Friday, December 10, 2010

~ How to Make Your Own Kombucha Mother ~

The first time I tried kombucha it was on a whim. I had never heard of it before. I saw it at the grocery store and needed something to drink. GT Dave's Mystic Mango was the one I picked and I have been in love ever since. I didn't look at the price tag associated with a bottle of it. $3.99 for 16 ounces, okay price for a once in awhile treat but I liked it way to much to only have it once in awhile. I knew there had to be a way to make it at home, so I hit the web in search of instructions.

The way to make kombucha is to have a "mother". You can buy those online too, but at the time we didn't have a lot of money to order and pay shipping. Plan B, if it is a culture, I should be able to make my own with an existing culture. Since all I had access to was GT Dave's, I bought a bottle of original kombucha, a box of organic green tea and gave it a go. I used the instructions found on the web for making a new batch of kombucha as my guide.

You will need:
gallon glass jar
4 - 7 organic green tea bags or the loose leaf equivalent
1 c organic sugar
1 bottle of raw kombucha
1 gallon of chlorine and fluoride free water

Bring a 3/4 gallon of water to a boil, add your sugar and dissolve. Add your tea, take off heat, cover, and let steep for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes take out your tea bags and let your tea cool to room temperature.

When cool pour your tea into your jar, add your bottle of kombucha and then fill to the top with water. Cover with muslin or two coffee filters and a rubber band and put in a dark, room temperature space. If you have a spot on your counter that is out of drafts you can wrap a towel around the jar. Very slowly a film will start to appear on the top of your jar. This is the start of your "mother". You may see bits of brown culture floating in the jar, this is good. It may take up to two weeks to really get a good mother growing. You can check it periodically to make sure that it doesn't get too sour or vinegar-y tasting for you. If you have other cultures growing in your kitchen, i.e. sourdough starter, kefir, make sure you keep enough space between them so that the cultures don't cross contaminate and weaken.

The awesome thing about making it at home is that you can vary the type of tea you use and how long you let it culture. After a few batches your "mother" with increase in size and will take less time to brew a batch of tea. My "mothers" are so big now that it only takes a week to brew a gallon of tea. They are not always as fizzy as I would like, even with a double fermentation, but it is good. Our whole family drinks kombucha and I really need to start two more gallon jars. It is a great way to get some helpful probiotics in. With the last few batches I haven't even bothered bottling it. We just pour it into a mason jar and stick it in the fridge. Have any questions? Just let me know!

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  1. I love kombucha! I never thought about using the store bought stuff to get started. Have you tried adding fruit? When I'm finished brewing sometimes I add chopped up strawberries to the bottles and then let it ferment some more on my counter top. It turns a pretty pink color and has a fruity taste.

  2. I have used fruit but because everyone likes the original flavor of the tea, we usually save the fruit for making lacto-fermented soda.

  3. My favorite additions to kombucha are either fresh lemon juice or fresh pineapple slices (very bubbly result!). Thanks for the great info- I never knew how to start your own scoby :)

  4. Oh my, pineapple sounds so good, will have to try that one next time fresh pineapple is on sale.

  5. Thanks so much for this! I've been looking around for a way to do this without buying the mushroom itself - don't know why I didn't think about starting with raw kombucha! Lacto-fermenting is so cool!

  6. Asha~If you like lacto-fermented drinks, try the LF Soda Pop. So much fun and talk about fizzy. I let mine go a bit to long and have grape soda on my kitchen ceiling!