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Kombucha! Growing your own scoby

We started making kombucha a few months ago.  It's a fermented sweet tea beverage - you take sweet tea & add a culture called a scoby (or kombucha "mushroom").  After two weeks, the scoby has turned all the sugar into beneficial nutrients & added beneficial bacteria & yeasts (not the bad ones that take over your body & cause health problems), leaving you with a bubbly, tangy drink.   Normally you get a scoby from a friend, but I didn't have one, so I grew my own from a bottle of storebought kombucha (at $3.99/bottle, it was easy to decide to make my own, esp. considering it's no-brainer easy!).  Now I have kombucha in my home and should never run out or have to buy it again!

So here's what I did, for anyone who wants to try it:

  • Bought a bottle of GT's kombucha. Drank half. Put the rest in a glass on the counter.
  • Let it sit 3 weeks. Covered with a towel (that doesn't touch the liquid).   Room temp.  I understand many people get a scoby w/i a week doing this. I think I had one after a week, but it was so thin and translucent I didn't see it.  At 3 weeks, it was good and sturdy and thick.  It looks like a thin, slimy pancake.  I found it needs to be dark, so I keep a towel over the whole jar.
  • Made sweet tea (I used Nourishing Traditions' recipe: 3 quarts water, 4 bags organic tea, 1 cup organic sugar (Florida Crystals)). Let it cool in a gallon glass jar.  (must be black or green tea; no herbals)
  • Gently added the scoby & 1/2C of the kombucha I started with.
  • Let it sit 3 weeks. Dark place.  I think people brew their Kombucha Tea 7-30 days. At 68 degrees, I found that it took 3 full weeks to quit tasting like sweet tea & get to the wonderful flavor of the storebought drink.  At 78 degrees, it's taking more like 2 weeks.
  • Bottle and refrigerate - drink up!  I use old juice jars (glass!  kombucha's acidity should not be in a metal or plastic container).  Some people reuse beer bottles w/ lids from a brewing store.
  • Optional - Add diced ginger.  Put lid on and leave in the same brewing place for 2-3 more days.  This secondary fermentation will intensify the flavor & natural carbonation, while infusing it with a perfectly complementary ginger flavor.  I've tried ginger w/ orange peel & ginger-blueberry, too, but I like plain ginger the best.
W/ a little kombucha each day, my desire for bubbly, thirst-quenching drinks is totally satiated.  Yum!  Naturally probiotic drinks, including lacto-fermented ones like ginger beer, are what our taste buds are calling for when they want sharp/sweet & fizzy.  It's what our ancestors all over the world drank for millennia!

Every time you make kombucha you get a new ("baby") scoby.  I have lots of babies if anyone nearby needs one!

Information on the nutritional & probiotic content: http://www.happyherbalist.com/analysis_of_kombucha.htm
Articles about the history and health benefits of kombucha: http://www.kombu.de/english.htm
Excerpts from scientific analyses of kombucha: http://www.kombucha-america.com/page4.shtml

If you've never had it, start w/ a 1/4 cup or so, and drink a little more each day.  It's not a guzzling drink, more like a sipping one.  I drink about a cup a day.  If you're pregnant & are not already drinking it, don't start just yet.  :)

AMDG

Comments

( 36 comments — Comment )
(Anonymous)
May. 28th, 2008 10:18 pm (UTC)
Kowabunga - Kombucha!
Yay! Thanks for posting this. I still haven't ordered the book b/c I haven't finished totally cleaning off the Kombucha Kounter. This provides more incentive.
(Anonymous)
May. 7th, 2009 08:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Kowabunga - Kombucha!
Hi,
Thanks for the info. Actually I could use a scoby, how could I get one send to me,thanks a million
Erika
loveyourmother
May. 7th, 2009 09:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Kowabunga - Kombucha!
This post tells you how to make your own scoby from a store-bought bottle of kombucha! But if you don't have a health food or natural foods store around to get a bottle, there are places around the internet where you can either buy or ask for a freebie scoby instead. Try googling "share scobies" or something like that. Good luck!
(Anonymous)
May. 30th, 2008 10:26 pm (UTC)
doing it too.
we've been brewing it for almost a year now and love it too!!!
i never knew you could get your own scoby from gts. i would have started brewing it 4 years ago!
(Anonymous)
Jun. 5th, 2008 07:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Mater Crunchius, for the encouragement and info about kombucha. I am taking the get kombucha online course and will start brewing again soon. My first batch had a funny spot. I may be calling you for a new baby soon.
Peace,
D
(Anonymous)
Jun. 9th, 2008 12:40 am (UTC)
Scoby
I need to get a baby scoby from you - I wanna make the tea!
~Jen
PS I've really been enjoying your blog. I've almost got my hubby talked into buying a 1/2 cow from the place you recommended AND he let me spray the weeds with vinegar tonight (he wants to prove me wrong, LOL!) I can't remember how long it's supposed to take but I know it'll work.
loveyourmother
Jun. 9th, 2008 02:25 am (UTC)
Re: Scoby
LMK how the weeds go! I haven't tried it, but Laura said it works great!

