I started growing my own SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) the other night so I can begin fermenting my own kombucha at home. I’m excited! For those unfamiliar with kombucha, it’s a fermented tea full of super duper healthy probiotics, and slightly fizzy. I plan on trying all sorts of flavors with mine to see what I can come up with. I followed the directions here: Mother May I Make a Kombucha Scoby. Also, her blog is fabulous!
Now let’s hope it grows 🙂
Supplies I used: Cheesecloth, organic cane sugar (1/3 cup), 2 black tea bags, 1 jar raw organic unflavored kombucha (GT’s Brand), 4 cup Pyrex dish and beverage jar.
Brewed the sweet tea, let it sit until it was room temperature, combined it with the kombucha, and covered with cheesecloth:
It’s a great sign! However, you might want to use something with a tighter weave than cheesecloth – you’ll catch lots more of the wild bacteria and yeasts in your home with cheesecloth (which can be a good thing in fermentation, but if you’ve already got a culture you want to keep going, like kombucha, you don’t want to add too many other organisms), but more importantly fruit flies can get into your brew, and picking them out is a pain in the ***. 😉
I started my first SCOBY this way, too. I checked out your source link, and I’d add the following for successful kombucha brewing: don’t use soap to wash any equipment your kombucha will touch during the process – scrub with hot water, then use distilled vinegar to sanitize.
Good luck! This is such a fun adventure! I’m just getting my blog set up again after a giant data loss, but will try to get some of my flavoring recipes posted soon, in case you’d like to check them out. 🙂
Thank you for your reply!! So-mine is actually kind of hidden-away in a closet that wouldn’t have near the bacteria that other areas of the house would. When I started it, my in-laws were in town, so rooms were taken, and kitchen was full, so I shoved it in my walk-in hall closet! No fruit flies or anything like that, being away from the kitchen.
Thanks for the tips-I also did not use any soap, as I didn’t want to kill anything!!
Question for you though, my scoby is definitely growing, just very slowly. It’s been 2 weeks and isn’t quite thick enough to form a solid mushroom. Thoughts? I suppose it could be the kind of black tea I used…also, I kind of forgot how to ferment my first batch, as it’s been so long since I researched starting my SCOBY! I need to look again and refresh my memory 🙂
Thanks for sharing your blog!
You’re welcome! Thanks for answering. LOL So many people don’t respond much to blog comments.
There are microorganisms in all the air, even in the closet… And, really, my logical science-loving mind tells me that a tightly-woven cover certainly doesn’t keep them all out, if it even keeps any of them out! But it does keep dust and bugs out, and the consensus among kombucha people seems to be that it prevents their SCOBYs from being contaminated with mold or other undesirables.
I’m planning on taking daily SCOBY photos from start to finish so people get a better idea of all the ways a healthy SCOBY can grow. The first thing I thought of when reading your question was, “What’s ‘thick enough’?” I mean, by whose standards? It does take a long time to get a SCOBY from just the starter liquid without a mature culture, and temperature has much to do with that as well. I think the last batch I started without a SCOBY (and from the GT’s brand organic raw) took about 2-1/2 weeks, but it was at a nice constant 83 degrees (the brewing booch, not the air around it) sitting on top of my water heater. Get an instant-read thermometer (a $5 non-electronic one is fine) and check your brew’s temperature now and then. My big crock uses a reptile tank heater to keep its temperature in the happy brewing range (about 74-84F).
I SWEAR I will get to posting stuff on the blog soon. Oh, the busy-ness!! I’m working on a little kombucha brewing e-book, too.
Of course, this is how I learn 🙂
Okay, so maybe I will replace the cheese cloth with something tighter or thicker.
I meant thick, like the images you see if you google SCOBY, meaning thick, round, rubbery looking circle, LOL. 🙂 Mine is definitely growing, just seems to be so, at a snails pace, and isn’t completely solid across the entire surface inside the crock. Does that make sense? Like you, I started mine from GT’s organic raw as well, and it’s been 3 weeks so far. No fuzzy mold or anything like that. My temp is only at around 70 degrees, so maybe I will change the cover, and get a heat source…?
Thoughts? Oh the fun!