When I asked recently on Facebook if anyone local had a kombucha scoby they could share, I had a friend ask, “What is that?”
For those of you who might be wondering the same thing, the simple answer is kombucha is a fermented tea. It has probiotic benefits, similar to yogurt. I drink it because I like the taste which is slightly effervescent and tangy, not unlike a light vinegar. I recommend trying some first! It’s an acquired taste but so is beer and wine. You can purchase it from a health food store. Whole Foods carries it. They even make flavored ones. If you find that you do like it, then you WILL want to make your own as those bad boys are EXPENSIVE!
Some of you have asked how it’s made so I will show you how I do it. A friend taught me and shared a scoby with me. Here we go.
You will need the following:
- black tea
- a scoby
- a large glass container
- a plastic sieve
- coffee filter
Bring about 3 cup of water to a boil.Add the tea. You can use this chart for ratios which comes straight from here. I like to use oolong, but any black tea will work. Allow the tea to cool before continuing. When you are ready to proceed, make a simple syrup by dissolving sugar in warm water. Alternatively, you could add the sugar to the tea before it cools. Again, check the chart for amounts. I like to use half-gallon mason jars, but you could use any large, glass jar. Strain your tea into the jar and add the simple syrup. Then take your SCOBY ( which stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast) and add it, along with the starter tea it came with. It will float in the tea. I admit it looks pretty gross. It reminds me of a mushroom. It is sometimes called the mother, like the stuff that is in good apple cider vinegar. Same idea, really. Wipe the rim dry, then cover the mouth of the jar with a coffee filter marked with the date. After 7-10 days your kombucha will be ready to bottle. Use smaller mason jars or hermetically resealable bottles. I have also kept store-bought kombucha bottles since they are the perfect size. Strain the kombucha as you bottle it and store it in the fridge.
Your scoby will have multiplied so you can now make two batches or share one with a friend. If you do give one away, be sure to keep it in some starter tea. Another thing to remember is: Do not use metal with scobys! No metal spoons, strainers or containers.
When you have too many scobys, they are compostable. If you don’t compost, you can just throw it away. If you do not know of anyone who makes their own kombucha and can share a scoby with you, you can purchase them from Cultures for Health. They also have videos and more information about kombucha and other fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt and kimchi.