Started some kombucha brewing today with my one of my bestie! It’s possible to create your own scoby (the active culture or “mother” that turns tea and sugar into kombucha) using a bottle of store bought kombucha.
I haven’t made kombucha in several years as I’d been avoiding fermented foods. But as my bank account will show, I’ve been happily back on the kombucha train for a while! Lol. Like a lot of products we spend loads of money on pre-made, organic kombucha is so inexpensive and relatively simple to make on your own.
Check out the instructions below for how to brew your own kombucha from scratch.
I did a lot of research on how to brew my own kombucha tea and below is the recipe I created from a few different sources. I also found this series of videos on Youtube really helpful, although they are LONG. Even so, she addresses a lot of topics and provides some good information about the process:
- Wooden spoon
- Gallon glass jar (I used a pickle jar)
- Stainless steel pot
- Clean piece of white cloth to go over the top of the glass jar (an old t-shirt works fine. Don’t use cheesecloth as it is too porous).
Ingredients (organic preferred)
- 4-5 black tea bags (don’t use flavored teas…black tea is preferred. You can also use green or white. Herbal teas should not be used)
- 1-3 cups sugar (depending on preferred sweetness)
- 1 bottle commercial kombucha tea (G.T.’s or other)
- 1 gallon of purified water
Bring ½ gallon of water to a boil and dissolve the sugar into it, stirring with a wooden spoon. (Alter the amount of sugar you add depending on how sweet you want the end product. Also, you can add sugar to the brewed kombucha when bottling it to increase sweetness.)
Turn the stove off and add the tea bags. Let steep for 20 minutes. Stir and remove teabags, pressing out liquid from tea bags before discarding. Pour tea into the glass jar and then add the remaining purified water, leaving about 2” of room at the top. Check the temperature of the tea to make sure it is lukewarm (the kombucha can’t grow in boiling hot water). Add the bottle of kombucha to the glass jar and gently stir. There should still be about 1” of room at the top.
Place the white cloth over the top of the jar and affix with a rubber band. Store in a clean, dark, dry place – a cabinet works very well. Make sure the jar won’t be disturbed.
In about a week the SCOBY culture should form on the top. This is the “mother mushroom.” You can wait 7-14 days for it to mature. You will use this mushroom instead of the jar of kombucha to make future batches. A new baby SCOBY will form with the initial mother in each of the following batches.
Save old glass kombucha bottles, glass soda bottles or even beer bottles (with twist on/off caps). Anything the kombucha touches should be glass, so make sure they are glass bottles.
Remove the fabric and rubber band from the glass jar of brewed kombucha. Gently take out the SCOBY (with clean hands!) and place in another glass jar or glass container. Add enough kombucha tea to cover the SCOBY.
Using a funnel (NOT metal, plastic is okay) pour the kombucha into the clean glass bottles. Cap the bottles tightly and return them to the cabinet for another 2 days. This will create the additional fermentation that makes the kombucha nice and bubbly. You can drink the kombucha at room temperature or refrigerate where it will keep for a longer period of time.
(If you find the kombucha is not sweet enough, add a little sugar to the bottom of the bottling jars before pouring in the kombucha. This is how you can flavor the kombucha as well – cut up any type of sweet fruit and put it in the bottom of the jar before pouring in the kombucha. You could also put spirulina or green vitamin powder at the bottom to increase the benefits of the tea. Put whatever you are adding at the bottom of the bottle first, then pour the kombucha in.)
Store the mother mushroom(s) in a similar glass jar with enough kombucha tea to cover it/them. Keep the jar covered with a piece of white cloth and a rubberband. It’s helpful to have a “master mother” jar where you store all your mother mushrooms.
To make kombucha from a mother mushroom/SCOBY
To make another batch of kombucha using the mother mushroom, follow the same initial instructions. Instead of adding the bottle of commercial kombucha to the top, add the mother mushroom. The brewing process takes 7-10 days depending on how warm the ambient temperature is. The longer it sits, the less sweet it will become. If let to sit too long, it will turn to vinegar. It is still usable for vinegar purposes, but likely not very tasty to drink.
Your mother mushrooms should keep indefinitely. In each brewed batch, a baby will form with the mother, and they can be separated before storing. The mothers will grow with each batch of kombucha that is formed. If you find yourself with a lot of mother mushrooms, either brew some more kombucha or maybe consider giving them away.
It’s important to remember that whatever you put into your kombucha tea goes right into you…so I personally believe in using as many organic, pure ingredients as possible.