Homemade Kombucha - How To Start Your Own SCOBY!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

A longgggg time ago some of Adam's classmates and fellow AT friends asked if I could do a blog on how to start a batch of Kombucha.  Well I'm finally getting around to it and if you ask me this is a perfect time to start it because who after all wouldn't want to start making a nice refreshing drink for summer!  For those of you who loved science class in school and all the cool but disgusting experiments that it involved then you will love this.  For those who freak out about mold, slime or all things "germs"...well then you might have a little more difficulty with this.  I promise though that your gut biota will love it!  ;)

For those of you that have never heard of Kombucha (I first heard of it like a year ago) you probably have know idea what it is.  In fact, you might think the word sounds like something a young kid made up and decided to add to his or her vocabulary.  Kombucha in my own definition is a naturally carbonated  and fermented tea that contains living bacteria and yeast cultures that are beneficial for your gut health.  Yes, it pretty much is as disgusting as it sounds but once you get over that whole drinking live bacteria part(just like yogurt or kefir) it's a very tasty and refreshing drink! 

A few things to know before I give you the directions to grow your Kombucha SCOBY(Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) baby!  Yes Kombucha is sold in stores and no there are no issues with store bought Kombucha(cultures may be less active according to some).  The reason you want to make it yourself…it is very cheap compared to buying it (especially if more than one person in your family wants to drink it) and you get to control all the flavors (so your not limited to the flavors the store carries and the sky is your imagination)!!  One other pointer that I want to make is do not substitute ingredients for other ingredients...this is especially important in the beginning.  Meaning no substituting in a sweetener instead of real sugar and no substituting in a different tea than the black tea.  The sugar and black tea are needed as food for the SCOBY to ferment. Don't fret about the sugar or caffeine because it is the food for the SCOBY and isn't left in the end product.  So, no worries about the calories from sugar or the effect on insulin or anything!  Lastly, this is a living thing and it is bacteria so you need to make sure you are working with clean items (including your hands, dishes, and measuring utensils) and in a fairly clean environment.  You wouldn't want to start growing any bad bacteria! 

  • 1 qt mason jar
  • 1 qt water
  • 3 caffeinated black tea bags (preferably organic)
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 bottle original flavor store bough bottle of Kombucha 
  • 1 3"x3" piece of cloth (I cut up a clean t-shirt)
  • 1 rubber band

  1. If your mason jar isn't brand new I suggest sanitizing it first.  You do this by boiling a pot of water and then submerging the jar in the water (after the heat is turned off) and letting it sit for about 20 minutes.
  2. Boil a qt of water.  Once boiling turn the heat off and immediately add the sugar and tea bags.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Cover the pot and let sit out until the tea, sugar water becomes room temperature.  I usually just let it sit out all day or I'll start it in the evening let it sit over night and finish the next morning.  If the water is too hot it will kill all of the bacteria.
  4. Pour the original flavor Kombucha into a separate glass until there is only about an 1 1/2" remaining on the bottom.  If there are little things floating at the bottom try to keep them in the bottle(remnants of a previous SCOBY).
  5. Then take the bottle and what's remaining in it and pour it into the mason jar.
  6. Add the room temperature tea, sugar water until about an 1" from the top of the mason jar.
  7. Cover the top with a scrap piece of cloth (so it can breath but not let anything get into it) and a rubber band to hold it in place.
  8. Place in a dark, warm spot and just leave it be.  I put mine on the shelf in our front closet!  It will need to sit in the closet anywhere from 1 week to 3 weeks.  It all depends on how warm it is.  Basically you'll wait until you have a slimy kinda thick whitish form on the top.  It'll look kind of like the solid oil that has cooled on the top liquid oil in a jar.
  9. I encourage that you drink the Kombucha that you poured into a separate glass and Enjoy looking forward to your own brewed Kombucha! 

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