I went to a paleo meetup a few weeks back, it was awesome, and the topic was making your own kombucha. Fantastic!!! I find this to be some sort of kismet because two years ago when I went paleo I was looking for meetups and found none!! Fast forward to now and there are quite a few. And, wouldn't you know the first one I joined had a kombucha meetup the very next weekend. It was MEANT TO BE!!
Now bear in mind here that I don't follow recipes that well and this really is a work in progress for me.
This is by no means a tutorial.
I'm also not going to go into the science of all this or get really geeked out with specifics. You can use google for that.
At the workshop, the hostess with the mostess and a truly FABULOUS girl gave each of us a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast - YUM RIGHT?!!) in a jar with some starter tea to take home and start our own brew. I won't even lie to you, I was a little weirded out. It resembles a pc of chicken breast in some brine.
I took it home and made two large pitchers of tea. I used a pomegranate white tea from Trader Joes.
First, I just pulled tap water and boiled it and then steeped my tea. But, while it was steeping I remembered hearing something about not using tap water because of chlorine and other chemicals.
IDK... But, CRAP! So that pitcher of tea got tossed.
Let's do this again. Second time I pulled water from my fridge, filtered so I'm hoping it's ok, and I boiled and steeped my tea in that. I did about 6 tea bags per pitcher of water and steeped for about 15 minutes.
Then I filled the pitcher the rest of the way up with ice cubes. Let the cubes melt, and then dumped the pitcher of tea into a large glass container.
Hot water/tea will harm the scoby. Makes sense. It's a living creature after all and who wants to be thrown into a boiling container of tea.
I repeated the entire process for a second time. Resulting in two full pitchers of tea.
SHIT! Then, I remembered the sugar!! Yes, pure white sugar. The devil kind. Thankfully I had a little bit in my cabinet. ( Does it ever go bad?) All I had was a cup though. I think some other recipes call for a cup and a half, but I wasn't about to trek to the store again.
So, I poured my full cup of sugar into the tea that was in the glass container and stirred it a lot till it dissolved. DO NOT USE METAL utensils. This will harm your brew. There are details behind this, google it if you're interested.
Once my sugar was dissolved my tea was ready for the scoby!
Scoby eats the sugar. That's how it grows and thrives. Apparently you want to make sure you have enough sugar otherwise it will starve and go bad.
I opened the jar she had given me and just dumped the entire contents into my glass container of tea (scoby and starter tea, which is just left over tea from one of her batches).
The scoby immediately sank. I was upset. I thought there was something wrong with it or maybe I had done something wrong, but after much research and emails back and forth with Tara, this is a-ok. Nothing to be alarmed about.
Then, I covered up the glass container with a dish towel and my husband rigged me up a pc of string and a bungy cord thing to keep the towel on super tight. This lets the gases flow out and the brew can breathe all the while keeping out dust, dirt, bugs, etc.
That was it. I stuck the container in my cabinet and let it sit. It likes a good dark place that gets decent air. I found my kitchen cabinet was good for this.
After about 5 days I noticed that the original "mother" scoby was still on the bottom but a new "baby" scoby had grown all across the top! I was soooo damn excited!! Bust out the cigars!
On the 9th day, today, I used a straw and actually tasted the brew. It's still a little sweet for me so I'm going to leave it go another few days. The longer you leave it sit the less sweet it will be. I think you just need to make sure it doesn't go for too long otherwise the scoby will get hungry when there is no sugar left.
I'm going to do a second brew or fermentation if you want to call it and add some frozen pineapple.
I'll blog that when I get there. For now, I'm letting this continue to ferment for a few more days. Maybe Friday I will start the next step.