I’m always looking for new/fun things to try so when I had the chance to take a home brew kombucha class, I couldn’t pass it up. I was on the fence about whether I liked kombucha, but my husband loves it. The store-bought bottles of kombucha that I had tried ranged from too tart or overly fermented to tasting like an old sock that was left in a jar for too long. Blech. So my hopes were that making my own kombucha meant I would be able to control the taste.
What is kombucha?
If you’ve never heard of kombucha (or have seen it in the store but didn’t know what it was), kombucha is a lightly fermented tea that is touted for its health benefits. It’s loaded with probiotics and helps with digestion. Other more far-fetched health claims include curing arthritis, aging, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses.
What is a SCOBY?
Kombucha is “brewed” by fermenting black or green tea and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). The SCOBY contains the good bacteria needed for fermentation. A batch of kombucha begins with 14 cups of water, 8 black tea bags (or some mix of green and black, but the SCOBY needs some black tea in the mix), and a cup of sugar. The tea and sugar mixture is cooled to room temperature and then you add the SCOBY to it. It sits and ferments/brews for 4-7 days, at which point you remove the SCOBY to its own home in another jar and then you strain the mixture (see video below).
Gross. Is that mold?
The SCOBY is a biofilm that can resemble mold to the untrained eye. However, mold is a serious contamination that means you have to throw out your SCOBY and the entire batch you’re brewing. KombuchaKamp.com has great information and photos that show the difference between mold and normal SCOBY growth.
So, fingers crossed. I fed my baby SCOBYs that I received in class and have used one to start my first brew. Let’s hope for a successful brew!