Friday, February 24, 2012


A few years ago I was intrigued by a fermented tea in a corner store in Manhattan. It was probably $3 a bottle, but I'm a sucker for novelty, so I laid my money down. Over the past year, I more and more will splurge on a bottle when I'm looking for a boost, so much so that I decided it was time to save some money by making my own.

If you're squeamish, you might not want to read further.

Kombucha is a bubbly fermented tea. It is made using a solid mass of yeast and bacteria, known as a SCOBY, sometimes referred to as a mushroom. (The idea of mushroom tea is enough to put many people off from it. It's definitely an acquired taste, but so is beer, and beer has no shortage of fans.) It is this SCOBY that gets one started making Kombucha. The other ingredients are pretty much just tea, water, and sugar. Apparently SCOBYs multiply, but I couldn't readily locate someone who had 'babies' they were looking to get rid of in my area, so I looked to the internet for ways to make my own. I bought two bottles of GT raw organic Kombucha and tried two different methods. The first involves just pouring half of a bottle into a jar and letting it sit. I let it sit for two weeks before the SCOBY looked like the healthy examples I had seen online.

From there I steeped two bags of green tea in two liters of boiling water and added 1 1/2 cups of sugar. When the mix had cooled to room temperature (so as to not kill the live cultures), I added the Kombucha that I had grown my SCOBY in and the SCOBY itself. Then I covered it with a towel and placed it in a shady warm spot to do its thing.

The second method of growing your own mother involves a full bottle and a cup of sweet tea. It could be because there is more liquid present, but at the two week mark, the SCOBY is clear and bubbly. It smells right, but it doesn't look ready to remove yet.

I'll update this post when I progress in this experiment. I was excited and wanted to throw up what I have.