I love kombucha for when I get a sugar craving. I don't know why, but it almost always seems to quench it.
(Anonymous)
Aug. 27th, 2008 01:58 am (UTC)
Where to buy a kombucha mushroom
Huh, that is very interesting. Well, I am a happy camper with my scoby I got from www.nicksnaturalnook.com. It's an ebay store, and they use only organic ingredients, so that was a nice peace of mind. You can buy kombucha mushrooms there and other interesting things. Check it out.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 11th, 2008 12:56 am (UTC)
Re: Where to buy a kombucha mushroom
I used to drink it daily about 12 years ago - a friend gave me the baby SCOBY and I drank it for about 4 years. My kids drank it too and I loved it. I had more energy and no more candida. When we moved, the mushroom didn't make it and I haven't found any since. I'll try your method if I can find some sauce.

Thanks bunches.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 15th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)
Growing my Own Mother Question
It seems like all posts I read on growing mother from scratch - say from a bottle of GT's Kombucha, it seems like the posts imply (or, that's what I'm getting out of it) that you just leave it out on the counter. Not in the dark like you do when you actually make Kombucha tea. Is this correct? If I grow my own mother will it matter whether it's in a light or dark place?

Thanks, all!
;)
loveyourmother
Mar. 16th, 2009 12:30 am (UTC)
Re: Growing my Own Mother Question
Check the second bullet point above - I found that mine grew much better once I covered the glass completely with a towel. In other words, as you might suspect, it was happier in the dark. HTH!
(Anonymous)
May. 26th, 2009 12:56 am (UTC)
buying a scobe
I'm interested in buying a scobe. Is there a good source you can suggest? I live in the San Jose, CA area.
loveyourmother
May. 27th, 2009 12:46 am (UTC)
Re: buying a scobe
I'm sorry; I have no idea! Try googling it. There are companies that sell them for big bucks, individuals selling them on craigslist, groups that offer them for free, and folks that trade them for kefir grains or some such.

Making one's super easy, though, if you can find the GT's, which is in most natural or health food stores. ;)
(Anonymous)
Jun. 30th, 2010 04:13 pm (UTC)
Re: buying a scobe
Hi, It's actually "SCOBY," which literally stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria & Yeast.
roadkillonrt3
Aug. 12th, 2009 03:04 am (UTC)
i know this is an old post but i have a question! when i brew black or green tea sometimes a film forms ontop on the tea as it sits. ive used papertowels to pick most of the film off but some was left in the tea. do you think this film could grow bacteria that could ruin the scoby? i left some tea in my room for a few days to a week and would see small bunches of mold growing on top- thats why i curious if the film will ruin my scoby. i think the film occurs because of the water in my area, but i am not really sure.

http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?t=1552
info on the film

i need an opinion! i dont know if i should leave it and see what happens or redo everything and just buy a gallon of bottled water. also, is it okay to use turbinado sugar?

thank you for any help/advice you can give me!
loveyourmother
Aug. 12th, 2009 01:27 pm (UTC)
From the link you gave, my guess would be it has to do with your water. You should absolutely use non-tap water to make kombucha, anyway. Once made, the acidity of the KT will take care of any competing bacteria, and any molds that start to form from that point can just be lifted off, if caught early. If it "goes bad," you'll be able to tell by sight or smell.

However, I'd recommend you google Dom's kombucha site and look for more info on kombucha safety. That film sounds weird! but is a tea issue, not a kombucha issue, it seems. I'm sorry I can't offer more help; you need a real kombucha expert, lol!
roadkillonrt3
Aug. 12th, 2009 03:49 pm (UTC)
i know! the film creeps me out sometimes :-p i used filtered water from our refrigerator, but id still trust bottled water over it. ill check out doms kombucha and ill probably just start over. thank you!!
loveyourmother
Aug. 12th, 2009 01:29 pm (UTC)
As far as the sugar, kombucha purists say it must be white sugar, although I don't buy that ancient folks were using white sugar, lol. I've heard that honey or whole sugar (sucanat/rapadura) will eventually ruin the scoby ... but by then you have a bunch of babies, anyway, so ...?

There are several webpages detailing folks who used less white sugars, so check it out and give it a go! :)
(Anonymous)
Aug. 15th, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
scoby not needed
You don't actually need a scoby to start a new batch, you only need the starter fluid from the last batch. A new scoby will form. It's more or less just a custom to use a scoby with the starter.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 21st, 2009 04:15 am (UTC)
Kombucha Brewing Videos
Hey guys,

I freakin love kambucha!~ I have searched the web for almost a year befoe I began brewing and the best info I have found (in terms of most practical and easily teachable) has been from this guy Dave at GetKombucha (http://www.getkombucha.com/) he also has free kambucha videos here (http://www.youtube.com/getkombucha).

hope this helps and happy home brewin!! I am saving a ton of money and it tastes better too :)
(Anonymous)
Oct. 25th, 2009 11:59 pm (UTC)
Brewing in the dark?
I've brewed over 250 batches of Kombucha now :)

LOVE it! Love the drink, my skin loves it as a facial toner, my hair loves it as a rinse.

