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.
6 cups water, 6 tea bags 6 tablespoons of sugar, one bottle of Pure Essence kombucha.
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.
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
15 tips for making kombucha.
Click the links below to answer some FAQs about kombucha:
Cultures for Health
Funny Kombucha links :)
Adorable toddler Noelle eats a SCOBY!
SCOBY gone wild!
Are you a kombucha fan???