We did it!
We grew our own SCOBY ‘shrooms, let them live in some sweet tea for a while, and now we have tasty, healthy kombucha!
It was crazy easy, you guys. There is no good reason for anyone to pay those ridiculous prices for store-bought ‘bucha!
First, I whipped up a pot of tea. Most experienced brewers like to make a big ‘ol batch with a giant [size] stock pot, but I didn’t have one yet, so I just used my 3 quart stainless steel saucepan. I figured it was probably best that I started small anyway. So, I boiled 8 cups of water, threw in 3 tea bags, and let it steep for 15 minutes.
Then, I stirred in one tablespoon of sugar (just like with making your “mother,” it’s actually good to use the icky, white, processed type — you won’t end up consuming it as it gets eaten by the SCOBY), for each cup of tea — so 8 tablespoons of sugar.
I poured my tea into the largest glass container I could find — which happened to be a semi-large glass mixing bowl. (That’s fine to use, but it would have been great to have a big gallon or half-gallon sized jar. Get some of those if you can.)
And then, I started to get real excited.
At this point, you want to let the tea cool down to room temperature — but gueeeesss who screwed this one up again, just like with my first yogurt experiment?! Yeah… my tea had only been sitting for like a half hour, and I was so eager to get brewin’ that I didn’t even check to see how hot it still was before tossing in my mother. Eeek! I quickly realized I had just scalded the poor thing, and yanked her back out.
So what I should have done, was wait at least an hour or two, until it had really gotten down to a reasonable temp, before adding the mama mushroom to it. I sorta did that after the fact, said a prayer that my mother would survive to populate this tea with yeasty, bacterial goodness, and popped her back in.
I covered the bowl of ‘bucha-to-be with a cut up t-shirt so it could breathe, and secured it with some clips.
And then, once again, I just let it sit in a cupboard for a while.
I wanted to try making flavored kombucha, so after 5 days of fermenting, I removed the mother (I saved a portion of my brew and let her soak in it) bottled the liquid (in repurposed glass jars), added in some dried blueberries, and let it sit for an additional two days. The berries provided another little sugar meal for Mama (who ended up surviving her scorching-hot tea bath, by the way!), and since the drink was now in capped bottles, the CO2 produced in the fermentation created delicious, natural carbonation inside!
There are other ways to make flavored kombucha with this “double fermentation” method that I’d like to try. In that second, 2-day ferment, you can use a little bit of fruit juice (about 1/4 cup per quart-sized jar), fresh or frozen fruit (I’m thinking pineapple, mango, or watermelon!), or dried fruits like I did, as well as fresh ginger or even vanilla beans!
Our blueberry kombucha tastes great! I was a little scared by the descriptions I had read that it can have a little bit of apple cider vinegar flavor (ick!) but really, it only kinda smells like it. The taste is a little sweet, a little tangy, and I love the bit of fizziness in it! We’ve been drinking it every day with lots of water, to help flush out whatever the kombucha is detoxing out of us.
Here’s what’s left of it — time for batch number two!
Have you tried making your own kombucha yet? What’s your favorite way to brew and flavor it?
Carol Anderson says
How did you get the “mother?” Is it really from mushrooms? I have tried this in bottles but I think the homemade would be better!
Carol Anderson says
Ok, I read up on using the link at the beginning of your post. Thanks!
Hehe, silly name for such a thing, huh? I hope you give this a try! Let me know how it goes or if you need any help! 🙂
How much do you drink a day? I’ve been doing water kefir and they state only 2 to 4 oz a day. Is Kombucha the same? What a great blog. Thank you for telling me that I could try it from a starter bottle from the store!! Great to know.
Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Molly! That is a great question about how much to drink. I have also read that you should take it easy when you’re just starting out on any kind of fermented foods or drinks, especially something as potent as kombucha. I started out with just a few sips per day, and increased from there. PH went a little crazy and gulped down quite a bit in the first few days. He seemed to handle it just fine though!
Water kefir is sooo on my list for experiments to try next. Gonna make an order from Cultures for Health and get started — I can’t wait!
This is why I love visiting food blogs. I learn something new everyday. I had never heard of Kombucha before (I must not be a hippie, hehe) but I’m intrigued now with this super drink. Thanks for sharing your success!
Hehe, yes it’s a surefire way to tell where you stand on the hippiness scale — the degree to which you’ve experienced kombucha. I am tipping that scale pretty hard these days! LOL! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Ben!
I’m working on my second (now in second ferment with pomegranate juice) AND third batches now. Realized after we slurped up the first batch that we ought to keep it constantly brewing since it takes seven days; And that is way too long to wait for our new favorite drink! The boyfriend and I drank about 16oz a day until it was gone with no ill-effects what-so-ever, in fact I noticed it made an awesome pick-me-up midday. So easy and delicious. Thanks for the flavoring ideas, too. I had no idea I could just plop whole chunks of fruit in there!
So, you simply use repurposed glass jars to store this in? Any special treatment needed? Do you store the finished product in the fridge? Thanks in advance for your time and wisdom. God bless.
I just found your blog and am really enjoying it!
I was wondering about how to use the “mother” – do you just dump it along w/ the tea it has been growing in into the warm tea to begin a batch of kombucha? And how do you save and reuse it – does it just float in the tea and you can easily scoop it back out? I am new to making it yourself and can’t quite picture how it works… then do you reuse the whole “mother” again in another batch, or part of it, or…?