The air lock is filled with a small amount of water to the level of the hash marks. You can somewhat judge when the tea is ready using these air locks by watching for a decrease in the carbonation bubbles passing through the water in the airlock after the stream of bubbles has peaked. A decrease in the carbonation stream indicates the depletion of the sugar in the tea.

wine jug wine air lock

Tip 6: Contrary to popular belief the tea does not have to breathe, the bacteria and yeasts do not have lungs and are not swimming to the surface to gulp air like a goldfish; there is oxygen in the water (H2O) to support fermentation.

Step Five: Set the bottle aside to ferment for 7 to 9 days, this time frame is dependent on brewing temp if the temp is cooler than 74 F. then the tea may take longer before it is ready. If the fermentation temp is in the 60’s it may take much longer, if you are using a balloon it may take a long while at lower temps before it inflates if at all.

You can judge the proper temperature by touching the jug or bottles with your hand, if warm to the touch but not cold or hot then the temperature is about right. If placed on a coffee cup warmer the temperature is around 88F (31C) and this seems to work well. If the temperature is warm enough you should see a steady stream of carbonation bubbles passing through the narrow neck of the jug/bottle by about the 5th day if not sooner. You may not see the carbonation bubbles streaming through the narrow neck if the tea is fermenting at too low of a temperature.

Tip 7: If you want a more heavily carbonated Kombucha Tea then several days before you would normally expect to end the fermentation of the tea remove the covering, or balloon, and either tightly cork or cap the wine bottles or jug. Let the jug/bottles sit at room temperature for four to six days longer to ferment, doing this will build up the carbonation in the bottles or jug.

What Happens Next?

As the tea begins to ferment it slowly starts to produce fermentation gases. This gas will need to escape through the narrow neck of the wine bottle. As the gases rapidly percolate up through the neck it helps to inhibit any mold contamination and also disrupts the growth of a forming mushroom.

The brownish fermentation gunk that you will see form in the neck is harmless and you will later filter it out… It is not mold. Any small mushroom that forms in the neck can be disposed of later as it is not necessary to use a mushroom to ferment your next batch of tea.

If you use a balloon over the top of the wine bottle it will start to inflate between the 5th to 7th day if the brewing temp is above 74F and you have a tight enough seal, maybe sooner if the brewing temp is much warmer because the warmer the temp the faster the tea ferments and produces carbonation gases.

Best temperature for inflation of a balloon is around 88F  (31C) when using a coffee cup warmer. Usually by the 5th day you should be able to see a steady stream of very small fermentation bubbles moving up through the neck of the bottle. If you do not see this happening the brewing temperature may be too cool. The bacteria and yeast only form a so-called mushroom as a evaporation cap/seal over their liquid environment (the tea), they do not recognize the carbonation and methane gas that is inflating the balloon as “air” so they do not bother to form a mushroom.

Tip 8: If you brew a gallon of tea you can keep it at a warm temperature by setting it on top of a coffee cup warmer (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED). There is enough water in a gallon container that the water will not overheat. Do not use a coffee cup warmer to heat a single wine bottle as it will overheat. You can also use warming food plate servers, these have a temperature control, and they are used to keep foods warm until ready to be served. Just stack the wine bottles or wine jug(s) on the warming plate. You can usually find these items sold at low cost in resale shops, or at WalMart.

Keep in mind that the lower the temperature the longer it is going to take for the tea to ferment before it is ready. Temps in the 60’s will slow fermentation to the point where it may take a month or longer before it is ready and fermenting in this temperature range is NOT recommended.

As the tea ferments in the wine bottle it produces alcohol which is a solvent. The alcohol will cause impurities in the tea to leach out and these will coagulate into some brownish gunk that may either be suspended within the tea or more than likely will rise into the neck of the bottle. This gunk can later be filter out, its harmless stuff.

On the bottom of the wine bottle whitish fermentation sediment will sometimes settle and you might also see a cloud of bacteria and yeasts suspended within the tea or something that looks like a little whitish/brown jellyfish (see photo below). This cloud is not as solid or as thick as it appears. All of this is natural to the tea and will be filtered out later.

Kombucha Jelly Fish Kombucha Fermentation Gunk

On the 7th day of fermentation use a straw to taste test the tea. If it tastes between sweet and sour and you like that taste you can pour off the tea into individual bottles filtering the tea through a tea strainer as you do so.

Cap or cork the bottles and put them into the fridge. You can begin drinking the tea as soon as it has gone cold but left in the fridge for a couple of days the taste improves. You can use the type of polyurethane spout shown, if you do you may not have to filter the tea before drinking it.

Kombucha Bottle Stopper

You will find this type of bottle stoppers are sold in discount dollar stores for about a dollar a pair. If you do not use this type of bottle stopper you may want to filter the tea, as you pour it into a glass, using a tea strainer to remove fermentation residue suspended in the tea.

Be sure to save some of the fermented tea as you will need it to make your next batch of tea. Next time you are ready to make some more tea you need only take about 1/4 cup, or more if you like,  of the already fermented tea and pour it into your new tea. This fermented tea will contain more than enough Kombucha bacteria and yeasts to start fermenting your next batch of Kombucha Tea.

Tip 9: You can adjust the taste of the tea if you find it to be too sweet, or too sour/acidic. If too sweet let it ferment longer, if too sour add some un-fermented fresh tea to the fermented tea. Keep in mind that after it has been in the fridge several days the taste of fermented tea does improve.

Tip 10: I recommend that you store the tea after it is done fermenting in wine bottles which are properly corked with new corks or in wine bottles with screw on caps. You will need a hand corking tool (see below photo) to be able to inject a new cork into a wine bottle. You cannot push a cork into the wine bottle by hand unless you want to shave one end of the cork making it narrower and hammer it in. You can purchase a hand corking tool on Ebay for about $20, and new corks as well. It is easier to use wine bottles with screw on caps, such wine bottles and caps can also be purchased on Ebay.

Hand Corking Tool