I opened the mailbox and there it was: a manilla envelope holding my precious scoby, the "symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast" that I would use to make kombucha tea.
Have you read Part One, Adventures in Kombucha, yet?
Inside the envelope was a Foodsaver bag containing the scoby and some starter liquid. The write-up on Etsy hadn't specified what size it would be, but it looked like it would fit the top of a quart-size Mason jar. The scoby was creamy-colored and nearly an inch thick.
Kombucha is a vinegar-based drink that contains probiotics, enzymes, B-vitamins and more. It supports the immune system, improves digestion, helps cleanse and detox the body, increases energy, and supposedly it helps with weight loss, reduces joint pain including arthritis pain, and many claim that it can even help prevent cancer.
I'd read a lot about making kombucha at home before I ordered my own scoby, and I read several times that it takes several cycles for a scoby to adapt. It needs to get used to my filtered water, my kitchen's temperature, and the kind of tea I use to brew it. My scoby was probably only used to make a quart of kombucha at a time, although it could have come from a half-gallon Mason jar too, so I planned to work up to a gallon-sized batch over a couple of weeks. There would be some to drink along the way, but that shouldn't be my focus at first.
I started with a half-gallon batch using a squatty jar, which was bigger around than the scoby was. I made the sweet tea as directed, let it cool to room temperature, added the starter liquid that was included in my package, and tried to float the scoby on top. It promptly sank to the bottom, but I read that it's ok. I covered the jar with a handkerchief and a rubber band and left it for a week.
|The Brew #3 scoby with the quart-size original scoby underneath.|
The directions said to let it brew for 7-10 days. One blogger said she just lets it work for a week and always starts a new batch on Wednesday, which I thought was a good plan. So on Day Seven I made a new batch of tea, removed the very thin baby scoby and the original scoby to a bowl and covered them with a cup of the liquid from the jar, and poured the rest of the brewed kombucha into another jar. (This is the finished kombucha that you can drink, or you can flavor it with a "second ferment" for a few more days before drinking.)
|Finished kombucha tea, ready to drink or flavor.|
That's a thin layer of bubbles on the top.
Since the finished kombucha from the first batch wasn't quite as tart as I wanted, I let this one brew for eight days instead of seven. And when that batch was finished and it was time to start a new one, I made a gallon in a gallon-size jar. This time the scobys didn't sink and I had a nice, thicker baby scoby when this batch was finished after eight days. I think the scoby and I are working as a team now.
I'm still experimenting with flavoring and brew time. I haven't hit the right combination yet. Hopefully my kombucha will also get more bubbly as time goes by, it isn't as fizzy as the bottles from the store. I'll share how I'm flavoring it in my next post - maybe some of you who are already making your own kombucha can give us some pointers?
Adventures in Kombucha
The Kombucha Adventure Begins
Flavoring Kombucha, the Second Brew
How I Make Kombucha
My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
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