7/19/10

Kombucha, Baby!


Hi everyone! Hope you are all healthy and happy!

Well, another post, another... science experiment:)

I feel a bit like a mad scientist in the happy raw kitchen lately. It was so much fun making fermented nut cheese, I actually got brave enough to try my hand at making kombucha!

It is something I wanted to do for quite a while now. Anyone who loves this wonderful brew knows it can get quite expensive to buy commercial bottles of kombucha. But now there is a sort of kombucha shortage due to recent concerns of "slightly elevated" alcohol levels contained in one particular brand. This shortage gave me the little push needed to brew my own:)

There is so much info about making your own kombucha, but most methods seemed simple enough. Make a sweetened tea, and add a SCOBY(Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast) "mother". After making the mixture, just let it sit for a while. So easy!

Michelle and Lori make it look really easy:)

Wait...add a SCOBY???!!! I have heard you can usually get a "baby" one from a friend.

Hmmmm...That might be a little problem. As much as I love living in the middle of nowhere, I doubt any of the chipmunks around here have a SCOBY to share with me. Of course they can be bought on the internet, but there is another way to obtain the precious SCOBY.

Make your own SCOBY from a bottle of commercial kombucha! YAY!

I grew my very own SCOBY, after watching this video.

This method looks even easier!

Here is what I used:

Equipment: Pot for boiling water, wooden spoon, 1/2 gallon mason jar, new clean handkerchief.

Ingredients:
6 cups water, 6 tea bags 6 tablespoons of sugar, one bottle of Pure Essence kombucha.

Method:
1. Boil 6 or 7 cups of water, and remove from heat.
2. Add 5 or 6 tablespoons (approx 1/3 cup) sugar and stir until dissolved.
3. Steep 6 tea bags for 12 minutes.
4. Cool the tea.
5. Add a commercial bottle of raw kombucha to a big jar, and pour in the cooled tea.
6. Cover jar with a clean cloth, secured it with just the ring from the top, and let it sit, undisturbed and out of direct sun.
7. Wait......... :)

All the sites for making kombucha stressed how important it is to have everything very clean, so I washed and rinsed everything very well. We have well water, so I boiled it for a few minutes before adding the sugar and tea bags. So, I was a little concerned, and thought it was the dreaded mold when I saw a dark mass of something floating on top after two days. I was going to dump it, but let it go a while just to see what would happen.

That same night there was a thin white film floating on the top of the tea.

The third day, the lumpy thingy was about the same, but the white layer was a little thicker. There were also bubbles forming all around the perimeter.

By the fourth day the white layer was even thicker...and the dark blob was actually lifting the film a bit,

and even looked back at me!

I was still concerned, and searched the internet for more information. I sent a few pictures to a really nice person, Todd, who has a blog about kombucha, and had made a SCOBY from a bottled kombucha. He answered me right away, and said the pictures looked like a healthy SCOBY. I was so surprised and excited. Thank you, Todd! He said to taste it at this point, but it was still sweet like tea.

It also dawned on me around this time that it was July, not June like the sticker on the jar said:)

I left it for a few days longer, just a week total, and tasted it again. This time it was slightly sour and had more bubbles.

OMG, kombucha!

It really tasted good, and was quite bubbly:)

This all happened really quickly...everything I heard or read said it would take a few weeks, but here is what I think happened...

The room where the jar was is very warm and quiet. You are supposed to use only plain green, black or white tea, to start. I went to a tea and health food store to pick up some plain tea, and the lovely girl there said she had used Yogi brand kombucha tea to make her kombucha, so I bought some.

Also, I made a little mistake, and only used a half gallon jar, so the mixture was stronger than it would have been in a gallon jar like the video.*

*uh, never mind that last sentence :)...it was a 64 ounce jar in the video...yup, a half gallon like I used.

My Serendipity Kombucha:)

Here is Momma:)

And a better look at the lumpy thingy:

I reserved the mother and 1 cup of brew for my next batch, and filled 3 bottles (hubby's saved beer bottles). You can find bottles like these easily online or at local home-brew stores. They even come in a gorgeous cobalt blue:)

I used 1/2 cup of a different sugar, and the black and green tea this time. I used the Florida Crystals sugar because it is organic and vegan. As you probably know, some white granulated sugar is not vegan. Click here to see a few vegan and non-vegan brands of sugar. I will keep you posted about the new brew:)

Quick update on day 10...new batch has a nice, thicker SCOBY:

Is making lots of bubbles:

And seems quite happy:)

I know some of you may have made your own kombucha, but if you haven't and want to, give this a try. It is so easy, you won't believe it!

Here are a few great resources for making your own kombucha. I will probably add new links on this post as I find them.

Kombucha making basics from eat living food (PDF)

Kombucha Journal...30 languages and The Worldwide Kombucha Exchange.

The Happy Herbalist

Kombucha Kamp


15 tips for making kombucha.

Troubleshooting/Balance

Kombucha Unveiled

Click the links below to answer some FAQs about kombucha:

Organic-Kombucha.com

Kombuchatea.wordpress.com


Cultures for Health

Sulis Health

Kombucha America


Funny Kombucha links :)

Adorable toddler Noelle eats a SCOBY!

