Monday, January 6, 2014

Make Your Own Kombucha SCOBY

It could be better to obtain a fresh SCOBY Kombucha Tea mushroom from a friend or maybe order one online.  That is not always the most practical way for me, however, as I keep forgetting to order and I have no friends who drink this bizarre, strangely delicious elixir of life.  Experimenting with self-sufficiency is commendable and rewarding, plus I enjoy the challenge.

It can be done.  Fear not!

(And I don't want to discourage you regularly purchasing from Kombucha bottling companies.  I LOVE their products and will keep buying them.  I enjoy their convenience and all the unique flavors they produce. Just sometimes in life we need or want a large vat of it.  Maybe this can help get you started).

Purchase a plain, non-flavored, commercial bottle of raw, refrigerated Kombucha at the market.  You don’t want the warm bottle off the shelf as it was probably pasteurized.  Your best chance is with the refrigerated one.   

Take a few sips and use the rest.  J  This liquid will become your starter.  Or don't drink any at all and use the whole bottle.  It's just for me, I can't resist. I gotta get a Kombucha hit. 

(I have made it straight in the store bought bottle before. I drank half of it and set the other half aside to “grow” without adding anything to it. But in case the health inspector comes to my blog and tries to shut me down, I’m giving you the official, sanitary instructions).

Your liquid needs a sanitary, clean, glass jar or bowl to live. I prefer a taller container as they are easier to cover. A bowl is just fine too though.  Do NOT use metal or plastic. Ever. Glass only.  A quart size jar to make a starter is sufficient.

Make a strong cup of BLACK tea using distilled water, not tap water, as tap water contains chemicals which could possibly kill your starter mushroom.  To this cup of tea, add 2 TBLS sugar. Let it cool. Pour the cooled, sweet tea and the bottle of Kombucha together into your jar. The tea and sugar will be feeding your mushroom, similar to feeding your sourdough starter or your Amish friendship bread. 

I cover mine with a kitchen towel and secure with a rubber band.  You can use muslin, cheese cloth, a coffee filter or a paper towel.  It needs to “breath” so we don’t want to seal it with a lid or cover it with plastic. 

Place it in a warm, clean place out of sunlight, away from drafts.  I take the fabric lid off occasionally to give it some air, then recover.  

Now you wait.

Shhhhhh.....patience grasshoppa
You’ll get a “mama” or a SCOBY.  You might get one as soon as 7 to 10 days or it could take a few weeks.  I think the warmer your spot is, the better your chances of success.  You can’t leave it on a sunny, cold back porch and be sad when it failed.  It needs warmth and darkness.  By warmth, I’m not suggesting “heat”.  I’m thinking something similar to where you set your Thanksgiving rolls to rise. 

Once you get your mama SCOBY, you now have a SCOBY and your “starter”.  It's official. You can make a larger batch of Kombucha with this.

I would keep your first batch rather small, maybe half a gallon, because your starter is small and weak.  With each new batch you brew, it will become stronger and your “mama” will get bigger, thicker and more healthy. 

Thank you for stopping by my Little Shop of Horrors. 

If you found this helpful, please share.  I hope you'll follow my blog, over to the right. 

OH....and comment or ask questions.  I'm happy to help. I'm not a Kombucha pro.  I've been making mine since 1998.  I know a little, but I don't know everything.  

Oh Pooh, be fair.  Give it a chance.  It's good for you.
There's starving cats in China who would love this, ya know.

Encourage one another.
Be blessed and Be a Blessing.

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