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Making Kombucha the Modern Way

We’ve had so many people interested in kombucha recently that we’ve joined the bandwagon and assembled our own Kombucha Kit. We solved our SCOBY troubles by partnering with Cambridge Naturals in nearby Porter Square. They carry a great product to get you started if your friends won’t share and culturing your own isn’t going well. More recently we’ve started working with a local tea company to develop a custom blend as a base for your ‘booch. Tag along while we run Steve (every SCOBY should have a name) through his first trial batch!

Equipment:

  • HE Kombucha Kit
  • measuring cup
  • tablespoon measure
  • device to boil water (a stovetop works just fine but we didn’t have one)
  • large bowl for temporarily storing the SCOBY
  • fine mesh strainer (or use the muslin bag)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons of tea
  • 1 cup (about 8 ounces) of sugar
  • 1 gallon of cold water

How to do it:

2014-07-10_13-04-51_332_800x451We don’t have a stove here at the Modern Homebrew Emporium, so we make do with an electric tea kettle. Bring a near-maximum amount of water to a boil, add the sugar, give it a stir, and let the device cycle back up to a boil. When it shuts itself off, unplug it and add the tea. Let it steep while we get the existing kombucha out of the jar.

This time around we let the ‘booch go for about a month, which is why the new SCOBY is so thick. We harvested it to get a pair of SCOBYs ready for new homes. With that much fermentation time the ‘booch becomes far too ascetic to be enjoyable so we’re only using it as starter tea. You’ll probably be bottling most of it, reserving only two cups for your next batch.

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Our focus is on dividing the new SCOBY. We tried to pull it apart but settled for just cutting it in half. Some people say that SCOBYs don’t like metal but my feeling is that cutting into a SCOBY causes tears to well in the eyes of an Earth-mother somewhere. As Canadians say, such is life.

 

We add two cups of starter tea to each bag and store them in the fridge. We don’t resell SCOBYs as we are not a commercial kitchen. Without a duly licensed and inspected facility there’s just too much liability risk if we screw something up. These will be given to two lucky people at the upcoming WGBH Craft Beer event this Saturday, 12 July 2014.

With our housekeeping done we give the jar a quick rinse (to avoid possibly irritating Steve with detergent residue) and refill with the tea, now fully extracted. Put a few inches of cold water into the jar to prevent thermal shock from cracking it. That water is near 200°F!

Top up another couple of inches with cold water. Now add your starter tea and introduce your SCOBY to it’s new home!

 

 

Oops! We ended up with a little more volume than we planned. Dump out a bit so that you’re closer to the bottom of the shoulder. Then snap your cheesecloth back on and you’re done!

Don’t worry about your SCOBY floating in a most peculiar way. The star will still get the job done and you’ll have a fresh one form on the top.

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Cheers!