(Written by Rainy)
My husband and I are pretty excited because we have a new pet. It is a kombucha Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast also know as a SCOBY. We may as well call it a pet because it needs love and care for it to live and thrive. Luckly, the care required is not much more than having a pet rock.
We were lucky to know a friend who has been doing all sorts of fermenting projects including: sourdough, kefir and kombucha. She agreed to let us “adopt” one of her kombucha SCOBYs. When giving care directions, she told us that once the SCOBY is “happy” it floats. Then it reproduces quickly and you will have baby SCOBYs coming out your ears. We are thankful that she was willing to give us a SCOBY to get us started.
Kombucha tea is thought to have originated in China or Manchuria. Then the tradition moved to Russia, according to Wikipidia. It has been claimed to have health and long-life benefits, but there is no scientific evidence yet to support any claims. Opinions may vary, but one thing I can agree with is that Kombucha tea is both delicious and refreshing.
With any fermented product, especially if it is non-pasteurized and home crafted, there is the chance of contamination from undesirable molds, yeast and bacteria that can be dangerous and deadly if consumed. Home fermenters must be cautions about this possibility. It is important to use clean and disinfected equipment. It is also important to wash your hands and keep your work area clean of molds and bacteria that can contaminate your tea.
This is our first time brewing Kombucha so we are following directions given to us by our friend and then we can experiment in the future.
Kombucha Tea: Part 1
1 Kombucha SCOBY
2 quarts filtered water
⅔ cup sugar
⅔ cup starter tea (from a previous batch)
4 teaspoons to ½ ounces of your choice of tea leaves (as desired), green and oolong teas work best
Keep the Kombucha SCOBY in a wide mouthed glass container. The jar needs to remain out of direct sunlight and have a breathable cover, like a paper towel or cloth secured with a rubber band or a lenght of yarn, over the top at all times.
Boil the water in a pan and add your tea leaves as if you were going to brew yourself hot tea to drink.
Remove tea leaves when at desired strength, after about two to three minutes. Add the sugar to the tea while it is still hot and mix to dissolve the sugar.
Let the tea/sugar cool, covered until it reaches room temperature. If the tea is too hot it will kill the SCOBY!
Once cooled to room temperature, add the tea to the container containing the SCOBY and starter tea.
Replace the breathable cover to keep out bugs and undesirable wild bacteria, yeasts and molds. Leave the SCOBY alone for about five to nine days. The number of days can be altered. Leave for longer to have a stronger taste and fizz. Or shorter to have a sweeter less fizzy taste.
In nine days we will check back and see how our tea is doing.