You’ve have a SCOBY from us, or from a friend, now what?! Well, if you’re not ready to make kombucha just yet, keep the scoby in your ziplock bag or plastic container and put it in the fridge for safekeeping. But when you are ready, let’s start with the brew mix:
Making the brew mix
- Add 2 quarts of water to a saucepan
- Bring to a boil
- When boiled, add 1/2 cup of tea leaves, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
- Turn down heat and simmer for 10 minutes
- Turn off heat, set aside to cool to 90F
The scoby does not go here! This is just the brew mix. Keep that scoby safely aside. Now, let’s move on to making your first batch of kombucha. You’ll be introducing the scoby to your brew mix in a happy new home, the production jar.
Get a large, clean jar. Rinse thoroughly, no soap residue. Sterilize by pouring in some boiling water, then pouring the water back out. Set aside for a minute, so it’s not hot.
This jar, we’ll call it your Production Jar.
- put your starter SCOBY in this jar
- Strain (with a fine mesh cone filter) 4 cups of brew mix from above, and add to the jar. Take care to pour via inside wall of jar, to not break the scoby.
- Put a muslin cloth on top of jar, and secure with a rubber band. You don’t want to use a jar lid, that’s suffocating, and your don’t want to use cheese cloth, that’s too loose, flies may find their way in. A clean piece of old t-shirt may work, or an scarf, as long as its cotton and breathable. But muslin cloth is the best – sometimes they are sold as “utility cloth”.
- Now you wait for the scoby to do its job. Keep jar on counter, out of sunlight. Don’t put it near a stove or other heat source. Do not refrigerate either. Room temperature is where kombucha thrives. After three days or so, the scoby should start to float to the top of the liquid. That’s a good sign. Bubbles on top of the liquid is a good sign too. The symbiosis is happening.
- The kombucha should be ready to drink in 7 days or so. You can pour out about a liter of liquid to drink, but wait, you’ll want to keep your scoby alive. Read below to prepare for your next batch.
Second and future batches
Now you will want to add another clean jar to your process. It should be a larger jar. We’ll call this your SCOBY Hotel.
- Make a new brew per instructions above. While that’s brewing:
- If you have multiple layers of scoby in your production jar, transfer all but one layer of scoby to your SCOBY Hotel, pouring enough liquid from your production jar to immerse the layers in your hotel.
- Keeping the one scoby layer in your production jar and about one inch of liquid, remove the remaining liquid. This is kombucha ready to drink. It may have some particulate matter, breakaways from the scoby. That’s okay, but if you prefer, you can strain the kombucha for a cleaner pour. If you don’t drink it all immediately, you may refrigerate it. Keep your production jar, though, at room temperature.
- Meanwhile, your brew mix should be ready, cooled down to 90F. Strain (with a fine mesh cone), add it to your production jar, gently pouring on the inside wall, to not break your scopy. The cycle continues.
What do you do with this hotel?! Well, once you have enough layers, give a scoby away to a friend. Let them start their own colony! Your hotel also is your backup plan, in case your production jar goes bad for whatever reason. Keep your production jar happy by feeding it occasionally. If you’re following the cycle above, you’ll always be making new brew mix, contributing to your production jar, and extracting enough to feed the hotel too.
But, if you haven’t produced a new batch in a week, then mix a smaller amount of tea and sugar, cooled down to 90F, and add to your hotel. Don’t let it go dry.
If you need to go leave home for more than a week, then it’s okay to refrigerate the hotel. The colony will safely go into a dormant state. Remove from fridge when you return.