four walls, no walls, you and me.

brewin’ the bucha
September 8, 2009, 6:02 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to make my own kombucha. I had been buying bottles of GT’s from Whole Foods and at nearly $4 a bottle it was adding up. I googled several methods online but they looked labor intensive which was a bummer. Not to mention that online vendors were selling SCOBY’s for as much as $35! The whole point was to save money, not spend even more so that was a no-go. Besides, buying a SCOBY online kinda weirded me out. I also read that there were sites where you could get one from people who were already making their own kombucha but that also seemed sketch to me so I googled on. Finally I came across a post where people had successfully made their own bucha from the very same bottle of GT’s that I had in my fridge! SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast, btw.

I started by sterilizing an old glass kimchi jar. I filled it with boiling hot water and let it sit for a while. I rinsed it again with hot water and then let it air dry and cool down. Once the jar was cool, I poured in one entire bottle of GT’s that I had set out to room temp. It is important to let the jar cool before pouring in the GT’s or else the heat will kill the cultures in the kombucha. Also, I used the original GT’s and not one of the flavored ones. I’ve read that other people have used flavored ones with good results but that just weirded me out. Plus, I didn’t want the added risk of having fruit purees and juices in there that may increase the risk of flies or mold. I covered the jar with cheesecloth to keep out bugs and other nasties and then set it in a cabinet out of the sunlight.

A week later nothing happened. I think it was because the weather was so cool in L.A. despite it being mid August. I had read that the kombucha needs to sit out for a week or two before the SCOBY forms so I let it sit for another week. I was constantly checking it, several times a day, which probably wasn’t a great idea but oh well. Finally, the weather warmed up a LOT here and once that happened I could see that there was a very thin layer of stuff floating on top of the kombucha! It looked very thin and a little patchy which I read was normal for the first batch so I left it for a few more days. Eventually I saw that it had sunk a little bit and was now floating in the middle of the mix instead of on top, which I also read was normal. There were also a lot of stringy things which I guess is good. Here’s a pic of the half sinking/half floating SCOBY.


What was ABNORMAL, was that it looked like there were TWO growing in there! This was confirmed once I made my first batch of sweet tea and transferred it to the new jar. Here’s a pic where you can see that there is the round SCOBY but below it to the right you can see another thin SCOBY-like substance. WHAT IS THAT???? Is it normal?


Anyway, I made a batch of sweet tea and let that cool to room temp. I used organic white tea which is a green tea variety. Normally this is one of my fave teas but this was a bad idea simply because there are oils in there that once brewed left an oily sheen on the top of the tea. This is bad for making kombucha so I removed it with paper towels. I then poured the sweet tea and kombucha into a larger jar and again covered with cheesecloth and set back in the cabinet. It’s been a few days and I’ve resisted the urge to constantly check it.

I really hope this works…I’m a little worried about the double SCOBY thing. Also, I always assume the worst so when I read about vinegar flies I was totally worried I had them too. The problem was that there wasn’t enough liquid for me to be able to actually see anything clearly. Hopefully this brew will work out and if not, then I guess I’ll have to toss it and start over. I’ll post updates once there’s something more substantial to look at!


2 Comments so far
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I think Cambria did this in New York and had lots of those things left over. Don’t know how it would make it to Cali. She wrote an article about it out Re-Nest where she is the editor. Re-Nest is a section of Apartment Theraphy

Comment by SLY

umm, ok, so I heart kombucha, and I agree, a little weird buying someone else’s scoby, so I have been wanting to try this as well. Maybe if it works out for you I will go ahead and try it. keep me posted.

Comment by sumbum

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