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:
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
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!
Share your mothers with friends and family. Let them know about fantastic kombucha, and email us if you have any questions. firstname.lastname@example.org