SCOBY gone wild!

Are you a kombucha fan???

20 comments:

bitt said...

Great post! I am going to get into making it due to the cost and only one place around here still selling it. I am worried they will stop too, since that seems to be the trend. Luckily, I have sources for a scoby...lots of homebrewers in Seattle. Someone mailed me one once, it holds up fine.

kelli said...

woohoo!!! i just made another batch of kombucha today, and my last batch is in the fridge, bubbly and ready to be consumed!(great minds DO think alike!=)

it's great that you were able to make your own scoby. i will be posting about my kombucha-making soon and will definitely link to your post for starting with a bottle. so happy it worked out for you!=)

happy kombucha sipping!

Elizabeth said...

This would be a great homeschool science experiment for my kids!!!
I have never had the stuff. I'd have to use a sweetner other than sugar, wonder what would work??
Peace and Raw Health,
Elizabeth
PS Thanks for stopping by my blog!!

VeganLisa said...

Success! I love the GT Kombucha I tried when I was in NYC - especially the ginger flavour. I would love to try to recreate it at home. Thanks for sharing all of your tips.

Pure2raw twins said...

Your scoby looks great! yay for homemade kombucha...it is so easy!!! Glad you liked it!!
Pure2raw twins

Pam said...

Nope sorry not a fan..lol! Fan of your bloggie though my dear! Does that count?..lol!

You did a wonderful job and will help so many that do love the mojo...ha!

Have a great day!

xoxo

La Mama Naturale' said...

Woohoo! Excellent news... a homemade SCOBY...YES! Thanks for sharing, Angela! Your reused kombucha bottles are marvy and the liquid inside the jars looks tasty to me! ;P

Robin said...

I've most definitely been feeling the kombucha shortage, but I assumed that making it would be enormously difficult. You've inspired me to try it myself! I had no idea that you could use a purchased bottle oof the delightful stinky tea as a stater! Thanks!

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said...

I JUST posted an hour ago on an oak barrel i just bought for my booch making. I am getting serious about it! And I just started home brewing about 4 weeks ago. I have a link in my post to my previous posts on it and tomorrow I will have more kombucha stuff up, too. I have been LOVING making it! If you have any questions at all & wanna try me, i am here to help..but am still new myself but have been having good luck and it's been so fun!

evergreen said...

Thanks for your support and excitement everyone!

@bitt...I hope you will be posting when you do :)

@kelli...ha! we have been on the same page a few times now:) I look forward to your kombucha post :)

Hi Elizabeth...I think the kids would love it! I added some links for FAQ's about kombucha you can check out for a sugar sub...HTH :)

@VeganLisa...I love the flavored kombucha, and will be experimenting in the future with additions to the mix. I hear pineapple ginger is really good!

Pure2rawtwins...Thanks so much for the encouragement, and inspiring me to try it!

Awww, thanks Pam...of course that counts {{{HUGS}}}

La Mamma Naturale'...thanks for being so excited and glad you like the bottles:) I had them saved for so long and was glad to find the perfect use for them.

Hi Robin...I hope you do try it and post about it :) There was nothing to it, really!

Hi Averie...Thanks so much for offering to help! It is very much appreciated:) Making kombucha is so much fun!!!

Wow! Your new set-up looks incredible! What a way to brew:)

Julia said...

So happy it went so well for you! I love kombucha and now that I've seen both you and Averie do it i might just be feeling brave enough to give it a try.

bitt said...

Just got my scoby! I am going to be doing all green tea this time. I have the local kombucha guru helping me out.

evergreen said...

Hi Julia:) It's really fun, and I bet the boys would be interested in watching it happen:)

Yay bitt!!! I look forward to seeing your progress. You are so lucky to have your own local kombucha guru!

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Nelly said...

how did i miss this post??? i REALLY want to make my own kombucha...and will be making my own scoby...so THANK YOU for this post...truly truly appreciate it!! you are such an amazing woman!! love you!!!

<3

Fayinagirl (means Free One) said...

Look at you go girl! I haven't tackled kombucha making yet. But I am going to make some more sauerkraut today (do I get brownie points?) ;-) LOL!

xoxo

Lauren said...

I've always wanted to make my own Kombucha!! I hope I get a chance too after the baby comes! :)

Tanya said...

This was so helpful!! Last Oct I searched for good recipes but got confused and stopped. This was perfect. Thanks for the links to the other as well. YAY!!! I am going to try it.

Liza said...

OMG fellow home-brewer! I was recently introduced to Kombucha and love it like everyone else. I was in the store spending all of my pennies on a few bottles and a lady was so excited to share with me that you can do it yourself out of your RAW bottle. Umm really, so I researched and decided it was time. Your pictures are so helpful because my little lady is looking just like yours after the 2nd day and I was concern just like you. But now I will continue to see how she does. Thank you so much for the post. It is a great help and encourager.

Frederika Maria said...

I can't wait to start my own Kombucha. I've been doing Water Kefir for a week now and i'm loving it! Fermenting is so much fun. Thanks for the tips!

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