How To Ferment Traditional Korean Kombucha: The Ultimate Guide

Polishing removes the outer layers of rice, flavor relies on water quality, and koji converts rice starch into fermentable sugars.

One such drink is kombucha, a fermented tea drink believed to have originated in China about 2000 years ago. From there, it spread to other parts of Asia, including Korea, where it became integral to traditional cuisine and health practices.

People in Korea not only consider Korean kombucha but also known as “hongcha,” a delicious drink but also revere it for its digestive and detoxifying properties. How to ferment traditional Korean Kombucha?

We’ll take you through traditional Korean kombucha fermentation at home, using only simple ingredients and equipment. You will learn how to select the right tea and sugar, choose the best SCOBY for fermentation, and ensure proper kombucha carbonation.

How To Ferment Traditional Korean Kombucha Easy Ways

What Is Korean Kombucha?

People in Korea have been enjoying the traditional fermented rice drink known as “makgeolli,” or Korean Kombucha, for centuries.  People make this tangy and slightly sweet beverage by fermenting rice with the help of a special yeast called “nuruk”.

Fermentation produces natural carbonation and a unique, refreshing, and complex flavor profile. People often enjoy Korean Kombucha as a traditional alcoholic drink, but those who prefer a milder taste can also find it in non-alcoholic versions.

With its rich cultural history and delicious taste, Korean Kombucha is worth trying if you want to explore the world of fermented beverages.

How To Ferment Traditional Korean Kombucha Easy Ways

How To Ferment Traditional Korean Kombucha Easy Ways

Fermenting traditional Korean kombucha can be a fun and rewarding process. Fermenting traditional Korean Kombucha is a fascinating and rewarding process. Koreans have enjoyed this probiotic-rich drink for centuries due to its health benefits and unique flavors.

To ferment traditional Korean Kombucha, you will need a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast), which acts as the fermentation starter. Here are some easy ways how to ferment traditional Korean Kombucha:

1.Ingredients For Making Kombucha

Making traditional Korean kombucha requires a few key ingredients. To start, you will need a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), the living organism responsible for fermenting the tea. You can obtain a SCOBY from a friend, purchase one online, or even grow your own.

In addition to the SCOBY, you will also need black tea, sugar, and filtered water. Black tea provides the nutrients necessary for the SCOBY to thrive, while the sugar serves as fermentation food.

It’s important to use filtered water to ensure that no impurities could potentially harm the SCOBY. With these essential ingredients, you’ll be well on your way to brewing your own delicious and probiotic-rich Korean kombucha at home.

2.Choosing The Right Tea For Kombucha

Choosing The Right Tea For Kombucha

Choosing the right tea for kombucha is a crucial step in fermentation. Traditional Korean kombucha, or “makgeolli,” typically uses green or barley tea as a base. Green tea offers a light and refreshing flavor, while barley tea adds a nutty and slightly roasted taste.

Both options provide the necessary nutrients for the SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) to thrive and ferment properly. It’s important to select high-quality loose-leaf teas without any added flavors or additives.

Experimenting with different teas can also add unique flavors and aromas to your homemade kombucha. So, grab your favorite tea leaves and prepare for your kombucha brewing adventure!

3.Choosing The Right Sugar For Kombucha

Choosing the right sugar for kombucha is an essential step in the fermentation process. Other options exist besides regular white sugar. Organic cane sugar and raw sugar can also use as they provide additional nutrients that can enhance the flavor and quality of the kombucha.

It is important to avoid using artificial sweeteners or alternative sweeteners like stevia, as they may not provide the necessary nutrients for the fermentation process. Ultimately, the choice of sugar will depend on personal preference and dietary restrictions. Still, selecting a high-quality sugar that will support the growth of beneficial bacteria and yeast during fermentation is important.

4.Choosing The Right SCOBY For Kombucha

Choosing The Right SCOBY For Kombucha

When choosing the right SCOBY for fermenting traditional Korean kombucha, it’s important to consider a few factors. Traditional Korean SCOBYs have been used for generations and are known for producing a strong and tangy kombucha with a distinct flavor.

By selecting the right SCOBY, you can create a kombucha that perfectly complements traditional Korean cuisine. The type of tea you choose and the fermentation time play a crucial role in determining the flavor profile of your kombucha.

To stay true to the traditional Korean taste, it is recommended to use green tea or barley tea. Green tea provides a light and refreshing flavor, while barley tea adds a nutty and slightly roasted taste.

You can find traditional Korean SCOBYs available online or reach out to local kombucha enthusiasts who may be willing to share or sell their cultures. Remember, experimenting with different SCOBYs can lead to unique flavor combinations and allow you to personalize your own kombucha.

