And the Kombucha Goes On…

June 12, 2008 at 12:18 am 4 comments

Kombucha SCOBY and TeaOur kombucha at work has been splitting into two pretty regularly now, so I took one home to try making a batch all by myself. The kombucha SCOBY will divide itself into two when it’s conditions are favorable and its happy; the new culture is the “baby” while the old one is the “mother.” The best way to get your own SCOBY is to get a baby from a friend.

This morning was judgment day, so to speak, on my own batch. And it tasted great! I used a couple blueberry tea bags for flavor which added a nice, sweet twist. I’m calling this batch “Sweetness.” Here is a step-by-step with photos of what I did to make this yummy, healthful beverage. You can bet I will be starting another batch this evening after work – it’s so easy!

Make sure to have clean hands and utensils every step of the way. You don’t want to let any germs or bacteria get into your brew. Boil water and make some tea, a big pot, and let it cool. I used four-five tea bags: two blueberry (for flavor, yum!), two regular green tea and one lemon-ginger. The fermentation from the kombucha tastes really good with the lemon and ginger flavors and I think my next batch will be all lemon-ginger, with green tea, too, of course!

Sugar Measured to Feed KombuchaAdd about a cup of sugar and stir until it’s dissolved. This is what the kombucha “eats” and allows it to ferment the tea. Next time I’m going to use less sugar and let it ferment longer as this batch was so sweet. A lot of the sweetness, though, came from the blueberry tea.

Picking Up the Kombucha SCOBYPlace the kombucha SCOBY into the tea. If it rises to the top, it’s happy there; if it sinks, the temperature is probably too hot or cold and you should keep an eye on it to make sure it rises after a little while. Cover with cheesecloth or paper towel so it can breathe, but keeps out dust.

Kombucha Fermenting with Cheesecloth Covering ItSet aside for about two weeks in a dark-ish corner. My kitchen is pretty bright, though, and it’s turned out okay, but we usually keep the lights off. The kombucha in our kitchen at work is exposed to bright fluorescent lights all day, so a brown paper bag usually covers it to keep it happier.

Check on it every couple of days. You can taste it occasionally to see how it’s coming along. The culture is aerobic, which means that it needs air to digest and ferment, so since the SCOBY rises to the top of the tea, it should be completely exposed to air on its top side. I did enjoy poking it occasionally to let the tea cover the top and aerate the mixture a bit.

Filtered KombuchaAfter about a week, I would get whiffs of kombucha when I was in the kitchen. I imagine it is like baking, when you can smell the brownies in the oven, they are done. When you can smell the kombucha, it’s time to test it. If you like what you taste, simply remove the SCOBY, with a little of the tea into a new glass bowl for the next batch and filter the tea through cheesecloth or a fine sieve into glass jars. YUM!

If the SCOBY is pretty thick and not separating itself on its own, you can pull apart the emerging layers to make the baby. David, my kombucha mentor, says this is good for it since and will help it be a more-active ferment-er. Then you can pass on the kombucha love to a friend!

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Car Lover  |  December 11, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Hey this is great tutorial, I just did what step by step , though as I did not have SCOBY I replaces it with store bought kombucha and pour 2 cups of it, it shoudl take more to fermentate but it should’t have any difference in tase, I will update here in 2 weeks

    Reply
  • 2. katja wichland  |  February 5, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    I have a very important question… so i have been making my kombucha in a large pyrex bowl and i decided i wanted to change it to a gallon jug but now my scoby is so big its kinda sinking and smashed into the gallon jar cause its so big.. is this gonna work for me?

    Reply
  • 3. bob  |  February 26, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    I have had 2 scobys for a while and just split them. A couple of the “new” scobys are a bit separated, hanging all over, and not just 1 nice scoby. Any suggestions? My first thought is to put cheesecloth underneath to keep it all together and eventually each one will come together as it grows. Any feedback wouldbe appreciated

    Reply
  • […] however, has grander plans for the ancient, fungus-based drink. Unlike the Chinese monks who first passed around this fermented tea, Kombuchman brings to […]

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