Kombucha Phase 1: How to Make a SCOBY
The day is here! Can you guys feel the excitement bubbling up...? (Couldn't help myself.) Last week I gave you a list of supplies and answered a few basic questions to get you started with home brewing. What's fun about this whole process is that you can either join in and brew along with me and others (#atdbrewparty what's up), or you can begin anytime you're reading this! If you don't have your supplies yet but still want to join us, it's not too late. SCOBYs can grow at different rates, so a day or two won't make a huge difference. Which brings me to today's topic...
What is a SCOBY?
First, let's define it. SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. This ugly little jelly-fish-like disc is what we're growing today. It's gotta get ugly before it gets pretty, folks. If you've ever had a bottle of kombucha you may have noticed a few floaters (terrible term, I'm sorry) in the bottle. Those little guys are the beginning of a SCOBY! What we need to do is encourage them to grow, baby, grow.
There are a few ways to make sure your SCOBY grows well in a healthy environment:
- make sure all your supplies are 100% clean
- keep your jar out of direct sunlight
- do not jostle or move the jar
Note: I suggest you read this article from The Kitchn if you're interested in the science behind the SCOBY and want to know what to watch for as it grows.
Weeks 1-4: You can expect Weeks 1-4 to be spent watching bacteria grow in a jar. Fun!
Weeks 2 +: However, some SCOBYs may grow quicker than others, depending on your environment. I'll watch to see how everyone's are growing to gauge when we'll move to the next step.
Week 4: We begin the first fermentation for your first drinkable batch of kombucha!
Week 5-6: While your first batch carbonates, we start all over from week 4 to create a continuous stream of 'buch! I'll be sharing recipes for different flavors to try and we'll troubleshoot and answer questions along the way. Just hit me up on Instagram or Facebook!
Ready to get started?
I'm training Avery to be my sous chef, so allow us to show you the way:
How to Make a Kombucha Scoby
Here's what you need:
7 cups water
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
4 bags black tea
1 cup unflavored, unpasteurized store-bought kombucha
Paper towels, rubber band
- Make your sweet tea. (Something to note: the sugar is actually what helps the SCOBY grow. All your sugar is going into the SCOBY, so it doesn't really have anything to do with taste. White granulated sugar is the absolute best to help your SCOBY grow.) Bring water to a boil, stir in sugar, and allow tea to steep until it reaches room temperature.
- Pour cooled tea in to your clean, gallon size jar. Add one cup of kombucha and stir. Place a few layers of paper towels over the top and secure with a band.
- Wait and watch! Place the jar in an area where it won't get jostled and out of direct sunlight.
- Over the next 4 weeks you'll begin to see your SCOBY grow. It begins as bubbles on top of the tea, slowly becoming a film, and thickening over time. It should smell like vinegar, not cheesy or foul. When it's opaque and about a quarter of an inch thick, it's time to begin brewing your first drinkable batch!
You may not want to post photos of a weird, bacteria-filled jellyfish (albiet GOOD bacteria) on your social media — I get that. (Instagram stories to the rescue!) If you want to check in then you can follow me at @allthedelightsblog, as well as Facebook. We're tagging this baby #atdbrewparty, so when you do share those beautiful blobs, tag 'em! And don't worry, it gets prettier as we go, I promise.
I'll be sharing updates of my SCOBY often on IG stories AND did you guys know you can follow hashtags on Instagram now?! So cool. Just type in the tag and tap "Follow" to have the tag show up in your feed. I know social media is annoying sometimes, but I think this is the easiest way for us to keep tabs and update one another. Unless y'all want weekly Skype dates then let me know. I'm down.
Ready, Set, Brew!
Here we go! Happy brewing!