Hope’s Homemade Kombucha
If you have never tried Kombucha, I urge you to run down to the store and buy a bottle to try. It’s bubbly and tangy and slightly sweet and packed full of Probiotics.
Now that you are over the sticker shock I will tell you it only cost pennies to make a gallon of the delightful drink , plus it‘s like a little science experiment, and who doesn’t love a good science experiment that the end result is delicious and good for you!
I’m going to take it from the top, and that is growing your own Scoby: Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast because I’m fancy like that, but you can also get one from your local health food store or on line. (also called mothers or mushrooms but it’s all the same )
Growing your SCOBY
What you will need :
2-quart or larger saucepan
2-quart or larger glass jar, like a canning jar (not plastic or metal)
Cheesecloth, clean dish towel , or paper towel
7 cups water
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
4 bags black tea, or 1 tablespoon loose-leaf (plain black tea, does not need to be expensive)
1 cup unflavored, un pasteurized store-bought Kombucha
Safety and cleanliness: We are growing a culture in a controlled environment and although this tea has been around for a couple thousand years we want to make sure we are growing a healthy SCOBY. I always clean my kitchen first, I clean all my equipment (yes even though they were put away clean) and rinse well, leave no trace of soap. I make mead and wine and I just follow those standards. I clean and assemble everything I need first so I can stay focused on what I’m doing.
Making your sweet tea:
Bring the water to a boil, I like to too use half the water to make the tea and then when done add the rest to cool down the tea faster. Remove the pan from the heat and add your sugar and stir until dissolved. Then add your tea and let it steep for 10 min, remove your tea bags and discard , and add your cool water. If you used all your water to start just let it steep until cool.
Pour your room temp sweet tea into the jar you will grow your SCOBY in, and then pour in the whole jar of organic raw store bought Kombucha on top, make sure it all gets in there you want any blobby bits to get in, I always look for the one with the most stuff floating around in it when I pick out at store but it will still be ok if you don’t. Stir and cover with paper towel or dish cloth and secure with rubber band. Store it out of direct sun light in a warm spot. I have a nook by my fridge that is warm and dark, I have a paper towel rubber banded around the top then I put a dish towel over the whole thing to keep it dark.
Wait…. It will take 2 to 4 weeks, I peek at mine once a week. At first it will look bubbly and stuff will start to gather around the edges and that is normal. My first one I let go 4 weeks to get it nice and thick. It will look odd and that’s normal when you check on it you just don’t want mold, mold green fuzzy or black is bad and you will need to start over, I have not had mold but did have a brown spot that turned out to be a thin spot and was just the tea showing through, it was just fine. Also brown stuff on the bottom with little brown tentacles hanging down is fine and in fact a good thing (it’s yeast)
NOTES: A word on fruit flies…just one fly, fruit or otherwise can ruin your batch. sweet basil will help keep them at bay, I grow all my own Herbs and have a supply but if you don’t pick up a plant or get a living one at the grocery store and stick it in water next to your tea.
Once you have your SCOBY it’s time to brew your Kombucha tea.