5.Bottling And Storing Your Kombucha

Once your kombucha has reached the desired level of fermentation, it’s time to bottle and store it. Bottling your kombucha allows it to further carbonate and develop its characteristic fizzy texture.

To do this, carefully pour the fermented kombucha into glass bottles, leaving about an inch of headspace at the top. You can also add flavorings such as fruit juice or herbs at this stage if desired.

Seal the bottles tightly with airtight caps and let them sit at room temperature for another 1-3 days to allow for secondary fermentation. After this period, transfer the bottles to the refrigerator to slow fermentation and preserve the carbonation.

It’s important to note that carbonation can continue to build up during storage, so be sure to “burp” your bottles periodically by slightly opening them to release any excess pressure. With proper bottling and storing techniques, you’ll soon have a delicious and bubbly batch of homemade Korean kombucha ready to enjoy.

6.Advanced Techniques For Making Korean Kombucha

Advanced Techniques For Making Korean Kombucha

Delving into the advanced techniques of Korean kombucha fermentation opens up a world of possibilities. One such technique is creating “makgeolli,” a traditional Korean rice wine with a fermented twist.

You can create your unique beverage by combining cooked rice, water, and nuruk, a traditional Korean fermentation starter. Over several days, the nuruk’s enzymes break down the rice starches into sugars, which are then transformed into alcohol by yeast.

This fusion of flavors results in a delightful drink that can be enjoyed on its own or used as a versatile ingredient in various dishes. By exploring the world of kombucha beyond traditional tea-based brews, you can tap into the rich tradition of Korean fermentation and unlock a whole new realm of taste sensations.

7.Benefits Of Drinking Korean Kombucha

Korean Kombucha, also known as “makgeolli,” is a traditional Korean fermented rice drink with many health benefits. This probiotic-rich beverage aids digestion, promotes gut health, and supports a balanced gut microbiome.

With its beneficial bacteria and essential nutrients like B vitamins and vitamin C, Korean Kombucha strengthens the immune system and contributes to overall well-being. Incorporating fermented foods like Korean Kombucha into your diet is beneficial and adds a refreshing twist.

By embracing the fermentation process, you can enjoy the natural effervescence and tangy flavors of this fermented drink. Improve your gut health and indulge in a delicious, fizzy beverage with Korean Kombucha.


Fermenting traditional Korean kombucha is a relatively simple process requiring just a few ingredients and patience. Fermenting traditional Korean Kombucha is a fun and rewarding process that allows you to enjoy the numerous health benefits of this delicious beverage.

By carefully selecting the right ingredients, following the proper fermentation techniques, and experimenting with advanced methods, you can create unique and flavorful batches of Korean Kombucha. Not only will you have a tasty drink to enjoy, but you’ll also be reaping the benefits of improved gut health and increased energy levels.

Start your kombucha brewing journey today and experience the wonders of this ancient Korean beverage. We hope our information on how to ferment traditional Korean Kombucha was helpful.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.How Is Traditional Kombucha Made?

Ans: Traditional kombucha is created through the fermentation of sweetened tea using a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). This process takes 7-14 days, during which the SCOBY consumes the sugar and produces beneficial acids, enzymes, and probiotics. After fermentation, strain the liquid, bottle it, and carbonate it for a few more days before it’s ready to drink.

2.What Do You Ferment Kombucha With?

Ans: Kombucha is fermented using a SCOBY, which consists of bacteria and yeast. This is combined with tea, sugar, and water to start fermentation. Additional flavors like fruit juice or herbs can be added later. Remember to use non-metallic containers and utensils for the process.

3.How Long Do I Leave My Kombucha To Ferment?

Ans: You can personalize the fermentation time for kombucha to your taste.  Typically, it takes 7-14 days to ferment. Taste it regularly during the process to find your desired flavor. Factors like temperature and the strength of the starter culture can influence fermentation time.

4.How Long Does Kombucha Have To Ferment To Become Alcoholic?

Ans: Kombucha usually must ferment for 7-14 days to develop a slight alcohol content, typically below 0.5%. If you want a higher alcohol content, you can ferment it longer. It’s crucial to monitor the fermentation process and test the alcohol level if necessary.

5.What Is The Process Of Fermenting Traditional Korean Kombucha?

Ans: To ferment traditional Korean kombucha, start by brewing a strong tea using green or black tea leaves. Add sugar to the tea to feed the SCOBY. Place the sweetened tea in a glass container and add the SCOBY. Cover the container with a breathable cloth or paper towel and let it sit at room temperature for 7-14 days for the SCOBY to consume the sugar and ferment the tea into kombucha.

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