I made it…and it actually tastes great.
I’m surprised because usually it takes me a solid 3 times before I succeed at making just about anything.
I actually thought for sure that I blew this. My ‘bucha started growing something white on top and I thought it was mold. Turns out, it was another scoby. I guess I should have figured as much, but I was thinking the baby scoby grew underneath the surface of the kombucha and only mold grew on top. No mold here though! Win!
Let’s start from the beginning: I bought a little kombucha kit from a local health food store (Natural Grocers-I think they’re around Colorado, not sure where else). It came with a scoby in a little plastic bag and some black tea bags. The only thing I needed to provide was the sugar, container for brewing, and a towel to cover the brewing container.
Long story short, it sat in my pantry for like, 5 months and I continued to buy store bought bottles of kombucha. My favorite, GT’s, is delicious by the way. Delicious, but expensive. They usually range somewhere between $2.65-3 something. So, they add up.
Finally, for some reason, I decided to go for it. I ordered a 1-gallon USDA Fermentation Glass Jar from Amazon (about 10 bucks) and some Chef’s Star CASE OF 6 – 16 oz. EASY CAP Beer Bottles – CLEAR to get started. Looking back, I wish I would have just kept the glass GT’s bottles and used them to bottle up the ‘bucha but it slipped my mind. So, if you have glass bottles from old drinks, keep those around for bottling yours (if you brew it).
Then I got started. It was really pretty easy. I brewed the tea bags in a stock pot then once it started boiling, turned the heat off and let it sit until the tea was room temperature.
Once it was, I added the sugar and mixed until it dissolved. Then, I poured the tea into my gallon jar and added the scoby. I covered the jar with a breathable kitchen towel and fastened it with a rubber band.
Next comes the most complicated part…at least for me. So, apparently, kombucha should brew for like, 15-30 days depending on your taste. Before it ferments, it tastes like sweet tea. Somewhere after 15-30 days, it should taste more like kombucha. If you let it ferment longer, the less sweet it will be.
The key to fermentation though, is the correct temperature. I started my jar off in our garage because it is heated and generally dark . I stuck it next to our water heater. After 15 days, I tried it, and it tasted very sweet to me. We let it ferment for another 10 days. I tried it again and it was still very sweet. So, I moved it upstairs onto the floor (it is heated).
It did grow a scoby (as you can see), but was pretty sweet.
After another 5 days, there was no difference. I wasn’t getting the temperature quite warm enough. Luckily, my husband had a heating pad to start growing seedling plants on. So, I took the kombucha back downstairs, placed it on the heating pad, and covered it with a box that I poked holes in. So, now it was definitely warming up more AND was consistently staying in the dark. Finally, my kombucha was ready!
I think we grew like, 3 scoby’s (unless I’m wrong..I’m a beginner).
So, I think overall it took like 35 or so for this batch. Once it was done, I bottled it up in the bottles I bought and actually let the bottles sit out for a few more days. Apparently, doing so adds more carbonation.
As for the scoby: we took the new scoby and 2 cups of the new kombucha and placed it in the fridge to use for the next batch. We tossed the other scoby’s because I didn’t really know what to do with them. Looking back, I wish I would have kept them because I could brew more.
As we speak I have my second batch brewing downstairs. I can already see the new scoby growing on top! Yay!
My husband was really curious about this scoby business. I have to say, it’s pretty bizarre. He actually tried taking a bite out of it (because he’s disgusting) and it was like pure rubber. It’s funny we just saw on Bizarre Foods (anyone else watch that?) that some guy sliced up a scoby and fried it! Ha. I guess anything is good fried.
I’m pretty excited about this little kombucha experiment. I’d love to add some pureed fruit to my next batch.
Yessssss to homemade kombucha!!
Have you ever made kombucha? Any fun flavor variations?