Tracy’s Kombucha Tea: Part 1

Hello Blog Family! Kellie’s Husband Tracy here!!!!

As some of you may know, I have a fascination with beverages. I love to find new and unique things to drink. Maybe it’s because I require a lot of fluids and just drinking water gets boring. I seem to always have a beverage within my reach. As you should know, I love coffee. Good coffee! It’s not “just” the caffeine, but I do like that part to.

That being said, every time we hit the natural grocery stores, I always stop off at the drink cooler to see what looks good. Well, several years ago while doing this, I grabbed a flavored Kombucha Tea and was forever hooked. I really love to drink the stuff, but I HATE to pay for the stuff! Around here, a bottle of GT’s Kombucha Tea cost’s around $4. Up in the mountain towns, it’s more. I CAN BUY TO LARGE COFFEE’S FOR THAT! Then one day while surfing around the net, I came across a web site talking about Kombucha Tea’s many (possible) health benefits ….AND… how you could brew it yourself! No Way! WAY!!! You sure can! And, it’s a  pretty cool process at that.

So, I took on the challenge to make my first batch. Kombucha Tea is made through a fermentation process involving brewed tea (black or green), sugar, a small amount of already brewed  Kombucha Tea and a Kombucha SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast). Ok, that last thing might throw you but it is basically a living culture that looks like a flat, white disc. (see picture to the right) The SCOBY is floated in the tea/sugar mix and it feeds off of it. It converts it to Kombucha Tea. The SCOBY “mother” also grows more SCOBY “baby’s” that can be peeled off and used in other batches or past on to friends so they can make their own tea. The tea itself, after the proper process, is slightly acidic, kinda tangy and naturally carbonated from the fermentation process. It can be flavored with all kinds of things or consumed straight (RAW).

Now for my experience so far. To get the process started, I had everything except for the SCOBY. (I don’t usually have those just lying around) You can sometimes buy them at your local health food store, but I was unable to find one. Anyway, I like to do things all the way, so I decided to “grow my own”. Yeah, you can do that too!

GROWING A Kombucha Tea SCOBY

Things you need:
1 – clean, sterile glass jar/container (one gallon best…glass only)
2 – bottles of raw Kombucha Tea (no flavors, just raw… from local health food store)
1 – gallon of fresh water (bottled or distilled best, but tap water works)
6 –  tea bags (green or black, but not herbal… must have caffeine)
1 – cup of plain white sugar
1 – old, white cotton t-shirt
1 – rubber band
1 –  Dark, warm, undisturbed place

Directions:
Boil the water for about 10 to 15 minutes to clear the chlorine from the water. Pour the water into the glass jar (make sure to leave enough room for the SCOBY and the 2 bottles of tea) and add the 6 tea bags. Steep for about 15 minutes. Remove the tea bags and pour in the sugar. Mix till sugar is dissolved completely. Now let sit till the mixture is room temperature. DO NOT RUSH THIS PART OR YOU WILL KILL THE CULTURE AND NOTHING WILL HAPPEN . MAKE SURE IT”S COOLED OFF! Once the temp is at or below 80 degree, pour in the 2 bottles of “Raw” Kombucha Tea you bought at the store (the SCOBY will grow from the active cultures in the tea) . Now cover with the t-shirt and secure with the rubber band.
NOTE: The t-shirt lets it breath while keeping out particles that could cause mold. Place the whole thing in a warm, dark place that will be undisturbed for the process. NO MOVEMENT! Let sit for about 30 days… until the SCOBY forming on top is about 1/4 inch thick. When it’s thick enough, wash your hands good, remove the SCOBY, about 2 cups of the “tea” and place them together in a bowl. Now dispose of the rest of the tea! YES, pour it out as it will be to acidic and not suitable to drink.

That’s it! You just grew your own SCOBY! Now your ready to start you first actual brewing of Kombucha Tea. It is going to be exactly the same process as growing the SCOBY, except you will be adding the SCOBY and the 2 cups of “starter tea” you saved from the growing process. This SCOBY can be used over and over again to make tea. It will grow a new “baby” every batch. You can use them or pass them on. There are directions online to make a SCOBY HOTEL to keep multiple SCOBY’s in.  Find directions here: http://www.kombuchakamp.com/2010/08/scoby-hotel-video-quick-tip.html


Directions:BREWING  Kombucha Tea 

Things you need:
1 – clean, sterile glass jar/container (one gallon best…glass only)
2 – cups of starter tea saved from last batch
1 – Kombucha Tea SCOBY (you just grew it)
1 – gallon of fresh water (bottled or distilled best, but tap water works)
6 –  tea bags (green or black but not herbal… must have caffeine)
1 – cup of plain white sugar
1 – old, white cotton t-shirt
1 – rubber band
1 –  Dark, warm, undisturbed place

Boil the water for about 10 to 15 minutes to clear the chlorine from the water. Pour the water into the glass jar (make sure to leave enough room for the SCOBY and the 2 cups of starter tea) and add the 6 tea bags. Steep for about 15 minutes (longer if you like). Remove the tea bags and pour in the sugar. Mix till sugar is dissolved completely. Now let sit till the mixture is room temperature. DO NOT RUSH THIS PART OR YOU WILL KILL THE CULTURE AND NOTHING WILL HAPPEN . MAKE SURE IT”S COOLED OFF! Once the temp is at or below 80 degree, pour in the 2 cups of of “starter tea” you saved from last batch and drop in (carefully) the SCOBY. Now cover with the t-shirt and secure with the rubber band. Place the whole thing in a warm, dark place that will be undisturbed for the process. NO MOVEMENT!

Here is were the process is different:
In about 5 days, get the jar out and test the tea. Do this by sliding a straw past the SCOBY and sip a little tea. If it’s still very sweet, cover it and put it back. It needs to brew longer. It it is very vinegary tasting and very acidic, it went to long and you need to start over. If it is slightly tart and slightly acidic with a little tang, it’s ready to bottle and drink!

Another suggestion I will make is….READ READ READ! There is ton’s of info online about brewing this tea. Here are a few sites I found helpful:
http://www.kombuchakamp.com
http://rawdawgrory.com/
http://littlemisscruciferous.com/2012/02/16/grow-a-scoby-brew-your-own-kombucha/
http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/2009/05/how-to-brew-your-own-homemade-kombucha/
http://users.bestweb.net/~om/kombucha_balance/#Green vs Black (this guy knows everything there is to know about brewing Kombucha Tea)
http://www.kombuchafuel.comhttp://www.getkombucha.com/

Ok, this is where I’m going to stop for now. I am on my second batch of tea after growing my SCOBY. My first batch went to long and went vinegar. I had to start over. I am on day 7 and I am testing day by day till its perfect. I will give a video update (Part 2) when it’s done!

PEACE OUT and Happy Living!!
Tracy

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