Death of a Scoby

Our kombucha scoby that we have loved and cared for so lovingly fell victim this week to a fruit fly infestation. [moment of silence please for our scoby] I noticed fruit flies in our kitchen a few days ago and couldn’t figure out where they were coming from. We seriously searched everywhere for the source since we keep a very clean kitchen… we figured a piece of fruit must have fallen under the island, under the sofa or somewhere we didn’t see. We couldn’t find the source no matter where we looked. Of course it was right there in front of us, but I didn’t notice the creepy crawlies in the kombucha until I went to add more tea this afternoon. I guess in the summer we will need an additional cover on the jar. I hate flies.

May you rest in peace our dear Scoby.

Continuous Kombucha Brewing

Continuous KombuchaAfter the success of the first kombucha brew, I decided that it would make sense to brew the kombucha continuously. This basically means that you have a larger batch going in a container with a spigot so the drink can be removed without disturbing the scoby. I decided to use the Anchor Hocking 2 gallon Heritage Hill jar (mostly because I like how it looks). So far it is working quite well with no leaks and the plastic spigot won’t react with the kombucha. I made sure to clean the container thoroughly and rinse the inside with a vinegar-water solution before adding the kombucha mix.

Ingredients for 2 gallon setup:

28 cups water
2 cups starter tea left over from last batch
2 cups sugar (I used coconut palm sugar)
16 tea bags (I used organic green tea)
Scoby

Be sure when adding the first batch of tea to your container, don’t add hot water directly as it could cause the glass to break. You could add 10 or so cups of cold water or tea to the container first before adding the warmer tea to help ease the temperature change. Allow the tea to cool to a much more lukewarm temperature before adding your scoby as the hot water won’t be good for the scoby either. When adding replacement liquid for later batches, make sure the sugar-tea mix has cooled to room temperature before pouring over the scoby.

While some people will continuously take the kombucha directly from the container at varying times throughout the fermentation process, I plan to remove what I intend to drink during the 2 week fermentation process and leave the rest in the jar. Even though I used palm sugar in place of white sugar, I still don’t want to add any extra sugar into my system than necessary.

Visit http://www.culturesforhealth.com/kombucha-continuous-brewing-system for additional continuous kombucha brewing tips and recipes for other sized batches.

Kombucha Tasting

Kombucha Tasting

Kombucha made with palm sugar does indeed have a slightly more sour taste than kombucha made with cane sugar, but in my opinion it tastes quite good.  I chose to use the palm sugar purely for its health benefits and am happy I stuck with that decision in the end.  Now I just need to start the next batch and order a larger container to make this in.  To make your own kombucha, you can use our recipe here:  http://liskabora.com/kombucha-tea-recipe/

Kombucha Tea Recipe

Kombucha RecipeToday was the day for our new scoby to begin its life as a kombucha maker. Since I didn’t have a 1 gallon container, the little guy had to be split in two to fit into two half gallon batches. Hopefully that won’t hurt anything.

The tea for each of the half gallon batches contained the following ingredients:

1/2 gallon water
3 organic green tea bags
1 inch piece of ginger
1/2 cup organic palm sugar

I let this mixture steep for 1 hour and cool completely before removing the tea bags and ginger. It was at this point that I added the scoby and existing kombucha juice that it was living in to the two jars. I saved the ginger in the freezer to add back to the kombucha post fermentation for additional flavoring. Fermentation should take 1-2 weeks.  I will post an update once we get there!  Test your Kombucha with a ph strip or meter before your first taste,  it should be at a ph of 3.0 when complete.

See our post on Making a Kombucha Scoby for information on how to make your own scoby from store-bought raw Kombucha.

How To Make Your Own Kombucha Scoby

How to Make a Kombucha ScobyI have been trying to add more probiotics into my diet, but since eliminating dairy my old favorite kefir is no longer an option. Enter Kombucha. I was honestly afraid to try this drink in the first place after hearing horror stories of it being viscous and nasty. I tried it and that simply wasn’t the case. It was bubbly and refreshing instead.

Since I like to save money and drinking store bought kombucha every day can be quite expensive, I decided to make it myself.  Step one of this process is to make (or buy) a scoby.  This is the “film” where all of the good-for-you fermentation microbes live that ferment tea into your next batch of kombucha.  It is similar to the mother used to make vinegar.

It is quite easy to make your own.   All you need is a large bowl and 2 bottles of premade, raw, kombucha from the store.  I poured the first bottle into the bowl and let it sit on the counter for a week or so.  You could see the scoby starting to form on top of the liquid.  After about a week the liquid level started to drop and I added the second bottle.  The scoby should be about ready now to begin our first batch of kombucha, but it is living in the fridge at the moment until I decide on a recipe.

Tip:  if you have a friend who also makes kombucha, they might be able to give you a piece of scoby to get you started.