~It’s so easy, all it takes is time
Making Kombucha is actually an easy process but there is quite a lot of info to share so I’ll be breaking it down into 3 posts. Today I’ll show you how to make your own SCOBY – Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria & Yeast.
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Kombucha is a healthy drink made from fermented tea. It’s packed full of probiotics, enzymes, vitamins and minerals. This can be helpful for so many issues; it’s great for your gut, helps inflammation, IBS, brain function the list could go on and on. It took me a while to be brave enough to make my own because I really don’t care for the store-bought stuff; it doesn’t really taste nice to me so I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go through all the trouble of making my own if it was just going to taste bad.
Disclaimer – I am not a doctor. The information I’m sharing is through my own research and beliefs. Consult your doctor before starting any new health regimens.
Turns out I had nothing to worry about because, to me, homemade is 100 times better!!
So I’ve been brewing kombucha for a while now. I started by trying to grow my own SCOBY. I researched and read and figured it was easy; well I went through a few different batches with a couple of different recipes and waited and waited. Nothing happened! NOTHING!!
Finally, I decided to bite the bullet and go find a SCOBY. I got one from someone in town through an online ad. After I started brewing my own kombucha and it’s so delicious and healthy but the fact that I couldn’t make my own SCOBY was nagging on me, especially since so many people have had success!
So, I decided I’d try again. With the other recipes I have tried they required a bottle of unpasteurized kombucha as well as other ingredients – sweet tea, extra sugar etc. This time all I did was get a bottle of organic, unpasteurized, live kombucha, I transferred it to a wide mouth mason jar and covered it with a clean cloth secured with a rubber band, left it on the counter and waited…and waited.
This is day 1
I used a bottle of flavoured kombucha. They say it’s best to use unflavoured but that was too hard to find so I gave the flavoured one a shot and it worked out fine.
This is after a week
In my previous attempts with other recipes, I didn’t notice anything happening. So seeing this clear film was super exciting!
This is after about 2 weeks
It’s definitely clear that there is a pellicle (SCOBY) forming!
This is after about 3 weeks
It’s working so well and I’m excited! I do have to warn you though it smells terrible – like dirty feet and apple cider vinegar. Awful, so bad!! (don’t worry though you won’t be drinking this in the end!)
This is at about 4.5 weeks
There is actually another pellicle forming, which I didn’t know could/would happen but that’s ok with me!
This is after about 5.5 weeks
There are actually 2 in there ready to brew!!
I wasn’t really sure where to go from here; so this is what I did and it worked so I’ll share it with you.
Using your new SCOBY~
With clean hands (rinse with white vinegar to make sure there’s no soap residue to harm your new SCOBY) remove the SCOBY and put it in a clean container with about 1/2 cup of the liquid – that will be your starter for the next batch. Put them in a clean glass container, cover with a clean cloth and set aside.
Now, if you’re using a standard mason jar like mine brew about 2 cups of tea. Use 2 tea bags (black, white or green) Personally I like the flavour of orange pekoe so that’s what I used. Add 2 tbsp of a sugar of your choice – stay away from sweeteners, honey, syrups. Real sugar is best.
Once the tea has cooled to room temperature put it in the mason jar with the SCOBY and the starter. Cover it with a clean cloth and secure it with a rubber band and let it brew! I let it brew for 5 days and then repeated the process. I used that one as a test brew and discarded the liquid after keeping some starter. It was still too vinegary for me – as I said the liquid that grew the SCOBY smelled bad and I felt as though that had come through in the first brew. By the end of the second brew, it was amazing!
On to the flavouring~
Once the second batch is made you can flavour it with whatever flavouring you like. I like to use fruit juice or nectar but you can use herbs, teas, pieces of fruit – use your imagination and experiment!! It’s really fun – some are fantastic and some are not but it’s fun to try! This is the second ferment or F2. I’ll get into that more in my next post.
After that second batch in the mason jar, I made the next batch in a bigger vessel – 4 litres. The SCOBY was only the width of the mason jar but luckily they grow to fit the space they’re in! Just be sure to use the appropriate amount of starter tea and it’ll work perfectly.
That’s all it takes to make your own SCOBY – A bottle of live Kombucha, a jar, and patience! I’ll go more into flavouring and bottling next time. Have fun!