Thursday, August 15, 2013

Homemade Mother Scoby for Kombucha

well...i said i wouldn't go there, but curiosity got the best of me.
i have fallen into the fermented-probiotic-kombucha craze...
it's fascinating 
i love all the kombucha drinks that are now available everywhere, but they cost 3-4 bucks apiece.  i only drink one a day, the math...that's about 102$ a month and 1,200$ a year...WHAT?!
 am i crazy ?!!  i guess it's the same for anybody with their triple shot skinny no whip morning latte addiction, but that's insane.
SO...i researched and researched how to make homemade kombucha.
you need a scoby.
most sites suggest you buy one from the internet.  i even heard you could get one from Craig's list.
i don't want some weird fungus mushroom alien thing that someone else grew in some unknown environment.  i want to be in control of my own bacteria yeast growing blob.
i thought i would let you know from a novice point of view how easy and fascinating this little project is... AND i wanted to document what i did and how i grew such a beautiful specimen.

*here's where i throw in the disclaimer...*
i am not an expert on the situation.  i am a beginner...just like you?
there are plenty of fabulous blogs out there with a wealth of IMPORTANT information.  a few i have referred to are...Food, Balanced, Mother and Cultures for to name a few.


2 cups filtered water
2 black tea bags
1 big Tbsp sugar...i used pure NOT use honey or any substitute!

leave the bottle of GT's out to come to room temperature.
boil the 2 cups water.  steep the tea for about 10-15 minutes.  remove tea bags, add sugar and stir to dissolve and let come to room temp.
sterilize a large enough glass jar to hold 4 cups of liquid.  if you use antibacterial soap.  make sure it is well rinsed.  then rinse it with vinegar and water.  then rinse it again.  for extra protection i sterilized in the oven at 220F degrees for 20 minutes.

pour tea/sugar into sterilized jar.  pour the whole bottle of store bought GT's kombucha into the tea jar.  make sure you got all the gross kombucha goodies into the tea.  cover with double paper towel or cloth and secure with a rubber band.  let sit in a warm darkish place.  do not disturb.  some say "dark" place, but i have it where it will not be disturbed and i can still take photos.
NOTE...when i moved it into a little more light it seemed to grow i'm not sure.  just do not move it around while it is growing.

DAY #1

DAY #3
DAY #8
DAY #15
 DAY #20a
DAY #20b
now this is a good lookin' SCOBY !
i think it should be almost ready...
DAY #24
behold..."THE MOTHER SCOBY"...

DAY #24
just about 1/2 inch...looks healthy

i think we're ready for lift off...

now...if you are still interested,
i will be documenting my first batch of  HOMEMADE KOMBUCHA
this will take about 7-10 days for the first fermentation, then another few days to flavor it and get some fizz action... i have read.



ErinElizabeth said...

I've been continuous brewing my kombucha for a couple years now and I find it so much easier to stay on top of (and not needing to store multiple weeks worth at a time). For one person a gallon size glass sun tea jar with the spigot works great and I get about a glass a day. I just make a big batch of sweetened tea concentrate that lives in the fridge to dilute and top up the fermentation jar after getting my daily glass. You can let it ferment to whatever level of vinegaryness you want and either bottle it for further flavoring or drink it right then and there (I like it best plain).

You're right about it not needing dark too, it doesn't really matter as long as it isn't in direct sunlight.

If you ever want to take a break for a while don't store it in the fridge, just leave it with some of it's sweet tea and it'll be fine for months. You'll have kombucha vinegar and a really thick mother that is ready to brew whenever you want.

For some interesting reading on less traditional kombucha brewing (including using the often warned against honey) check out Dom's Kefir Site.

Have fun with your new project! :)

Jules and Ruby said...

HI ERIN !!!! happy somebody is here to view my beautiful specimen. i wish you had a link or a blog so i could ask you some questions. you sound like a pro. i'm glad you confirmed about the "dark place" that it isn't necessary...AND thanks for letting me know the mother doesn't go in the fridge. i read that on ONLY one other site. if you come back for any reason i might have questions for you...thanks for the comment....jules

ErinElizabeth said...

I've been following you for a while now, your blog is one of my favorite places to look for things to do with more unusual cuts I get with my 1/2 hog order. :) I've been fermenting drinks and foods for a couple years now, I'd be happy to answer any questions I can.

Jules and Ruby said...

helloooo Erin Elizabeth...half hog?! lucky dog! i just braised 4 beautiful fresh hocks in beer with apples, onions and garlic. too bad i wasn't hungry when they were then the next day i threw them on the BBQ to try to crisp the skin...kinda worked, kinda didn't, but the meat was really porky piggy...really gamie-porky GOOD!...thanks for following my pork escapades. anyway, about the kombucha...i think it's ready (8-9 days)? it still looks healthy, but the "baby" doesn't look quite thick enough. i might wait 'til tomorrow for the next step. hey...thanks for checking back in...Xj

ErinElizabeth said...

