Getting your kombucha started is pretty easy, but as with all these things, it can seem fiddly to start with. Watch the video as Nick shows you how to create your own kombucha SCOBY from a bought bottle of kombucha.
- • ½ cup raw sugar
- • 6 – 8 tea bags (green or black tea)
- • 300ml of boiled water
- • 1 litre room temp spring or filtered water
- • Kombucha starter (approx 100 – 250 ml of bought kombucha)
- • Tablespoon of grated ginger
- • Juice of a lemon
- • Wide mouthed bowl / crock
- • Sealable bottles (flip top lid bottles like Grolsch beer bottles)
- Boil 300ml of water in the kettle. Once boiled place water in a large bowl.
- Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the tea bags and mix to make a strong tea-sugar concentrate.
- Leave to sit for 20 - 30 minutes to cool.
- Pour mixture into a wide-mouthed bowl or crock (avoid containers made of metal). Add the 1 litre of filtered water. Add the kombucha starter.
- Cover with a table cloth and seal with a rubber band.
- Leave at ambient temperatures for 4-5 days.
- Inspect to see the film of scoby growing on the surface of the liquid – that is your mother! (Take care of her –she is your mother and not your mother-in-law.)
- To induce secondary fermentation:
- Drain liquid into your sealable bottles and share the lemon juice and grated ginger between them. (Leave a little liquid in the bowl / crock with the mother – approx 10 -20 mls - never completely drain the vessel as the mother needs the liquid to survive.)
- Place sealed bottles in fridge for another 3-4 days (where they are undergoing a secondary fermentation - to create the carbonation).
- Then they are ready to drink.
- After you have first created the scoby, as seen in the video, you may only fill one bottle, but as the mother grows and you add more of the tea/sugar concentrate and more filtered water - you will fill more bottles.
- To keep feeding the mother, repeat the tea, water and sugar process – adding the cooled tea, water and sugar concentrate to the existing mother (left behind in the crock).
- She will grow in thickness and you can increase the volume of kombucha you make by adding and increasing enough tea and sugar that suits your taste buds.
The kombucha mother is a SCOBY. This is simply a community of bacteria and yeasts. As the mother grows she will create new layers underneath the older mother film. You can peel each layer apart and separate them into individual and independent cultures. It is a good idea to give some away to friends. Like water kefir grains, the kombucha SCOBY grows when cared for properly. There are abundant uses of unloved SCOBY when you cannot keep up. I have heard of people chopping it up and mixing it in food for their dog for example. This is when internet blogs are awesome: google “what to do with too much kombucha SCOBY”.
Like all fermentations please experiment; the secondary fermentation process of kombucha offers a variety of flavor experiments. As mentioned I like to add grated ginger and lemon, however other fruits vegetables (and even herbs) can be added depending on your taste. Lisa enjoys strawberry kombucha and orange. As mentioned in the video with Sarah Lantz, you can also add REAL FRUIT juice to the secondary ferment. You don’t need much - perhaps a tbls per bottle.
It’s very important to avoid teas infused with other flavours (such as chamomile).