HOW-TO Make Kombucha
originally posted on What Tomorrow Left Behind
Part I: Growing your own SCOBY
Kombucha, is an effervescent and tangy health drink made from fermenting sweetened tea, and something I like to drink just about everyday. My mom and I joke that we drink it during “cocktail hour” since we like to enjoy a glass before dinner. Kombucha contains multiple species of yeast and bacteria, as well as the organic acids, active enzymes, amino acids, and polyphenols produced by these microbes.
Go here to learn more about Kombucha, or pick up a copy of Sandor Katz’s Wild Fermentation to learn about kombucha, other fermented foods, and their health benefits.
To make kombucha you only need two things, sweetened tea and a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast), AKA “mother,” or “mushroom.” Kombucha mothers are pretty easy to find these days if your friends are making kombucha (I killed my first mother I grew and and my friend Melissa just gave me one of her mothers “daughters” to start a new batch with) but if your friends haven’t jumped on the kombucha wagon yet you have two options for obtaining a SCOBY, 1) you buy one off craigslist for anywhere from $15-35 or 2) you grow your own for less than $4.
What you need to grow your own scoby:
- 1 bottle of Organic, Raw Kombucha
- 1 glass jar or bowl
- 1 kitchen towel
- 1 rubber-band
- 1 cup of room temperature sweetened tea
You can buy the kombucha at just about any health food store. If you can’t find it near you though, you can buy a bottle of it online. I’ve read that it is important to make sure it’s organic, raw, and unflavored with juice, meaning you just want the plain, original beverage. However, the daughter I am now in possession of comes from a mother Melissa grew using a bottle of Triology, which does have juice, and I tasted some of Melissa’s brew she made with it, it was good. So, if you can’t get unflavored don’t worry about it.
The sweetened tea can be as simple as a cup of black or green tea, sweetened with a tablespoon of sugar. I used Yogi Green Tea Kombucha and a tablespoon of white sugar.
Pour the kombucha and room temp sweetened tea into your bowl or jar.
Cover it with a towel so it can breathe but be protected from insects and other contaminants and let it sit. Over time, a SCOBY will start to form on top of the liquid. First it will appear as a thin film, then slowly it will thicken up. Once it is about 1/4 inch thick it is ready. It takes about 3 weeks to grow a SCOBY that is around 1/4-1/3 inch thick, it really depends on the temperature of the room you are trying to grow the SCOBY in. For example, in the summer it might only take 2 weeks. Above is a picture of mine sitting on top of my microwave in my kitchen.
Part II: Home Brew
So you’ve got your SCOBY, what now? We brew kombucha!
15 cups water
1 cup sugar
4 tea bags
- Bring water to a boil
- Remove from heat, stir in sugar, add tea bags and steep, covered, until room temperature
- Put in glass jar and cover (must be breathable, I use cheese cloth and a rubber band)
- Set in warm place for 2-3 weeks.
- Taste it, let it sit until it taste good to you, the amount of time really depends on how warm it is where you are keeping it, the warmer the faster is ferments, and how tangy you like it.