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?