I remember learning about Kombucha online and then immediately finding a SCOBY @ Harvest Community Foods, literally steps away from my apartment. The bright-eyed clerk behind the counter set me up with the same enthusiasm I now understand and share today. It was a validating “yes, stars are aligning” moment – what a genuine display of the fermentation culture! Bewitched by the slice of symbiotic culture swimming in it’s own juices, I knew then I was on the road to experimentation and discovery.
….That was circa 2014. Fast forward, after a few accidents and 100s of batches, I now love sharing my booch story, how easy it really is and have become your local SCOBY/Booch pusher. Kombucha was sort of the “gateway” ferment that opened a whole world of gut promoting elixirs and homemades – methods predating any pre-packaged goods. Working with nature, a delicious batch of booch is a fine reward all on its own, but it is in the process where empowerment lies! I apply the same precautions with all ferments: start with quality ingredients, stay clean but not sterile and always reserve surplus/a backup.
So, get your hands dirty (figuratively!!) and try making your own kombucha at home. Check out some tips and a simple recipe after the jump!
UPDATE: I now have SCOBYs to share, if you are in 604 / 778 give me a shout
What is Kombucha?
- Sweetened green/black tea fermented into a crisp, tart, fizzy drink
- Produced by a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast)
- Dating back as early as China’s Qin Dynasty ~200 BC, regained popularity after sugar and tea became available post World War II
- Full of probiotics + gut healing enzymes and acids
- Improves circulation, digestion, reduce inflammation and clear toxins from the body
- Naturally acidic, leaving the body more alkaline (much like lemon water!)
- Great for curbing sugar/pop cravings!
- 2 cups of starter tea (the acidic tea from a previous batch)
- 2 tbsp OR 8 tea bags of organic green or black tea*
- 1 gallon glass jar
- White sugar
- Food safe mesh cover (clean towel, cheesecloth, coffee filter)
- Bottles with swing cap (optional for 2nd fermentation)
*Stay away from flavoured or scented teas. Although, SCOBYs are somewhat adaptive, there have been Kombuchas brewed without any tea at all. Always slowly introduce a new tea and make sure you have a backup first before testing. Let me know how your experiments go! I would love to hear your results.
HELP, My SCOBY Looks Funky!
SCOBY is a self-perpetuating culture that’s more resilient than you think. Sometimes the baby looks the same as the mother, sometimes it’s thin, holey, bubbly, tinted/brown or doesn’t float. It’s like each SCOBY has a story of it’s own. It needs the ideal conditions to thrive, but at the end of the day, we do not have full control. Temperature, contaminants, or poor quality ingredients can exhaust the mother in due time.
Signs of Bad SCOBY (Bad as in BAD kind of bad)
- white/green/blue/black disks floating on top
- dry/dusty/fuzzy substance on surface
Not limited to the signs above, Kombucha may grow mold if the brew is not in an ideal acidic and warm environment. Warm environment also means a faster brew – win win!
When in doubt throw it out! Don’t be discouraged if your starter goes south. Learning the hows and whys from those mistakes will help you get closer to your end goal!
Tips & DIY Ideas
- Use organic ingredients and non-metal equipment when possible
- Homemade kombucha will lose it’s potency if you store it in the fridge. Try adding some ice cubes for a cool booch!
- Set up a SCOBY “Hotel” (NEW POST) for happy SCOBYs
- Flavour your booch with other juices, teas, or herbs during the 2nd fermentation
- Want more carbonation? Add more sugar during the 2nd fermentation process
Now getting the the basics down on paper, there is quite a bit to drink in. Don’t be intimidated! Trust. You will be enjoying a fresh batch of homemade booch in no time!
Note: If you are a child, are pregnant, have a compromised immune system, or have kidney disease, it may be advisable to talk with your doctor before beginning to drink kombucha.