I love a good ‘booch. My faves are Brew Dr. in Love and Humm Blueberry Mint. A nice kombucha costs from $3-$5 and lasts me half an hour to an hour. I thought I could make my own for cheaper. And I totally could!
So I scoured the Internet, consulted some of my booch- brewing friends and took the plunge. I ultimately found the resources at The Happy Pear most useful.
Here’s what I learned from my first four months of brewing kombucha:
- You don’t have to buy or bum a SCOBY. Many sites will boast that they have the best SCOBY. This is because they want to sell you SCOBY. You can make your own perfectly good batch from a jar of sweet tea and a bottle of unfiltered, unflavored Kombucha. I used Synergy Organic Raw Kombucha in Original.
- Use wood or glass materials. Avoid metal and plastic; they inhibit bacteria. When mixing sugar, I prefer a wooden spoon.
- Don’t shake your jars.
- Use a big jar. I started my process with liter jars and quickly discovered they only yield about one bottle of kombucha each. I bought these gorgeous Bormiolo Rocco gallon jars from Target. They are made in Italy and work wonderfully. They do contain metal clamps, but the metal doesn’t actually touch the kombucha so it’s OK.
- One gallon jar makes about four 1-liter jars, or four bottles of kombucha. Much more efficient.
- SCOBYs live! Some people swear their SCOBYs have feelings and nervous systems. SCOBY stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. It’s definitely alive; it definitely does not have a brain. Some people save SCOBYs in SCOBY hotels that look like this:
I have no qualms with feeding my SCOBY to a plant or dog. They seem a lot less sentient than vegetables if you ask me. You can blend SCOBY with water and water an outdoor plant, or bury beneath the soil outside. I have a pretty big canyon in my backyard so I’ve just been flinging my SCOBYs to kingdom come. You can also give your SCOBYs away to friends who want to brew Kombucha, or sell them on Offer Up. Both of those proved to be more work than flinging the SCOBYs into the backyard though.
- Don’t put your SCOBY on an indoor plant because it will smell bad and attract bugs. Thanks for the tip, Hybrid Rasta Mama!
- You’re supposed to grow a new SCOBY every time you brew a new batch. I just learned this. I’ve been throwing my old ones in the jar too. Oops.
- Save those bottles! You need to store kombucha in a dark bottle after the second fermentation. Buy bottles with screw- top lids and recycle them for your own SCOBY
- If you leave your kombucha alone for more than two weeks, it turns to vinegar.
- I learned how to make this yummy cocktail. Which I did not make with my own kombucha.
- You can brew yummy, nice- tasting kombucha at home. Weigh the pros and cons to see if home brew is right for you.