Real Fermenting: Coffee Kombucha

Monday, 6 August 2012

Coffee Kombucha

I've have been making kombucha with various teas over the past month or so. Alternating between caffeinated teas and non-caffeinated teas, I have been enjoying having access to cheap and excellent kombucha. My favorite has probably been the black tea kombucha combined with ginger juice. The heat of the ginger covers any excess sourness when you forget to bottle your kombucha for a couple of days. Today, I am making coffee kombucha.

One thing I would highly recommend is being careful if you add chia seeds to the bottle. I have a couple of different theories about why this happened (chia gel is compressible maybe? viscosity leads to liquid being drawn out of the bottle?), but today I suffered the effects of an explosive decompression while opening a chia seed kombucha. Imagine opening a shaken-up coke can, but with chia seed gel covering your kitchen. Another bottle last week with way too much chia opened with a column of rigid rising chia, which I rapidly attempted to eat, to no avail. Stick to 3-4 tsps per pint. I really went crazy with the chia.

My kitchen after the chia explosion. Note the side of the fridge.


2 cups made kombucha
3 quarts coffee (I'm using half decaff, but use whatever you like)
1 cup sugar

Coarsely ground coffee


Make a large pot of coffee. I boiled 3 quarts of water in a large pot and added the coarsely ground coffee directly to the pot, along with the cup of sugar. You could equally make coffee in a regular drip machine (although be warned that cups on your coffee machine are almost certainly not standard measuring cups. You need 12 regular cups of coffee. A cup on your machine could be 6oz, rather than 8oz). Then I poured the coffee through a sieve a couple of times, which seems to filter out the grounds pretty well. Pour the sweet coffee into a 1 gallon wide mouth jar.

As ever, we start the next batch with our cultured SCOBY and made tea from the last batch. If you don't have a SCOBY, read my super simple instructions on how to culture one from a store bought bottle of kombucha. Now pour in the 2 cups of made kombucha along with the SCOBY.

Coffee with SCOBY floating in it

Cover the jar with a cloth and put it away somewhere safe. Now, we let the Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast do its business for about 10 days (taste after 1 week, and then everyday until it is right for you). I am excited to try this new kombucha variety. It's certainly not one you can find in the stores!


  1. How did this come out? I am thinking of trying this myself and would love to hear how it worked out for you.

    1. Antony, it was not successful the time I tried it. I really need to return to this recipe at some point.

      What happened (I believe) was that the oil from the coffee rose to the surface of the fermenting kombucha, and there it went rancid. Within 10 days of starting the batch, the brew smelled really vegetably and rotten, like rotten lettuce or carrots. Not a good situation.

      Not really sure how to avoid that happening again, and that is the main reason I haven't come back to this recipe yet.

    2. I am unsure about the kombucha-making process, however, I know an excessive amount about coffee. When you make normal coffee, you heat the water to somewhere around 104 degrees and pour it over the coffee grounds, this releases the oils, acids, etc. etc.

      I would suggest using a cold-brew process, which all but eliminates the acids and oils, and should provide a better environment for fermentation.

      Just a suggestion...

      (And now I see Leanna's post. Oh well.)

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