diy (sort of) kombucha!


No, this doesn’t mean I’m a kombucha superfan now. However, after numerous misses (like my chia kombucha gross-out) I’ve found a couple of brands I like (Townshend’s and Wheatsville—yes, from the co-op in Austin), so I thought I’d give this a whirl. Making my own, I’m in charge of how long it ferments, and I get to strain out the goopy, stringy stuff.

I got this kit from the Vida Vegan swag bag. It’s from a local company (like less than a mile from me), Oregon Kombucha. It contains a giant tea bag and the starter SCOBY.

So what do you have to do? Brew a gallon of tea. Cool it. Then add it to a container with the SCOBY and wait. Boom: kombucha. Here’s my setup:


You do need to keep a few things in mind (and between the instructions and the Oregon Kombucha website, you’ll have total confidence):

  • Make sure you let the tea cool. If your tea’s too hot it’s going to kill the SCOBY.
  • Don’t use a sugar substitute. Just like when you’re making bread, that sugar is food for your food. It gets eaten during the fermentation process.
  • Cover with a cloth (I used a napkin and a headband thingy). Do not seal. It’s got to breathe.
  • Try to keep it warm. The ideal temperature is 80º. Is it warm next to your refrigerator? Got a window the kittens don’t sit in? If your kombucha-to-be cools off, mold has a better chance of growing. If you get mold, game over.
  • A layer of SCOBY will grow at the top. And it’s not pretty. Do an image search for SCOBY for a real treat.
  • Taste your brew every week until it reaches the strength you take a liking to—when you bottle and refrigerate it, the fermentation halts and your flavor level is set. Tom was in charge of this first batch, and he waited for four weeks to call it quits. It’s way too strong for me, but he digs it. I halted the second batch after just a week. Because I am apparently a big baby who can’t handle it. Or I just like what I like and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Oh yeah, this one kit is good for your entire kombucha-making career! Follow the instructions for follow-up batches. You basically need to reserve one cup of the finished kombucha and the SCOBY—then add it to your new gallon of tea (black, green, fruity, whatever) and begin the waiting-and-tasting process all over. Pretty darn cool, if you ask me.

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