The Story of How I Became a Kombucha-Brewing Master


*insert one-eyed tongue out emoji here*

We all have things in life we want to learn…simple things from sewing on a button to more complex activities such as unearthing the mystery of IKEA’s furniture assembly instructions…but no matter the trade, there’s always a fair amount of intimidation in the beginning….the fear of the unknown. That’s exactly how I felt about kombucha-brewing until just a couple of months ago.

I’d been told that home brewing was incredibly easy and how ANYBODY could do it, but,  well I’ve also been told that it’s next to impossible to kill a mint plant…and we all know how that turned out. Honestly, I never really looked into it (probably the same reason I’ve yet to learn anything about canning), but I was always convinced that I’d just mess it up…or worse, make myself sick! 😯

Delicious Probiotic Drinks Cookbook

So you can IMAGINE my excitement when Julia, my long-time girl crush, contacted me to see if I’d be interested in reviewing her newest cookbook, Delicious Probiotic Drinks (available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble), which contains not only well laid out instructions for how to brew your own kombucha, but also a TON of other good-for-your-gut drinks as well!

Delicious Probiotic Drinks by Julia Mueller
As soon as it arrived, I did what I ALWAYS do with cookbooks: flip through each and every page annnnnd…look at all the pretty pictures, decide I want to make EVERYTHING, overwhelm myself, and put it away. The only thing that was standing between me and the start of my kombucha-brewing greatness was getting my hands on a SCOBY (aka “the mother” as in “the mutha-trucka running this show”…or ya know, a “Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast”). 😉

Kombucha SCOBYMarilyn in the buff! 😯

There are THREE ways to obtain a SCOBY:
1. Make your own from a bottle of store-bought kombucha.
2. Purchase a dehydrated one online and rehydrate it at home.
3. Beg a friend to have sympathy for your timidity and share hers.

Obviously, since I didn’t even think I could successfully make my FIRST brew, starting from scratch was COMPLETELY out of the question. And well, when it came down to it, I was too worried about “wasting my money” (you know all those dolla dolla bills that I throw wildly in the air each and every time I step foot in a Whole Foods) to buy one online. So there I sat…SCOBY-less.

Until something AMAZING happened…

While catching up with a coworker, she took out a jar of pink-colored liquid and took a sip…just before telling me that it was her latest batch of strawberry kombucha! My look of awe and admiration must’ve been apparent because she then went on to tell me (just like everyone else) that it was SUPER easy and that I should do it too. My slight hesitation was met with an offer to have a SCOBY in my hands by the next day. What?!

Scoby in a Jar

I wept tears of fermented joy.

The next day, the clock started. I knew I didn’t have long. As soon as I was off for the week, I reread each line of Julia’s instructions AND because I’m a visual learner, You-Tubed some videos on home-brewing until I felt like I had grown some cojones psyched myself up. I went to the store to purchase the handful of ingredients I needed and back at the house, I went to work. Excluding the time it took for the tea to come to room temperature, the initial brewing honestly took me about 15 minutes…

Kombucha Brewing CollageAnd the rest is history!

As of today, I’m working on my THIRD batch and with each batch I brew, I feel like I’m getting better and better! Most information out there will say that the whole process should take 5-7 days, but it really depends on your personal taste preferences. My first batch was still pretty sweet (my sister thought it tasted like regular tea) so I ended up letting it go almost a whole week more before harvesting, taste-testing along the way until I liked the flavor. And my last batch went 9 days because I got busy. See? No pressure! FYI: The longer it brews, the more sugar “Big Mama SCOBY” eats…so the more acidic/vinegary it will taste. After the week or so, you can harvest the kombucha and put it in the fridge or you can do a secondary (flavoring) fermentation which will only take 2-3 more days. I really like the taste of plain kombucha, but it’s been fun playing around with all sorts of flavors. Just remember to peel those citrus fruits! Lol

So there ya have it folks…how I conquered my fears…an unexpected love story…from zero to hero Kombucha GODDESS in less than 1000 words FIVE WEEKS! 😉 Now that I’m feeling confident, I’m ready to take on the challenge of making more of Julia’s recipes for probiotic drinks…ginger beer, here I come!

Moral of the story: Don’t be a weenie like me.

