My days of buying $3 bottles of deliciously addictive kombucha are over! Now that I’ve learned how easy it is to make my own, I’m not going back. You see, about a month ago I bought a kombucha starter kit for Jeremy and myself: (1) as a fun thing for us to try together and (2) because it was getting to the point where he was buying a bottle nearly every day. That adds up. The kit cost $18 dollars and included a SCOBY (stands for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast…yum?), a huge ginger pear tea bag, enough organic sugar for the first batch, and detailed instructions. I also had to buy a gallon-sized glass jar.
I ended up with about 7 bottles-worth of kombucha, which would normally cost $21 dollars! So I pretty much broke even on the first batch. Future batches just require extra tea bags and sugar.
The verdict? Delicious. The only downside is that each batch takes about a month, so I’ve got to be patient :)
Here are kombucha-making instructions as I understand them:
1. Get a SCOBY. They are sometimes also referred to as “mothers”. This is what makes the kombucha magic happen. You can buy them in kits, like I did, or ask for a piece from someone who’s already on the kombucha train.
2. Bring a gallon (16 cups) of water to a boil on the stove. Add 8-10 tea bags. You can use black, green, or herbal teas. Brew tea according to package instructions, being careful not to over-brew black and green tea as this will make it bitter.
3. Add 1 cup of sugar and dissolve. This is what my kombucha-making kit recommends, but I might decrease the amount a bit for future batches. The sugar is important to feed the SCOBY and the final product will contain less sugar than you’d think because the SCOBY will digest a lot of it. I’m just trying to figure out what works for my tastebuds right now.
4. Pour the tea into a very clean gallon-sized glass jar and cover with a clean cloth. Remember, this is going to sit out at room temperature for up to a month and so you really want to avoid any bad bacteria growth. My understanding is that the SCOBY helps to fend off bacteria growth but I’ve seen people end up with moldy kombucha batches before. You’ll know it’s bad mold if it’s powdery, dusty, or a different color than your SCOBY. Cover the jar with a clean cloth so that the kombucha can breath.
5. Let the tea come to room temperature. This can take a couple of hours but don’t put the SCOBY into too-hot liquid. You don’t want to fry the little guys! Once it’s cool, add the SCOBY, cover with a clean cloth attached with a rubber band, and find a spot for it to hang out for 2-4 weeks. The ideal spot would be warm (maybe close to a heater vent) and out of the way so you can avoid getting weird looks from visitors. The longer it sits, the less sweet and the more “vinegary” it will get. We like ours on the vinegary side so we went for 4 weeks.
6. Enjoy your kombucha and share pieces of your now fully-grown SCOBY with friends!
In other news, today was the perfect Saturday. It was the beginning of my 3-day weekend, meaning that schoolwork pressure was off! I went to an amazing yoga class this morning, baked some peanut butter cookies (recipe forthcoming!), walked the dog, and cleaned the apartment and went shopping with Jeremy. Now it’s 8:30 at night, so I guess I could get started with some reading for class…
Does anyone else out there make their own kombucha? Are there any flavor combinations or techniques I should try next?