Kombucha Brewing 101 :
Making Your First Batch from a SCOBY
Alright… Someone gifted you your very own Scoby, or maybe you impulse bought it online. Now you’re looking at it and it kinda looks creepy… What the f*ck is this slimy thing and what do I do with it?
What the f*ck is the slimy thing?
We call it a Scoby. SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast, and it is the creator of the yummy kombucha that we love to drink. The Scoby is the “mother”. When placed in sweet tea it ferments the tea and reproduces itself, making a new Scoby. You can actually grow your own Scoby out of any raw kombucha, but the process to make a full batch will take longer.
Well, first of all it’s delicious and fizzy. Second kombucha is a superfood drink, full of antioxidants, vitamins, probiotics, and enzymes. It’s biggest cheerleaders say that it can even cure cancer, but these claims have not been proven by the science community. According to Sally Fallon in bible cookbook Nourishing Traditions kombucha contains glucuronic acid, “a powerful aid to the body’s natural cleansing process, a boost the immune system, and a proven prophylactic against cancer and other degenerative diseases.” What do I know? That I feel great after drinking it. Cleaner, lighter, and vibrant.
So how do I make it?
I’m glad you asked! Read on below for my easy recipe:
- 1 gallon filtered water
- 2 cups raw kombucha – store bought is fine as long as it is raw
- 1 cup sugar – raw or white sugar works best, organic preferable
- 6 tea bags – black tea or high tannic tea works best
- 1 SCOBY
- 1 gallon glass jar
- clean cloth
- rubber band or string
1. Make a tea concentrate. Bring 2 cups water to boil on stove – note: every other kombucha recipe I have found has you boil the whole gallon of water. I have found it much faster and simpler to simply make a tea concentrate instead. Turn off heat. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add tea bags in. Allow water to come to room temperature or bathtub water warm. Make sure that no dirt or bugs get into tea while it is cooling. Remove tea bags at some point.
2. Pour concentrate and kombucha starter into clean glass jar. Pour rest of room temperature water into the jar. Tea should be room temperature or slightly warm, about 70-90F. If it is too hot it will kill the Scoby. If it is too cold, it may not grow properly.
3. Gently and with love place Scoby on top. It may sink, this is fine. Cover the jar with your cloth, and tie a string or a rubber band around the top. This is to protect it from any dirt or bugs. Airflow is good. Anything with bad bacteria is bad.
4. Label your ‘booch. Write down the date, what sweetener you used, and what tea you used. You may not remember in two weeks when you harvest!
5. Place your kombucha in a warm and dark place and leave it alone. Kombucha doesn’t like direct sunlight.
6. Harvest your kombucha when a full new Scoby mama has formed on top of the glass jar. How long does this take? 5-21 days depending on your temperature, the amount of sugar, the type of tea, your mama, and a million other factors. Some people prefer their kombucha more or less fermented. The best advice? Taste it and see if you like it! Then it’s ready 🙂
7. Take kombucha mamas out of the jar and place on a clean plate. Pour your newly brewed kombucha into jars or bottles. Add juice if you would like to flavor. Save a few cups of water to help your next batch. Wash your jar, and start over again! You can reuse old mamas until they start to turn all the brown, or you can gift them away. The more mamas you have in your gallon jar the faster the fermentation process will go.
Other Helpful Hints:
– Kombucha doesn’t like metal, don’t use a metal bowl or metal spoons
-Kombucha doesn’t like sunshine
-Honey is naturally anti-microbrial, so it can kill the good bacterial in the kombucha
-Raw or white sugar is said to produce the highest amounts of glucuronic acid
-If you have any doubts about if your kombucha is contaminated, trust your gut and toss it. Don’t mess around with bad bacteria
-Make sure all soap residue is completely cleaned off any equipment before you use it
Have any kombucha advice or stories? Please leave them in the comments below!