Its ready when it tastes like you want it to. Sample it and see! There is no magic thickness of the baby that is your target it just is what it is. If your batch is ready and you don't think your baby is thick enough then just don't separate it. Just leave it with the mother for the next batch and you've got a bigger mother. Doesn't matter at all.

If you ever try a continuous brew you'll have to get used to that a with additions every day you can end up with a not terribly smooth pretty mother as it keeps getting disturbed. I just pull it out and remove the lower half-ish every 6 months or so when i decide its taking up too much space in my jar.

As for the half hog, i decided a while back that it was important to me to not support the CAFO operations and we simply can't afford pasture raised meat at by the cut prices so we buy our pork by the half and we're lucky to have a local farmer who sells beef by the 1/8. I am amused by the fact that we live in an apartment and have 2 full freezers but it feels good to be giving my money to a farmer who I've meet face to face and who treats their animals well. It can be hard to get the butcher to actually give me the offal though. I guess they don't deal with it much anymore and despite repeated requests all I got with my last hog was cheeks and fat. That was a bummer. But the lady who sells by the cut pork at our market practically gave me her trotters when I asked so they're in the stock put with a chicken carcass right now.

Jules and Ruby said...

hi Erin Elizabeth...quick question, then i'll get to the "meat" of your comment. i'm very pleased with my first batch...YAY! i will be posting about it soon. question...does yours have a lot of effervescence? i like a bit of fizz. this batch doesn't have much.
i did a second fermentation with a little organic juice and i think the transferring from jug to bottle looses some fizz...maybe i should just leave it on the counter in the locked bottles for 3-4 days instead of 2. i really don't want any fermentation into alcohol AT ALL. i know there is trace as in any fermentation, but...
also, the longer it sat bottled on the counter it looked like mini scobys were developing? the little "blobs" were getting bigger and bigger.
hope you see this...

Kara said...

I am excited to grow my own SCOBY and brew my own. I found a recipe for pumpkin spice! Yes please!!!! I have a bottle occasionally. I'm glad I found this tutorial, I really enjoyed it!

Jules and Ruby said...

hi Kara...i hope you DO. i can't tell ya how much fun i've been having with this Kombucha experiment. i now have 2 batches going and a new mother scoby growing from a different method. hey...pumpkin spice? i bet that one is delicious

Christine Emmick said...

Hi Jules!

I'm on my first batch. I'm using a 2 gallon with a spigot and I have my fav. Chorella and Spirulina and ginger ready to flavor it when it is done.

How often did you sample? I am on day 8 with a really small mother scoby and 2 gallons of tea. Right now it is WAYYYY too sweet and my new mama is just a thin (1/8 inch) translucent covering over the tea.

Is there any facebook groups for kombucha brewing support?

Thanks for posting the fab pics!

Christine Emmick said...

By the way, I found you on pintrest!

Jules and Ruby said...

hi glad to hear from another "buch-er" lol. i love the idea of a 2 gallon w/spigot. are you doing a continuous brew? i've been so fascinated that i have kombucha bottles in the fridge and some fermenting on the counter AND 2 different batches in the gallon jars. sounds a bit crazy. i know one is not supposed to drink too much per day. i wonder how much is too much? i'll stick with 16-24 oz a day.
i sample after 7 days and it's usually too sweet. so far my brews have taken 14-15 days. the weather is starting to cool so it will take longer. i was thinking of buying a kombucha heating pad.
your new (top) scoby should get thicker by the time it's ready. i will be posting about the first batch soon and about the "scoby hotel" with more photos.
i don't know about a facebook following. i just google and find loads of very helpful information and very nice people to answer questions.
good luck and please keep me posted....jules

Theresa Fairbanks said...

Hi Jules
Thank you for your wonderful post on Scoby..I am getting ready to make my first batch and so glad to have found your blog. It's quite interesting how many people are making there own Kombucha..I am an addict for this drink. But found it expensive and started my research, and just finished yesterday getting all my supplies. You have mentioned that you were going to post more imformation and pictures..did you? I could not find anything. Again. thank you for such a wonderful post.

Jules and Ruby said...

hi Theresa...happy to hear from glad there's someone out there that is interested. i have 2 more posts waiting until after the new year. i didn't think to many people would interested in kombucha making around the holidays. i've been elbow deep in chocolate and caramel...even too busy to post about that!
BUT...if you are interested maybe i could figure something out. it talks about a super easy way to make a scoby AND bottling, flavoring and second fermentation for some bubbling action.
let me know if i can help.

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