I've been meaning to make kombucha for a while now. I found a person a little over an hour away who has SCOBYs he will give me, but I never seem to make it up there to get them.
I have looked online and I can't seem to find a good guide to growing your own SCOBY from scratch. They all seem to start with a store-bought bottle of kombucha.
Anyone have any idea how to go about this, or how long it would take? Or is it just a better idea to get a SCOBY from someone? (It's been months I've been thinking of doing this and I can't help but feel I would have kombucha done by now if I had grown my own... if only I knew how.)
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You need to get a starter culture from somewhere, whether it's commercial kombucha or a donated or mail-order SCOBY. As far as I know, kombucha is not like sourdough: you can't get the right balance of the right microorganisms just using sugar-water and luck.
For what it's worth, I grew my SCOBY from a bottle of GT Dave's.
I made a how-to on my blog (which hasn't been active for a while), here.
Here's a quick synopsis:
- Take one bottle of the original GT synergy's kombucha, let get to room temperature
- Boil water, preferably 2-3 quarts, add 1 tea bag per quart and let steep
- Add 1/4 cup sugar to tea, let tea get to room temperature
- Put cooled tea in a glass jar and add kombucha
- Cover with a light weight clothe and let sit in a dark and warm place (a closet is good), for at least a week
- You should see a scoby starting to form, let sit for longer to let it thicken
I was just looking this up before I headed to Paleohacks! Read this.... Seems like it can answer all of your questions and will get you on the right track :)
You dont need anything but tea, sugar and water. I made up a small batch of tea, did the same as making kombucha with out a scoby, and after 7 weeks had the beautiful healthy scoby with out the use of a commercial drink. So folks it can be done!
I've got a Kombucha How-to on my blog as well, with a few good links and a short walkthrough of the process: http://spacecoastprimal.blogspot.com/2011/11/kombucha-how-to-guide.html
In my experiance brewing Kombucha is a pretty forgiving process... once you get a good SCOBI going (getting one from a friend is the best IMHO) it's fairly easy to keep the whole process going (exact ratios of sugar/tea/starter really aren't that important).