FOLLOW GUIDELINES TO ENSURE SAFETY OF FINAL PRODUCT
Reprinted with permission of THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW
By Rachel Baker
The SCOBY will grow in about seven to 14 days. It is best to research photos to learn more about the appearance of a healthy SCOBY, but in general it ranges in color from yellow-white to light brown (like a tea stained cloth). Dead SCOBY is usually black, and any mold development will appear fuzzy and white, or colorful.
A healthy, active SCOBY tends to develop in a pancake-like disc, but it will easily break apart into little globs if the surface growth is disturbed. You can taste the starter liquid at this point if you’re brave enough. It should taste sour, but not to the point of being as sour as vinegar. It will be light brown in color.
With the starter liquid finished, you can now ferment a batch of tea. Brew a few cups of water to make a concentrated brewed tea with 10 grams
(five teabags) of black tea. Once steeped, remove the tea bags and pour into a large container. Mix in one cup of granulated sugar. Pour in filtered water until the tea reaches a gallon in volume. Let cool to room temperature or at least 80 degrees.
Add in the SCOBY and one cup of starter liquid. Let the tea sit for another seven to 10 days in warm conditions until another SCOBY forms. You’ll know it is ready to bottle when it is light brown in color and acidic to your liking.
Bottling is where the flavoring is added and carbonation is produced as a byproduct of the yeast eating any remaining or added sugars. Remove the SCOBY and one cup of liquid to make your next batch of starter liquid.
You can add fruit juices, chunks of fruit or berries, ginger, spices or whatever you think sounds good to the bottle. You can use old kombucha bottles for this, flip top bottles, mason jars or whatever is available for this final step.
Pour in the flavoring and fermented tea, and let sit at room temperature for two to five days. After two or three days, open it and check the carbonation. Leave it at room temperature to increase carbonation. If you like the level of carbonation, refrigerate overnight to let the carbonation settle and enjoy.
Brewing kombucha at home can be an affordable alternative to paying $4 to $6 for a bottle of it at the store.