Learning to Make Kombucha

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KOMBUCHA. I have tried fermented drinks a few times now; the ginger bug/calendula tea didn’t materialize (no success with the ginger ferment), but the boozy apple drank did work out. So now I try my hand at kombucha tea. There is a studio on the island that sells kombucha teas as well as scobys – they even do fermenting workshops! The owner/operator posted on the FB group about having a batch of blackberry kombucha ready for purchase so I snapped up 2 bottles as well as a scoby to start my own. What the friggedy is a scoby, you ask? I’ll tell you after the jump.

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There are a few names for the kombucha starter; mother, mushroom and scoby, a term which is actually an acronym for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast, are all the same thing. Sounds delicious. And it looks… well, pretty barfy. But it’s so magical! Above is the scoby I picked up from the studio here on the island, which I promptly set up in a jar of tea to grow.

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A few months ago J and I found three 1 gallon jars at GIRO without lids. We bought them, but lamented the fact that they were lidless. Turns out we don’t need the lids! They are perfect for kombucha the way they are. Woohoo! I gave one a good clean and got it ready for the tea. I was given instructions on how to start the ferment when I picked up the scoby, but there are also instructions in this article on The Kitchn website. Using a stainless pot I brought 8 cups of water to a boil with 1 cup of sugar and 6 bags of black tea (Twinings English Breakfast Tea, mmm). I let it brew for a few minutes before letting it cool, then poured it into the jar and added another 8 cups of cool water (16 cups = 1 gallon).

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I added the scoby once the tea was room temperature, then fitted the top with a few layers of cheesecloth and a rubber band. Now it will hang out on my desk for a few days and, hopefully, the scoby will grow and thicken. To better help me with my fermenting desires I also ordered a copy of True Brews: How to Craft Fermented Cider, Beer, Wine, Sake, Soda, Mead, Kefir, and Kombucha at Home, which I can’t vouch for just yet but it looks great. Wish me luck!

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^ Lookit how pretty the blackberry kombucha is!

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