Fantastic Kombucha

Along the road, I often encounter people who seek a kombucha starter, more commonly described as a S.C.O.B.Y. (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast). However, kombucha (the beverage) is the actual starter. Although the kombucha SCOBY assists in the fermentation process, padding the bacteria and yeast and providing them with her nutritious presence, she is the by-product of their action, similar to the vinegar making process.

This means you can grow your own SCOBY at home. If you purchase a bottle of kombucha (preferably something small batch or local), you can transfer it to a wide mouth jar, cover with a cloth, and wait 1 to 3 weeks. Ultimately, you will have a SCOBY to get started with larger batches of kombucha in your own kitchen. You may also find a kombucha SCOBY and some starter from a friend who brews at home.

Here are the tools, ingredients, and the how-to for making Kombucha at home:


Large stockpot



Glass or ceramic fermentation vessel (with spigot is ideal)


1 gal water (approximately)

1 c organic unrefined sugar

4 tablespoons black tea

herbs as you see fit for flavor

1 cup of kombucha

kombucha SCOBY


1) Heat half of the water in a pot with the sugar. Dissolve the sugar as your water comes to a boil; once it reaches a boil remove from heat.

2) Steep your tea and other herbs for 5 to 10 minutes.

3) Add the remaining water to your pot. This should allow the sweet tea to cool to a temperature that is comfortable to the touch. It’s very important that your tea not be above 100 F when the culture and SCOBY are introduced.

4) Pour sweet tea through mesh strainer into your fermentation vessel. Use a funnel to prevent tea from missing the container. Make sure you leave enough room for your culture and SCOBY.

5) Add the culture and SCOBY. Leave your to-be-kombucha in a temperature stable space, cover with a cloth and secure with a rubber band, and wait one to 3 three weeks or until a new SCOBY forms in a layer at the top of your brew.

6) Taste your kombucha weekly as the flavor intensifies. When it’s to your liking, bottle and refrigerate. Keeping your kombucha cool will pause the fermentation process. Don’t forget to save a SCOBY and one cup of kombucha for your next batch. Pass the other SCOBY on to a friend!

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 10.42.51 AM

Share your mothers with friends and family. Let them know about fantastic kombucha, and email us if you have any questions.

So we hear you have a new sourdough starter…

Thanks for taking interest in our starter. We are very lucky to have obtained it. We actually received this starter from a friend in Brooklyn, who got it from a friend who originally started it in Portland, OR, who lived in Brooklyn, but moved back to Portland, and is now en route to San Francisco. Funny how these things get around just as we do.


1) If you don’t plan on feeding your culture immediately, put it in the fridge to keep it stable.

2) As soon as your ready to feed your starter, put it in a larger jar and add 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water. Let it sit out for half a day and get excited from being fed.

3) That’s all you need to do to keep your new pet happy! Feed it once a week with equal parts flour and water. You can even let this one go longer than a week, as it’s a special strain and super resilient.

4) Remember, separation is natural. Once you leave your starter in the fridge for a while, a layer a water will appear on the surface.

Replace store bought yeast with your starter when making bread. Add it to the wet ingredients, and watch it bubble. This yeast is more slow acting during the rising stage, but so very worth it.

We hope you’ll love this starter as much as we do!


If you attended our workshop in San Diego, here is Tara’s favorite bread recipe, as requested:

The Mark Bittman No Knead:

I do a simpler version that is mostly different because I don’t have the whole cast iron thing going on.

3 cups flour (I like to do half rye and half wheat, but you can go any way you like)
1/4 tsp yeast (optional since you’re using sourdough – the rise time will take longer without)
1-2 tsp salt (flavor and something the cultures enjoy latching onto)

Those are your dry ingredients, and you can take them somewhere a crazier if you wish (i.e. cocoa powder)

Then the super fun stuff:
1.5 cups water
1/4 cup sourdough (less or more depending on your love for the sour)
It should get bubbly beaming beautiful. At this point you can stir in other wet ingredients, such as honey.

Slowly add it to your dry ingredients, mixing as you go. You’ll want the texture to resemble batter. Add more water if you need to get the desired texture.

Set the dough in a warm place for 12-24 hours.

After rise #1, do a little mixy-doo-da (add seeds, nut, dried fruit, whatever else suits your fancy at this point) and transfer it to your baking vessel. Let it rise for 6-12 hours, or until it nearly doubles in size, in the baking vessel.

Bake your bread at 350 F for one hour. Enjoy!