I made my first batch of kombucha and I made it all from a SCOBY that I grew myself! The word SCOBY stands for “Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast” and some people refer to it as the “mushroom” (even though it is NOT a fungus) or as the “mother”. I caught myself calling it all three of these things as it was fermenting. You can purchase a mother from a shop/person that specializes in growing them or you can get one from a friend. My method will teach you how to grow your very own.
For the SCOBY, you will need:
- A large pot
- A wooden spoon (or you can use a spoon from your silverware set, but NO PLASTIC)
- 1 glass jar (NOT plastic)
- 1 hand towel
- 4 black tea bags
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1 bottle of Raw Original flavored Kombucha (I used GT’s and found this at my local co-op)
- 5-6 cups of water
- 1 rubberband
Heat the water to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and stir in sugar with wooden spoon. Don’t worry with the amount of sugar you use for the kombucha, it’s for the culture to consume, not you. Sugar levels decrease with the amount of time the kombucha ferments. Anyways, stir the sugar until completely dissolved. Add the tea bags and let steep for 10 minutes. Remove tea bags. Let the tea cool down to room temperature. Allow the bottle of kombucha you bought to get to room temperature as well. Once both the tea and kombucha are at room temperature, mix the two together and put in glass jar. Cover the kombucha with the towel. The towel should allow the batch to breath but should also allow no contaminants (bugs, dust, etc.) inside. The rubberband is used to keep the towel in place over the jar. Put it in a dark area and let it sit for 3 weeks or until it’s 1/4 inch thick. You can let it sit longer and let it get thicker, but that isn’t necessary.. If mold forms on top, THROW THE BATCH OUT AND START OVER. If mold does happen to form, it might have something to do with the environment that you are fermenting in. Or it could just be an unfortunate batch!
NOW YOU’RE READY TO MAKE YOUR FIRST BATCH OF KOMBUCHA!
This is what the SCOBY looked like after 1 1/2 weeks:
This is what the SCOBY looked like after 3 weeks:
How to make your first batch of Kombucha:
Making your first batch of kombucha is strikingly similar to the same method you used to make your SCOBY. The only thing different is the time you spend fermenting and the measurements that you use.
Here’s what you need:
- wooden spoon
- large pot
- 15 cups of water
- 8 bags of black tea
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 cups of starter kombucha from last batch or store bought kombucha (make sure it is raw if you use store bought)
- 1 scoby
- 1 gallon glass jar
- kitchen towel
Bring water to a rolling boil. Remove water from heat and stir in sugar until dissolved. Add tea bags and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Remove tea bags. Let the tea cool down to room temperature. Mix the tea and the starter kombucha. Place the mixture in the jar. Add the SCOBY to the mixture. Cover top of the jar with a kitchen towel and put rubberband around it to “seal” it off. Place in a dark place for 7-10 days (depending on how you prefer your kombucha, let it sit the maximum amount of days–10–if you prefer it more vinegar-y or 7 if you prefer it to be mild). I prefer mine to be a stronger kombucha taste, so I let it sit for 10 days. Now you are ready to bottle.
My recipe for Apple Pie Kombucha:
- Eight 16-oz mason jars
- 2 apples, chopped into 1 inch cubes
- 8 inches of ginger, chopped up to distribute evenly in each jar
- 16 cinnamon sticks, 2 in each jar
- 8 tablespoons of maple syrup
- 8 pinches of pumpkin pie spice
- 8 pinches of nutmeg
Set aside 2 cups of kombucha and SCOBY for next batch. You will eternally have a new batch of kombucha as long as you keep a healthy SCOBY around. Distribute the rest of the kombucha evenly in the jars. Distribute the apple chunks, ginger, whole cinnamon sticks, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, and nutmeg evenly throughout the jars. Seal the jars with screw on lids. Store in a dark space and allow to sit for 3 days. This allows the drink to carbonate. On the last day, you will see little bubbles in your jar. Once the drinks are done carbonating, put in the fridge, allow to cool, then enjoy! I put my drinks through a strainer into my cup before I drank it because I didn’t want the sediment to get into my drink.. It’s SO delicious! It actually tastes like apple pie! I can’t wait to try new flavors and experiment with different types of sweeteners.. This drink is a staple for me and my boyfriend. We love the benefits and adore the taste of it (especially since it has ginger in it). I hope you become a fan of this drink like we are!
Benefits of Kombucha:
- Helps prevent cancer
- Helps prevent and forms as a treatment to arthritis
- Aids in gut health and fights candida
- Mental clarity
- Mood stability
- Helps fight depression
- Improves immunity