How to Make a Kombucha SCOBY
7 cups of purified water
1/2 cup of sugar
4 teabags of (green, black, or a combo) tea or 3 tsp of loose leaf tea
1 cup of unflavored, unpasteurized kombucha you bought from the store
Tea kettle or saucepan
1 gallon glass container
2 quart or larger glass vessel
piece of cloth with a tight weave
rubber band or string
- Brew the the sweet tea. Heat 7 cups of purified water in a tea kettle or saucepan. Just as the water starts to boil, turn off heat & let cool 1-2 minutes, then add to your (sanitized) glass vessel (avoid metal and plastic). If your tea kettle or saucepan isn’t very large, it’s ok to heat the water in allotments. Once all 7 cups of purified water are added to the vessel, add 4 tea bags (green, black, or a combo). Steep 5-10 minutes. Remove the tea bags and stir in 1/2 cup of sugar until dissolved. Let the tea cool to room temperature.
- Add the store-bought kombucha. Pour the whole bottle of store-bought kombucha into the sweet tea. Be sure to add any floating sediment that you see in the kombucha bottle. If your kombucha bottle has no floating sediment it’s ok … a SCOBY will still form. Stir the kombucha until it’s mixed with the sweet tea.
- Store for up to 4 weeks. Cover container with a tightly woven cloth and rubber band—handkerchiefs and t-shirt fabric works great. The cloth keeps pesky fruit flies out. Place the container in a dark, warm, ventilated area for up to 4 weeks. The SCOBY will grow optimally in a room with a temperature of 70 degrees Farenheight. Avoid direct sunlight as this may interfere with the SCOBY’s development.
- Watch the SCOBY grow. After the first few days of inactivity you will begin to see bubbles in your vessel. These bubbles will eventually collect and form a thin film on the surface of your liquid. The thin layer will continue to grow as the contents ferment. The layer should look gelatinous and become more opaque with time. Once your SCOBY is 1/4” thick it is ready to use in your first batch of kombucha.
- Your new SCOBY. It is not unusual for your SCOBY to look ugly once you’ve finished. As you use your SCOBY to make different batches of kombucha it will smooth out and become a more consistent color. I wouldn’t recommend drinking the leftover tea. Although it is technically kombucha, it will be very fermented and more vinegary than you may prefer. I like to start a fresh batch with my newly formed SCOBY, so that I can get the taste just how I like it.
Note: Holes, lumps, and bumps in your SCOBY are ok! Start over if your SCOBY grows fuzz or green and black mold. You should also start over if your SCOBY doesn’t smell slightly vinegary or tart, and instead smells more rancid or cheesy.