How to Save $1000 a Year on Kombucha
Thinking about making your own kombucha but wondering if it is worthwhile? If you drink kombucha on a regular basis, then you could save up to a thousand dollars a year by making your own. With only one hour a week spent in the kitchen!
Hey there! Have you been considering making your own kombucha but are not sure whether it is worth the time and effort? In this post we are going to have a look at how much money it is possible to save per year by making your own kombucha versus buying bottled kombucha from the store. It’s a lot!
How Much Kombucha Do You Drink?
So, to start off with, we need to make some assumptions. If you are considering making your own kombucha, let’s assume that you drink a fair amount of. Say a bottle a day. One bottle of kombucha a day is also a good dose if you are interested in kombucha’s health benefits.
If of course you drink more than one bottle of kombucha a day, then your savings will be amplified. If you only drink kombucha every few days then the savings will be reduced slightly.
Cost of Drinking Store Bought Kombucha (on a daily basis)
At the time of writing this post, store bought kombucha costs between the following.
Price of 1 bottle of kombucha= $2.50 – $5.00
This set of prices obviously is dependant on the brand of kombucha which you drink, and where you live. However, as a rough guideline, on average store bought kombucha costs roughly…
Average Cost of 1 bottle of kombucha = $3.75
If you drink one bottle of kombucha per day then it mounts up to the following cost on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis.
Weekly Kombucha Cost = $26.25
Monthly KOmbucha Cost = $112.50
Yearly Kombucha Cost = $1,368.75
That’s quite a lot of money! Of course because kombucha is a natural probiotic and is beneficial for the body on a number of levels, this is not a waste of money. Kombucha may be more expensive than a soda, but while soda is damaging to the body, kombucha is a tonic.
However, if you have a look at the costs associated with making kombucha at home, versus buying it bottled – then you might find that it is more than worth it to begin to make your own.
Let’s check out those figures.
What is the Ingredients Cost of Making Kombucha at Home
The base ingredients for kombucha are tea and sugar. The kombucha culture works on the sweet tea, and via the process of fermentation, turns it into bubbly, sweet/tart kombucha. So while kombucha itself might be slightly exotic in nature, its ingredients are very simple and cheap.
We are going to be working on the values for making 1 gallon of kombucha per week. This works out to be more than one bottle a day, but hey, we can afford to be generous. : )
Tea & Sugar Prices
The type of tea and sugar you want to use in your kombucha play a role in how much you will save per year on kombucha. If you use the very cheapest, then of course you will save more. If you use organic products, then your savings will be reduced, but your kombucha will be of even better quality.
To be conservative in our calculations, the below figures are the prices for the following products.
- Rapunzel Pure Organic Whole Cane Sugar
- Davidson’s English (Black) Tea
Both of these brands are high quality and fairly pricey. If you wish to maximise your money saving and use cheaper ingredients, this is absolutely possible. While it is preferable to support ethical brands, and purchase products which are as pure as possible and grown on good soils, the kombucha SCOBY will be just as happy with the cheapest ingredients. You will not have any failed batches of kombucha because you did not use the top of the range sugar and tea!
Also, take into consideration what water you will be using to make your kombucha. Chlorinated water is not suitable for kombucha brewing. If your water at home is not chlorinated, and is pure and clean, then water does not need to be an added cost. If however your water is chlorinated, then you will need to either purchase filtered water for your kombucha making, or buy a filter. Buying a filter works out cheaper long term, and that is what we recommend you do. The cost of a countertop filter jug is outlined below under startup costs.
So with these points in mind, let’s see what is the yearly cost in tea and sugar for making 1 gallon of kombucha per week will mount up to.
Average Cost of Home Brewed Kombucha
8 bags of Davidson’s black tea = $ 2.50
1 cup of organic Repunzel sugar = $ 1.25
Total Weekly Ingredients Cost: $3.75
Total Yearly Cost of Kombucha Ingredients $3.75 x 52 = $195.00
Wow! and that is using the best ingredients. So, one gallon of homemade kombucha, made from top quality ingredients, is the same cost as one bottle of store bought kombucha!
Let’s see what our total yearly saving is if we are making 1 gallon of kombucha at home versus buy one bottle a day at the store.
Total Yearly Saving = $1,368.75- $195.00 = $1,173,75
What a great saving! This figure of course does not take into account things like your water bill, energy needed to boil the water, and your time. The water and energy cost would probably only add up to a few dollars. Tending to your batches of kombucha each week should take roughly an hour in total. If you stop at the store once a day to pick up a bottle of booch, then this will probably add up to just under an hour per week. It is also safe to say that if you enjoy the kombucha making process and find it interesting, then the time is well spent.
