Making Kombucha

I have a new love and its name is kombucha.  It’s a fermented beverage, dating back thousands of years.  Yes, it kinda tastes like easter egg dye, but it’s fizzy and delicious at the same time.  And it’s full of probiotics and helps right all the wrongs in your GI tract if yours is like mine (i.e.; not moving).  I’ve drank it on and off for years, but recently got serious about drinking it routinely to see if it could help me feel better.  I figured it would just help me avoid eating a dozen prunes every night (no, I am NOT kidding) but it’s done a lot more than that!  Every morning I’d get up racked with pain.  It hurt to bend my fingers, hurt to stand up, hurt to hobble down the stairs.  I felt 100 years old, and I’ve felt this was since about 2006 (oddly, since I had Henry).

Speaking of hurting, it hurt every time I payed (avert your eyes, Dave) $3 a bottle for kombucha from Whole Foods.  But I love it so, and I swear it’s made my joint pain disappear and kept me from feeling like a snake that’s swallowed a barrel of rocks that needed to be blasted free by prune laden C4 on a nightly basis.  So instead of forking out a ton of money for it each week, I’ve decided to try my hand at making my own and I bought a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) off Etsy.  I followed the enclosed directions and improvised a bit, using hints from Modern Alternative Mama and Food Renegade.  Here’s how the SCOBY prep and incubation went down:

I brewed my tea. Some sites said it had to be green or black tea, some of the less…high maintenance sites said Lipton was fine. I am not high maintenance. I went with Lipton. Once water had boiled, before I added the tea bags to steep, I added 1/3 c. white sugar and stirred with a wooden spoon. Then added the tea bags, moved the pan to the counter top and let it come to room temperature.

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Oddly, it boiled, though watched.

The rest of my goods waiting to be mixed with the tea once it came to room temp. You can see the “mother” SCOBY in her package, my quart Mason jar and a funnel to get the tea in the jar.

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Mother and juice in a bag, Mason jar, funnel (duh)

SCOBY in the jar! *clap clap clap* SCOBY in the jar! *clap clap clap* (sung to the tune of “Turkey in the Straw)

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Sweet mother of SCOBY!

SCOBY from the top. Isn’t she pretty? No? Don’t you talk about my “mother” like that!

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This is not a "mushroom" mushroom, as my mother asked.

Adding the brewed sweetened tea to the SCOBY and liquid it came in. Sloppily, I might add.

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Do not pour and photograph simultaneously. Bad idea.

TADA!!! A coffee filter on top to keep bugs out, sealed with a rubber band and we’re done!

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Matches my countertops. It's a sign.

A closer look at the SCOBY in her new home. She should eventually float (I hope she’s not a witch – okay two people got that) but if she doesn’t, I think that’s okay too.

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I think the SCOBY is smiling at me.

This should be a before –> after –> after, after in my cup shot. My kombucha is SO DARK. I wonder if it will lighten? I can’t remember if the recipe calls for me to cut it with filtered water at the end. Who knows? Maybe I messed up. We’ll see.

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Delicious trio. Well, the last two are. The first remains to be seen.

It should take at a minimum, three days to brew. I smelled it today and it was still sweet, so I bet it will be closer to five, since we’re closing in on day two.

Next project: ginger beer!

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5 thoughts on “Making Kombucha

  1. Floating witches = Monty Python? ha ha! Good post :) I recently started making my own kombucha tea as well, though we have slightly different methods (check out mine: http://juliedupuis-naturalnomad.com/green-niackery/kombucha-101-benefits-and-preparation). Interesting that you were able to buy a full-grown mother. I got mine from a relative, but did a bit of research and found it could be ordered in powder form (add water and the culture will grow). There are so many things to learn about brewing kombucha! I am going to start experimenting with natural sweeteners like blueberry juice, and with other natural health boosters like ginger, etc. Looking forward to seeing what you experiment with… Now on to that post about ginger beer!

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