After much procrastination, I have finally set out to grow my own SCOBY in hopes to brew some kombucha at home.
First, a little background information:
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented tea that is usually a bit sweet, tangy and fizzy. Due to the fermentation process, kombucha is packed with probiotics that promotes a healthy intestinal system. Depending on the type of tea used, kombucha can be packed with other vitamins and minerals as well. There is a small percentage of alcohol produced as a result of the fermentation process, but it is usually a minuscule amount (less than 1%).
To produce kombucha, you will need to ferment either black or green tea with something that is called a 'SCOBY'. SCOBY is actually the acronym for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast.
How do you grow your own SCOBY?
You can actually purchase your own SCOBY through online shops, or if a friend is making their own batch, you can kindly ask them to provide you with a piece of theirs from their Mother SCOBY. Another option is to grow your own from a bottle of store-bought kombucha.
Here lies instructions and pictures of part one of my first kombucha brewing adventure: growing my own SCOBY.
What you will need
1 bottle of store-bought raw and unpasteurized Kombucha (my bottle was 414 mL)
Approx. 300 mL Black Tea*
2 tbsp Sugar
Large Glass Jar (I used a 1 L mason jar)
Tea Towel (to cover the glass jar with)
*Regular black or green tea will work; try not to use any flavoured teas with essential oils as they may contain anti-bacterial properties that will inhibit the growth and production of the cultures needed to make our first SCOBY.
For my first attempt, I used regular afternoon black tea.
Additional notes: Why cover with a tea towel instead of the regular lid you ask? This is because SCOBY will need to foster in an aerobic environment. The bacterial cultures and yeasts need oxygen to facilitate the reactions needed to absorb and 'eat' the sugars in the tea to reproduce for the fermentation process. The tea towel will allow air to pass through, while protecting the tea from any air contaminants or bugs from getting through.
For my first batch, it only took 7 days for my SCOBY to growthick enough for its first batch of official kombucha-brewing. Here is what it looked like, from Day 1 to Day 7.
(Warning: The growth and formation of SCOBY, or any SCOBY for that matter, is not the most appetizing thing to look at. It is a live bacteria and yeast culture after all. You have been warned.)
As explained, this is what my setup looks like. After one day, you can already see little white strands clumping together near the top. You can also notice a little bit of white strands hovering near the bottom.
There is some obvious growth here at this point. As you can see, a thin layer of jelly-like substance has formed on the top and there is a large brown bubbly mass on the top. It is also starting to smell rather vinegar-y.
From the side, you can see a slightly thicker layer forming compared to Day 2. From the top view, you can see some bubbles and pale brown clumps of yeasts forming and it is starting to look more gelatinous.
It's growing so fast! The layer on the top has gotten even thicker and the whole SCOBY has turned to a pale white translucent colour.
The layers have gotten even thicker from the side and the SCOBY has turned into a pale white colour. Just a little more to go!
It's amazing how fast the SCOBY grows. It is now approximately ¼ inch thick from the side. From the top, it is now more of an opaque white colour.
The scoby is now reached past ¼ inch thickness from the side, and has a smooth, opaque texture. You can also see little strands of cultures forming on from the side, adding to the SCOBY that's already there.
As mentioned before, this initial SCOBY growth can take anywhere from 7-30 days, but its grown so quickly in just a week for me. Now that the SCOBY is ready to go, it's time to start brewing some kombucha! Stay tuned for part 2 of my kombucha brewing adventures!
Welcome to Simple Meals! My name is Celine.