Grow Your Own Kombucha SCOBY!
Hey My friends! These past few weeks, I’ve been playing with an experiment in the kitchen… growing my own scoby from a bottle of store-bought kombucha! If you’re wondering what the heck a scoby is and why anyone would wanna grow one, check out my previous post on kombucha. For those who are already lovin’ the ‘bucha, you’re gonna wanna check this out!
If you want to brew your own kombucha at home you’re gonna need a scoby (aka kombucha mother, aka kombucha “mushroom”). This symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, comes together to create a rubbery disc known as a zoogleal mat. This mother is the main ingredient to get brewin’. Traditionally you’d need to either purchase a scoby from one of the many kombucha farms online or get a hold of a spare one from a friend who brews. But, with this simple technique, you can grow your own using a bottle of kombucha from the store!! You can just hear that bottle of Synergy in Whole Foods’ fridge case singin’ … “I’m a scoby in a bottle baby, gotta rub me the right way honey..” or maybe that’s just what I hear? Oh well, Allons-y!
To get scoby growin’ you’ll need ~
A non-reactive pot to brew your kombucha’s tea (I say kombucha’s tea, because this is the tea your kombucha is goin’ to eat) like a stainless steel or glass enamel coated canning pot.
1 large gallon(or 2 gal) glass jar to use as a brewing vessel (no porcelain or stainless steel. Kombucha produces digestive acids to consume the sugars in the tea solution and if you use porcelain or any metal as a brewing vessel, these acids will leach harmful elements from them. No good.)
12 cups of filtered or fresh spring water. Avoid distilled or water packaged in plastic containers as they most likely have leached plastic elements that you and your kombucha culture don’t want.
Organic cane or turbinado sugar. You can use plain white sugar from the store and it will work, but organic is best and the cost of using the best sugar is so worth it! The kombucha get’s synthetic chemical free sugar and you get more nutrients in your finished brew. Win, win and win for the environment!
Bagged or loose leaf green or black tea. You can do mix of the two and or you can use white tea or rooibos tea. There are other potential teas that can be used, but you may want to avoid herbal teas that have antibacterial properties such as Pau D Arco, Una De Gato, or peppermint as they may negatively affect the good bacteria in your brew.
A wooden or bamboo spoon to stir the sugar in your brewing tea. Plastic or metal may leach elements into the hot tea that could harm your culture.
A piece of cloth, wash cloth or t-shirt remnant and a rubber band. This will be used to create a breathable cover for your brewing vessel. Covering your culture is essential to preventing airborne mold spores and fruit flies (which adore kombucha) from getting in and contaminating your brew.
Clean hands and a freshly cleaned work surface. Reduces the likeliness of any unwanted critters in your brew.
1 bottle of unpasteurized kombucha from the store. GT’s Synergy and High Country’s ‘bucha works great! Go for the original or unflavored. The High Country is all flavored, so I went for one without fruit and used their ‘Wild Root’ brew. Awesome stuff!
Now to start the culture, boil 12 cups of filtered water in your pot. Turn off the heat and stir in 1 cup of organic sugar until dissolved. Turn on heat and bring the solution back to a boil. Switch off the heat and toss in 1 tablespoon of loose tea leaves (or three tea bags) and allow to steep and cool overnight. This is important because adding your kombucha culture to hot tea will doom it, so be patient grasshopper. Now pour that sugar tea base into the brewing vessel, gently pour in your bottle of kombucha, cover over with cloth and rubber band, and store in a dark place where it won’t be shaken or moved for 3-5 weeks. And you should end up with this adorable thing! :0)
Happy brewin‘ my friends! ~ Rory :0)