making kombucha

Today is the day my latest batch of kombucha is mature enough to drink, so I thought I’d show you how it’s made, since I always make my next batch when the old one is ready.  Anyone who knew me as a child will be shocked that I would consent to consume this.  It starts off as really strong tea (I use lipton) with a lot of sugar, and grows into something that looks like this:

finished kombucha, note the culture floating on top

But really it’s not so different from other fermented or cultured things, like beer or yogurt.  Actually, the culture is referred to as a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast).

straining the scoby and it's babies out of the kombucha

So, this scoby is not to be confused with our good friends the Scobies, who, while being quite symbiotic camping companions, are human and don’t live in a jar.

seperating the mother scoby from the 'baby', which will be used for another batch. each scoby is good for several processes

This is the fun part.   Before I strain my kombucha I make a vat of really strong really sweet tea.  My recipe is 1 1/2 gallons water, 10 regular tea bags, and 2 2/3 cups sugar.  I boil the water with the sugar and steep the tea for 15 minutes.

future kombucha

This tea will be my next batch of kombucha (that’s why the caption says ‘future kombucha, duh).  It will be cooled down to room temperature before I add it to my kombucha culture, or the culture will die.

these are my fermenting jars. the culture is floating in a cup or so of finished kombucha, 'starter liquid'

To this I add the cooled tea.  The culture usually floats to the top of the liquid, but sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes it will after a few days.  No matter.  If the culture does not float up, the working kombucha will begin to show a skin across the top (the new mother) after a few days.  If the culture does float up, I will wind up peeling it off the new culture like in the previous picture of well, peeling the cultures apart.

these cultures floated right up to the top

I’ve added the cooled tea to the jars with the culture and starter liquid.  In about 2 weeks this will be more finished kombucha and I’ll do it all over again.  I have extra cultures now, and I may decide to make a batch in a week using green tea, depending on how quickly we go through this batch.

I use cheesecloth to keep bugs and particulate matter from falling into my working kombucha, since it needs to breathe.

And now we can drink some.  I guess at this point, I should share with you all why I do this.  Kombucha is a detoxifier.  I have read all sorts of outrageous claims about it, like it cures cancer, and I don’t know if I really believe that, but I do believe it has enzymes and living particles that are beneficial to the gut and for balancing the ph of the blood.  If you know more about it, I’m happy to learn more, but at the present moment don’t care enough to go looking it up and fussing over it. I like how it tastes, as long as I don’t forget about it and let it turn vinegarey.  I try to have at least a cup a day.

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9 thoughts on “making kombucha

  1. Wow , what a process E. I think i may just have to stick to buying it, lol. And color me shocked that you use Lipton 😉

    1. I am not sure I’ve ever heard any reason not to buy Lipton, and since we have to eat every day, several times, I have to make choices about what to spend the most money on. We even tried buying laura lynn tea at one time but it really sucked.

      1. Just figured you would be drying out your own lemon balm and whatever for your own teas, that all. 🙂

      2. staci, the tea has to be real tea, not herbal, but the real camellia sinensis (not certain of the spelling) black or green kind, the kombucha needs the tannins in it, apparently. I buy good tea when I go to amazing savings and can find it, otherwise, I can’t always afford the good kind.

  2. That is so interesting! I had no idea what this was at all. I think your blogs are really informative and cool.

  3. Never heard of this. You are truly into it all! Going to try and find some locally for my little husband and me, hoping it will healthen us up!(my word of the day)

  4. Loving your blog! Would you ever consider selling or trading a SCOBY? I had one, but for some reason every batch of my kombucha had a strange, funky taste. Finally I decided the culture had something going on with it, so I reluctantly threw it out.

    1. I will have some extra cultures that I can trade next week or so, what did you have in mind? I have used a couple of different recipes, and the stronger the sugar solution in the tea, the stronger the kombucha. You may have been using a recipe that made it taste different than you wanted.

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