How to Make a Kombucha SCOBY

How to Make a Kombucha SCOBY

Did you know that you can make your own kombucha SCOBY? Maybe you’ve neglected or mistreated your SCOBY or it’s gotten contaminated. Or, maybe you want to start brewing your own kombucha for the first time. The easiest way is to get a SCOBY from a friend but that’s not always possible. Making a SCOBY takes time, but very little effort.

I moved across the country a few years ago and had to store my SCOBY in a storage facility for several months. When I pulled it out to start a batch, it had absolutely no smell. I suspect the so-called “climate-control” of the unit was set to “summer in Texas.” I decided to start over with a new SCOBY. Here is how I did it.

making a kombucha scoby

Start with one quart of sweet tea (black tea with 1/4 c. of sugar). When it’s completely cooled to room temperature, remove 1 c. of tea from the jar and replace it with 1 c. of GT’s Synergy kombucha. (You can add more kombucha if you like.) I recommend this brand simply because it’s raw (non-pasteurized) without any added flavors and easy to find.

Cover the jar with a paper coffee filter or piece of fabric and secure it with a rubber band or canning jar ring. You want to keep out dust and bugs but allow air flow. Leave the jar on the counter.

A few days later your quart jar of tea mixed with kombucha should look like this. If it doesn’t, wait a few more days.

a little fermentation beginning–a good sign!

Several days later you can expect something like this…

This is one of those times you want your food to resemble a scummy pond.

It’s important not to rush the process. Make sure the surface is bubbly and develops a gelatinous film that thickens every day. If the kombucha doesn’t have time to fully ferment the sweet tea before more sweet tea is added, the whole mixture will mold. (It won’t get bubbly and the surface will develop a black scum.)

After a week or so, add the whole quart of kombucha to another quart of sweet tea (1 quart of tea mixed with 1/4 c. sugar).

kombucha scoby

When it develops an actual SCOBY (the film thickens into a whitish rubbery disc), transfer it and your half gallon of kombucha to a gallon jar with another quart of sweet tea. When that batch ferments to your liking, resume your normal kombucha-making cycle.

kombucha flavored with dried mango, tasting ever so much more elegant in a wine glass

Depending on the temperature in your house, expect the process to take about a month.

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