FERMENTATION, PROBIOTICS, GOOD BACTERIA?
maybe it's just a "FAD"
(it's reported to go back 2000 years)
maybe i'm looking for "HEALTHY"
(full of probiotics for a healthy digestive system)
MAYBE IT JUST FASCINATES ME
it's like a 3rd grade science project
so...after you've successfully made your own "homemade Mother Scoby", you are ready to brew some Kombucha that you've been paying 3$ - 4$ per bottle. this is a little documentation of what to expect for the novice brewer...from a novice brewer.
UPDATE...i just posted an EVEN EASIER way to make a Homemade SCOBY HERE
THINGS YOU'LL NEED...
note...this is what i do, but Cultures for Health has great kombucha brewing info.
1-2 cups starter kombucha
(this is kombucha from a previous batch or you should receive some with your new scoby)
8 bags of black tea
1 cup granulated sugar
a gallon size glass jar
clean cloth or paper towel and rubber band
make your own "Homemade Mother Scoby"
isn't she a beauty !
FIRST...brew a gallon of black or green tea, i used black.
boil water. turn off heat. add 8 tea bags. let brew 10 minutes. remove tea bags. add sugar. stir.
LET COME TO ROOM TEMP...important!!!
add sugar/tea to clean gallon size glass jar.
carefully, WITH VERY CLEAN HANDS proceed. NOTE...you can clean your hands with anti-bacterial soap, but must rinse them very well with a splash of diluted white vinegar and rinse very well again. scobys do not like anti-bacterial soap. put scoby into tea mixture (shiny side up, if there is one) with about 1-2 cups of the "starter kombucha"(previously brewed kombutcha). leave about 2-3 inch head room. see photos.
cover with double paper towel or clean cloth and secure with a rubber band.
place out of direct sunlight, but in a warm-ish part of the house. NOT the garage or where any strange airborne weirdness may be floating around. just a nice clean area is fine.
leave UNDISTURBED. do not poke at it.
the first brew should take about 10 to 16 days. you will need to do a taste test after 7 days. dip a clean (new) straw in, put your finger over the end and draw some liquid out. DO NOT suck it out with your mouth. you do not want any contaminates. if it is too sweet, test it again in a few days. i have found that 14-16 days works for me. i have also noticed that a "SENIOR" SCOBY (one that has gone a few rounds) will brew faster than a newish scoby.
BELOW IS WHAT YOU MIGHT EXPECT TO HAPPEN...
i found a great site "Cultures For Health" that has info for trouble shooting. Scoby on the bottom, sideways scoby and floating scoby are all OKAY. new baby scoby should form at the surface.
DAY #8 scoby is up top...under the new scoby
DAY #14 new scoby is the top layer about 1/4 inch thick
kombucha seems done. not too sweet with just a slight effervescence.
time to bottle, add flavors and start second fermentation
for FLAVOR AND FIZZ
first things first...prepare another batch of sweetened tea do this a few hours before you are ready to bottle your second ferment. prepare sweetened tea as described above and let it come to room temp... so you can put the new baby in and start another batch. give the mother away, stick it in with the baby in the new batch or store it in 2 cups of the newly brewed kombucha in a smaller jar until ready to use. some say to keep it in the fridge with a solid lid, some say never put it in the fridge... mine is in a smaller jar with a breathable top, just waiting....growing, but still looks very healthy. NOTE...i have since learned NOT to put in the fridge and i now have 3 in the SCOBY HOTEL as shown below. i have ALSO learned that the hotel will grow another baby scoby. i have scobys on scobys.
SCOBY HOTEL FOR EXTRA SCOBYS
you'll always have a scoby for a new brew IN CASE ONE GOES BAD.
just kidding. it's really not as gross as i thought it would be. they might be separate or fused together. place both scobys on a clean plate while you are bottling...then put them in your new sweetened tea with 1-2 cups of the just finished kombucha.
mother scoby on top, baby scoby under...so weird!
they should be sterilized...do your best. i have also used clean bottles from store bought kombucha. they are much easier to clean and DO hold some effervescence.
again, Cultures for Health has some good ideas and more explicit instructions.
AND...Caroline Lunger at Mygutsy has a great tutorial for the 2nd fermentation.
Kombucha Girl has a wealth of great information.
Spoon Full of Sugar Free has some great flavor ideas.
you can buy some organic juice...make your own flavors.
my first batch i opted for Organic Peach Lemonade...great, but now i make my own.
whatever flavor you choose...the ratio should be 10-20% juice in the bottle you are using. (example of added juice quantity is in very top photo.)
so far i have used the peach lemonade, crystallized ginger pieces, coconut syrup and homemade ginger vanilla syrup.
after you remove your scobys (new baby and mother) STRAIN kombucha into bottles. use a filtered funnel for this job. i use a few layers of cheese cloth. REMEMBER...save about 1-2 cups to put in your new batch. seal the bottles and let the them sit on the counter for 3-6 days. check one of the bottles after 2 days. mine usually take 5-6 days to regain a little fizz and lose sweetness from the flavored juice.. you want to test for taste, fizz factor AND to make sure they are not going to explode from over fermentation.
NOTE...a small mini SCOBY will form in each bottle and there will be sediment at the bottom. when serving, use a small strainer for a nice clean experience..
UPDATE....i've made about 9-10 batches now and have found that my favorite flavor is homemade ginger vanilla bean simple syrup with a splash of fresh squeezed lemon.
i let them sit on the counter for about 5-7 days.
GINGER VANILLA BEAN SIMPLE SYRUP
NOTE...i don't like it to be too too syrupy/sweet for this application.
2 cups water
1 big cup of sugar
1 1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
OR 1 vanilla bean pod split
about 3 inches of ginger root, grated
put everything in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. turn down heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes. turn off heat and let come to room temp. taste. you might like more sugar.
STRAIN BEFORE USING
i add about an inch of this in the bottle along with a good splash of fresh lemon juice.