But wait!! There’s a bonus to the story…an epilogue if you will 😉 Julia is offering one lucky KMB reader a copy of her book for FREE! And there are no crazy hoops to jump through. And? She’ll ship to ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!!! Are you excited?!

Just leave a comment (any comment!) on this post as your entry! Giveaway will run until FRIDAY the THIRTEENTH of June at 11:59pm CST (ya know, to boost your luck a bit!). In the meantime, check out these posts from Julia for even MORE about kombucha…what it is…why it’s good for you…and some delicious recipes to make at home!

Good luck and may the bacteria be ever in your favor! 😉

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50 Responses to The Story of How I Became a Kombucha-Brewing Master

  1. I love kombucha, but I too am afraid I will poison myself if I make my own.. Just looking at that glob of fermentation makes me nervous. I wish I could, but I think I’m doomed to keep paying $3.50 bottle at Whole Foods!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Aww, hahaha! Confession: If I start over-thinking things, Marilyn kinda gives me the creeps too! But really, the more we hang out, the more I can see her “inner beauty” Lol

  2. EXCITING! Though really kind of terrifying at the same time… 😉 I enjoy kombucha but it still kind of scares me, though I know I like the chia ones!

  3. Kayla says:

    I love kombucha! So far I’ve stuck to store bought but it would be super fun to make my own! Honestly I’ve been super scared to try and make it myself but maybe I’ll have to see if I can get my hands on a Scoby!

  4. I saw your instagram post before this and I must say you are definitely tempting me to brew… I’ve always wanted to brew kombucha (ok it started out as beer but the kombucha would also be awesome) but I’m a weenie and fear giving myself food poisoning. Winning the book would definitely give me that extra needed motivation, haha. I loooove the idea of being able to create your own flavors and control the sweetness… I have so many questions, google here I come!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Do it girl! Do it…do it…do it!!! You should know I’m throwing up invisible pom poms at the moment! 😉

  5. Nicole Eliza says:

    You are nothing short of amazing (definitely not a weenie!) you inspire me daily with your real life in 1000 words. I have always wanted to try this! If I don’t win I am still buying the book as I said in the first millisecond of reading that there was a book for gut happy drinks! Ah!

  6. Ashley says:

    Yessss this is something I definitely want to start doing!!! I’m just working on overcoming that fear as well!

  7. I’m a weenie. Utterly and completely. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve thought about trying to brew my own bucha and chickened out when I started thinking about how I might do something wrong and give myself food poisoning. Convince me when I see you this weekend?


  8. Missy says:

    I am a weenie.
    BUT. You actually made this seem do-able for some reason. Maybe it is because you confessed to being a weenie, like me. I swear I have read Lindsay’s posts tens of times and just get so… intimidated. Even though she makes it clear it is simple! Silly.

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      You don’t even have to explain…I did the exact same thing. You just gotta go for it…take the plunge! I promise, it’s as easy as it sounds! Just one step at a time! 🙂

  9. lindsay says:

    i love that you just called her Marilyn. HAHA! what a BOOCH!!

  10. I actually just died a little laughing at the last line. Any chance that you’ll be bringing some of your home brew to Utah this weekend? Where I can try it BECAUSE I’M HANGING OUT WITH YOU THIS WEEKEND?!?

    Just a tad excited. Just a tad.

  11. Katie G says:

    I have been thinking about making my own for awhile now buy have been scared for some reason. You make it seem easy so I think I’ll try now!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      I promise, it really IS as easy as it sounds! I honestly believe if I can do it, anyone can! Take the plunge, girlie! And feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions! 🙂

  12. I think I need to hope on the Kombucha bandwagon 😉

  13. This gives me hope that I can one day try making this too! *insert one eyed tongue out emoji* 😉

  14. Julia says:

    I’m stil LOL-ing over this post! First and foremost, thank you so much for bringing me onto Kiss My Broccoli and for your sweet words! I’m so happy you’re sharing the art of kombucha brewing with your lovely readers. Secondly, Marilyn is one nice looking lady in the buff 🙂 Third (and lastly), you’re going to be the kombucha-brewing queen of the universe in no time at all!