While it is amazing how much one can save on a weekly basis making your own kombucha, it must be pointed out that these figures do not include what you might need to spend to set up your kombucha brewing operation. If you are thinking of making your own kombucha, then you may need to purchase a few additional items to get started. To give you a full picture of all costs involved, here is a breakdown of what you might need to spend money on for your booch brewing.
Kombucha Making “Start-Up” Costs
To begin making kombucha you will need a selection of items. These might or might not cost you money, as you may have some on hand already.
SCOBY and Starter Liquid
The one thing you absolutely cannot do without when making kombucha, is a SCOBY kombucha culture. Without this, you cannot get kombucha. If you have a friend who is making kombucha, they can probably gift you a SCOBY, as once a person starts to make kombucha you tend to get to the point where you have more SCOBYs than you need because they multiply.
Cost of a SCOBY = $20
SCOBY prices vary, but they usually cost around 20 dollars. Unless the SCOBY dies, you will not have to make this outlay again. Good SCOBY care, and making a habit of storing backup cultures in SCOBY Hotels will probably negate any serious chances of this happening.
Cost of Starter Liquid = $3,75
In addition to your SCOBY, for the first brew you will also need some ‘starter liquid’. Starter liquid is merely pure live kombucha. Every time you make a batch of kombucha, you need to add in some already made kombucha to lower the ph of the new batch. This keeps out pathogens and mold. Sticking to our averaging calculation concerning the cost of store bought bottles of kombucha, you will have to spend between $2.50 and $5.00. This is also a once off cost. As soon as you start making your own kombucha you will have more than enough’ starter liquid’ on hand, providing that you do not drink all of your kombucha and keep some aside for the new batches.
Note on starter liquid: If you cannot find any live kombucha (many brands are now pasteurized) then you can also use spirit vinegar to drop the ph. Ready made kombucha is however preferable because it will add in additional free floating microbes which will kick start the fermentation. Things can be a bit slow if your new SCOBY has been in storage before you got it.
Besides a SCOBY and some starter liquid, there are a few more items which you might need to purchase.
Water Filter = $50
If you are using tap water for your kombucha, then it might be a good idea to invest in a water filter. The above price is for a one-gallon filtration pitcher with a set of replacement filters which should last you about a year. This initial cost is less than if you had to purchase filtered water all year long!
12 Fliptop Bottles = $30.00
If you do not have any glass drinking bottles for your kombucha, then you might want to look at buying some fliptop bottles. You will need about 12. If however you are a beer drinker, you can treat yourself with some good quality grolsch beer, and save the bottles for your kombucha.
Two 1 Gallon Glass Jars = $20
If you do not have any in the house, you might also need to invest in two 1 gallon glass jars for your kombucha brewing. One is for the actual brewing vessel, and the other is for storing extra SCOBYs in. If you have jars which are slightly smaller, you can use them if it is still convenient. However you will need to divide your SCOBY between them. If you have larger jars in your cupboards you can also use those.
Usually one will have the other necessaries within your house, such as pots, measuring cups etc. However in case you do not, here is a list of the other items you will need. The prices are average costs.
- 5-quart stainless steel pot = $30.00
- 1 2-cup glass measuring container = $ 8.00
- 1 set stainless steel measuring cups and spoons = $ 8.00
- 1 yard of muslin cloth $ 3.00
- 1 plastic funnel = $ 1.00
And that is really everything! Let’s put it all together.
Average Startup Cost = $ 123.75
Assuming that you have all the neccesary pots and kitchen items, your total startup would be $ 123.75. This includes your SCOBY, starter liquid, 12 fliptops, 2 1 gallon glass jars, and a water filter with extra filters.
If you did not have any pots, and no measuring cups or spoons, then you would have to purchase these.
As you can see, you can save a lot of money making your own kombucha at home. Unlike other types of homebrewing, making kombucha is super easy to do. It doesn’t even take that much time! If you drink a lot of kombucha, then it makes great financial sense to make your own. If you have a family, and you are all drinking a bottle a day, the costs of your healthy kombucha habit can mount. Even one person on their own, drinking 1 bottle of average priced kombucha a day can spend up to $1,368.75 per year!
These days it is also getting difficult to source kombucha which is live and unpasteurized. When making your own, you do not need to worry about this.
For more penny-pinching tips, look at our How to Brew Kombucha on a Budget.