BTW, you do not have to keep the brew in the dark. Light, sunlight, even, works as well.

I cover mine with a doubled over, and rubber banded on, muslin sort of cloth. Love the natural look.

Healing Blessings!
Ann
http://www.SoupMagic.com
(Anonymous)
Dec. 22nd, 2009 05:09 am (UTC)
Baby Scoby
So every time you brew a batch you get a baby scoby? What do you do with the baby? Do you put it in the next batch with the mother? It seems like after a while you'd have a jar full of scoby. How long does it take a baby to get 1/8 of an inch thick to begin brewing it's own batch?
(Anonymous)
Mar. 11th, 2010 12:41 am (UTC)
Re: Baby Scoby
This is LYM; I'm just too lazy to log in. Yes, you end up with a bunch of babies. I keep them in a little KT in a jar in the fridge and give them away and if I get too many, compost them. I've heard of some crazy uses for them, though, but I can't remember ... seems like there were some for facial care...

It took three weeks to grow my first scoby, but it was in full light, not covered, and in the winter. It formed much more quickly, in just a few days, the next time - covered, in a warmer house.
rubyspirit
Jul. 6th, 2010 02:47 pm (UTC)
Awesomeness ... I've been looking for a scoby, but now I'll grow my own. Smooches!!
(Anonymous)
Oct. 27th, 2010 04:29 am (UTC)
first scoby
I used homemade organic Kombucha from the neighborhood veggie restaurant, only two weeks came out about 1/2 inch thick! I live in high desert and it about 75 in the house. Looks fine smells like Kombucha. Just waiting for my sweeten tea to cool:)
Thanks.
(Anonymous)
Feb. 10th, 2011 07:08 pm (UTC)
Plastic or Glass
Kombucha brewing does NOT require finding specialty glass bottles to store it in. In fact, for new users, it's better to store it in PET bottles (like coke 2 liter bottles or smaller ones) so you can judge when the bottle gets hard with CO2. That will prevent any possible explosions. The argument about the 'acid leaching' is total nonsense, and besides, if it were true, then vinegar would not be able to be stored in plastic!
(Anonymous)
Feb. 11th, 2011 07:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Plastic or Glass
Go for it, bub; I know what water tastes like when it's kept in a plastic bottle. I don't consume vinegar stored in plastic, btw.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 3rd, 2012 09:49 pm (UTC)
baby Scoby
I just got a baby scoby, needs to grow a little thicker. Do I just leave it in the liquid I received it in for a week or so more? Once it is thick enough, should I follow your instructions (scoby + sugar + GTS + tea). Thanks!
PlasticfreeBeth
Mar. 12th, 2012 06:41 pm (UTC)
Can I use flavored kombucha?
Hi. The store-bought kombucha I have is Revive brand, which contains lemon juice and vanilla and almond extracts. Do you know if this will work or does it have to be plain, unflavored kombucha?

Thanks. I know this is an old post. Hope you are still answering questions. Cheers!

Beth
Andrea H.
Sep. 6th, 2012 01:25 am (UTC)
A scoby
Hello!

I want to start making kombucha and am located in Stanford CA. Could you possibly send me a scoby or are you in the area?

Thanks!
Andrea
loveyourmother
Sep. 6th, 2012 03:09 am (UTC)
Re: A scoby
Hi, Andrea! I'm not anywhere close, but try googling for scobies local to you, or buying a bottle of non-"Enlightened" GT's. Good luck!
Andrea H.
Sep. 7th, 2012 01:05 am (UTC)
Re: A scoby
Thank you!
(Anonymous)
Oct. 23rd, 2012 05:25 pm (UTC)
Is tea essential to make Kombucha?
I notice that many kinds of GTS kombucha don't list black or green tea as an ingredient. I don't buy the kinds that do contain tea because I don't want caffeine.

Is there any reason I can't make kombucha with just a scoby, water, and sugar?

Thanks for your efforts!

loveyourmother
Oct. 23rd, 2012 05:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Is tea essential to make Kombucha?
Fascinating question! To my knowledge, without tea, it's not kombucha. The caffeine in tea is nowhere close to the amount needed to cause problems in most people, but that will be an individual decision. Sounds like you should look into water kefir! Just grains & some kind of (at least minimally sweet) juice.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 12th, 2013 02:21 am (UTC)
More!!!
Could I double the batch???? Thanks

Sarahann774
loveyourmother
Mar. 12th, 2013 02:43 am (UTC)
Re: More!!!
Most definitely!
( 36 comments — Comment )

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