I’ve been back on a kombucha-making kick lately! Not sure what kombucha is or how to make it? I’ve got you covered!
Kombucha is a tea brewed with beneficial bacteria and yeast. It can help settle an upset stomach, and I even had a friend tell me that eating kombucha plums before a trip to Mexico protected him from stomach problems. Kombucha is awesome, and it’s very easy to brew your own. The trick is getting your hands on a SCOBY.
The SCOBY, also called the mother, is the beneficial bacteria. It lives in a colony and almost looks like a big mushroom cap. Adding a bacterial colony to your tea might sound gross, but beneficial bacteria is in all sorts of fermented foods. Think yogurt or tempeh.
How to Make Kombucha Tea
To brew your own kombucha tea, you first need to make a strong, sweet, caffeinated batch of tea. You can use any type of tea you like, as long as it has caffeine in it. I used chai tea for a recent batch, and it came out tasting like apple cider. YUM! To make a gallon of tea, you’ll use about 3/4 cup of sugar. Let that stuff steep for a couple of hours before removing the tea bag.
Once your tea is cooled completely, drop in your SCOBY, cover the top with a cloth napkin, secure with a rubber band, and stick it in the back of a cabinet. It needs to sit in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks, so set a calendar reminder to tell you when your tea is ready!
Remove the SCOBY and put it into a small container, covered with some of the kombucha you just brewed. Stick it into the fridge until the next time you’re ready to brew!
Where to Get a SCOBY
The hardest part of making kombucha is getting that SCOBY. The best way to get a SCOBY is to find someone who’s brewing up booch now, and ask if they have a spare. Your SCOBY gets bigger and sometimes multiplies when you’re brewing, so I lot of folks end up with extras.
If you don’t have a friend to bum from, you can also buy a SCOBY. They even sell them on Amazon!
After you brew with your own SCOBY a couple of times, it is going to multiply. I’ve had good luck offering up my extra SCOBY to friends on Facebook. It can even stand up to shipping, though I’d ship Priority mail.
I got my first SCOBY through the mail from a friend in LA, so I can tell you from experience that this is doable. Just wrap it up really well in lots of bubble wrap, so the liquid in the container doesn’t leak! You might also mark that package as fragile, so it won’t get too jostled in transit.
Have you guys brewed any kombucha of your own? I’d love to hear what flavors you’re making in the comments!
Kombucha. Photo by Becky Striepe.
SCOBY in Kombucha. Creative Commons photo by AlexGibbons