I finally FINALLY brewed my first batch of tea for Kombucha. And BTW, if you can name where I pulled the title from, I’ll love you forever. We will also be doing karaoke, which I suck at but love too much to care – so I need you to be prepared to bring your A-game. Now that’s settled, and we’re moving on… This Kombucha business is actually a process I started almost a year ago. No, seriously – when I first decided to go down the avenue of home-brewed Kombucha, we were getting our fence built…
I had read all of my cousin Jelly’s posts on her Kombucha brewing adventures, but wasn’t really hooked on the idea until she brewed one with Cherry Cider. A-Hem. Cherry Cider is a thing?? I am so in.
I was also super intrigued with the idea of having a regular supply of Kombucha to save me
from the war zone that is my tummy. I love food, but most foods make me feel terrible – at 3:00 in the morning. Thus, I try to nurture the little food-allergy fighters that live in my belly with probiotics – of which Kombucha is one. I had begun thinking this was a win-win situation for Jamie, so I asked Jell-Jell to bring me an extra SCOBY when she came up to do brilliant things to my backyard fence (and also hang out with me, and talk every day face to face and not from ever so far away like usual, and trade doing the dishes and the laundry because I hate one and she hates the other, and just have all around awesome cousin fun time with no bedtimes and no interruptions because we’re grown ups now and who’s going to stop us?)
Anyhoot, she brought me that SCOBY like a BOSS, and I was all set to brew my first batch. Except first I needed to go out and drink some Synergy Kombucha so I could save the glass bottles for the latter-half of the brewing process.
Well…a couple weeks went by before I finally found Kombucha in Denton. It was RIDICULOUS. But, I bought some and it was delicious, and I washed and saved my bottles, which left me lacking nothing but a gallon jug for fermenting.
Buuuut…It took me another month – or five – to get the jar. The reasons are too lengthy to include in this post, but long-story short, my inner-ballerina was running the show.
So. When I went to go check on my SCOBY it was rather….stringy. And non-shape-having. This wasn’t how it looked when Jells gave it to me, so I chucked it, because I’m pretty sure my brew would have been grody. Or poisonous.
Alas, it wasn’t until just last month that I found a super cute couple via Craigslist about 20 minutes from me, who seem to have an endless supply of SCOBY’s for my retrieval. Which is great, because as I mentioned, I don’t exactly have the best track record with the SCOBY’s. A couple of weeks ago I picked up two of them for $15, and all kinds of brewing tips, from the nicest people you’d ever want to meet (plus a free glass of Kombucha for the time we spent chatting!!) and brewed my very first batch of tea today!!
I followed Jelly’s recipe almost down to the letter (…Q, I’m going to say it was the letter Q), which you can totally check out here on I’ll Sleep When They’re Grown Blog.
So here’s my supply list:
- 1 SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria & Yeast) in 1 cup of starter tea
- 1 gal Distilled Water (4 quarts)
- 8 tea bags – Green Tea
- 1 cup Sugar (2oz per quart)
- 1 gal Glass Jug
- 1 clean Tea Towel
- 1 Large Rubber Band
- 1 4 quart Stock Pot – Stainless Steel
- 1 Steel Spoon
And here’s how I rolled with it:
- I made sure the pot was super clean (I used hot water, dish soap, and white vinegar) and rinsed to O.C.D. standards
- I added the gallon of distilled water and brought it to a boil.
- I dropped in the 8 tea bags, and turned off the heat.
- I let the tea bags hang out in the hot water for 15 minutes
- I pulled the tea bags out and added in the 1 cup of sugar
- I stirred the sugar in until it was all dissolved
- I waited HOURS for the brewed tea to cool all the way through. I didn’t proceed to the next step until it felt cooler than my fingers, all the way to the bottom of the pot (you know it’ll stay cozy warm under the surface, so be alert!! You don’t want to kill your SCOBY)
- I then washed my empty gallon glass jug in super hot water, soap, and vinegar. I rinsed really, really well to make sure there were no traces of anything but water remaining, then dried it off really well.
- I placed my SCOBY in the bottom, added the starter tea, and poured in the cooled new brew.
- I then placed a clean tea towel over the top, secured it with a rubber-band, and stuck my jug in the closet to wait for 2 weeks
I’m going to do my damndest not to mess with it, but I’m not making any promises. I NEED TO KNOW what it’s doing. And also, if I keep checking, it might get my point and hurry up.
I have a whole extra SCOBY lounging in my fridge, and a jug – so I can get a second batch going ASAP. (This way I’ll have a solid two week supply of Kombucha to get me through the brewing process on the next go ’round). I would have brewed them both, but my super-huge stock pot was being used to make soap. So, I’ll just have to do that next batch on Tuesday with the dinky pot like I did today.
Once the tea is tart, and not sweet, I get to move onto PHASE 2!! Where I add the juice!! And you know what? I’m not going to tell you the flavors I chose. It’s going to be a surprise!!
~ J ~