    Can’t wait to hear what you think of ginger beer brewing and thanks a million again, my dear! xoxo

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Aww, you are so welcome, friend! Thank YOU for the opportunity to share…and to LEARN! And they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks! 😉 Ha!

  15. natasha says:

    This is on my list of must tries along with fermenting veggies of all sorts (:

  16. Woo hoo! I am a dedicated home brewer (as you know). Any opportunity to make #strangebutgood flavors! 😉

  17. I went to a kombucha brewing class with a friend last summer and still regret not buying the kit they had there. I guess I could still do it…the amount of money I spend on kombucha from the store is ridiculous.

  18. I’ve always thought making my own kombucha would be too hard/too much work too… but you’re making me rethink that! I need to start scoping out my own scoby so I can get on this!

  19. Sarah Pie says:

    I’m in the same boat as you I put off starting FOREVER, but I’ve been going strong for a few months now and I’m addicted! I love how pretty yours looks with all the fancy flavors, but I agree that regular kombucha just tastes delicious.

  20. Dana says:

    I’ve been wanting to order a scoby but I’m waiting til after I move!

  21. I tried with a dehydrated scoby a few months back and failed. The first batch was vinegary and the second got mold. How does that happen!?! Only to me I swear. I’d LOVE to be gifted a scoby so I could try again. I need to go camp out at health food stores and keep an eye out for kombucha making folks!

  22. Gah! I’ve been dying to try my hand at making kombucha too! This is just what I need 🙂

  23. Calee says:

    I’m currently trying to grow a mother at home, and it’s not working out this time! I need to get that book and just bite the bullet and buy a SCOBY to rehydrate because I grew an awesome one last time, but I dumped the whole system after one batch that kind of sucked.

  24. Elizabeth says:

    How fun. Would love to try this out.


  25. Cel says:

    has the pancake queen turned into the kobucha queen? 😉

    I dont want to poison myself (or go bankrupt buying it daily from whole foods!) so i would loooove this book 😀

  26. I’ve recently found my love for da bucha and would love to know how to make my own! I’m moving to Vermont and feel like this would give me some granola points with the locals if I added Kombucha master to me resume. Thanks to both of you for the giveaway!

  27. Kristen says:

    I’m making my own scoby this week! Cant wait!

  28. very interesting. Like to read more up on it first and then maybe give it a try.

  29. Carly says:

    I’ve been brewing my own kombucha for a little less than a year and I love it! In fact when I run out before the next batch is ready I realize how addicted I am…(: I usually stick with ginger pineapple or cranberry orange but I would love to try this lavender flavor you rave about. Where did you find the lavender?

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Ohhh, ginger pineapple sounds incredible! I really want to experiment more with citrus and tropical fruits now that it’s the summer and the cravings have hit full force. Laura (Sprint 2 The Table) swears by her grapefruit batches! And speaking of Laura, I actually found the lavender at the farmer’s market in Atlanta when I was visiting her. I think you can also find it at Whole Foods…just be sure it’s “culinary grade” 🙂

  30. I obviously need this cookbook. My homemade kombucha was never as good as the bottled stuff.

  31. Wow – you make it look so easy!

    I love Kombucha and would love to start brewing. I know that it would have amazing benefits! Oh and it tastes amazing too! 🙂

  32. Megan says:

    I cannot wait to try your kombucha recipe! Hopefully I will also be a Kombucha Goddess in 5 weeks!! Thank you so much for tagging me so I could see this! Love your blog.

  33. I enjoy kombucha but it still kind of scares me 🙂

  34. Jen Lyle says:

    I’ve never had kombucha, but everyone says it’s good! I would love a chance to try it myself 🙂

  35. Pua says:

    I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never tried kombucha. I’d like to try it, but I’m a little nervous because of all the horrific things people have said about it! After reading the comments above, though, I may have to give it a taste!

  36. OKay…. I must get this book and brew. Seriously! Now… I need a scoby, and I’m not making one… too scary lol!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Whenever we EVENTUALLY meet up, I will have you a SCOBY! Now we just need to nail down some details! Get out yo calendar!

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  38. Laura says:

    Just made my first Scoby. KT is a bit vinegary because I was out of town. As ugly as the Scooby is, it is beautiful. Great website! Love love pictures and measurements. May need the book!

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