Sunday, August 19, 2012

Kombucha Love

So I've developed this thing for fermented foods and drinks. They are supposed to be really good for a damaged gut, and G-d knows I've got one of those. So I started buying kombucha at the store. Tastes good, maybe half a glass every morning followed by a glass of water really makes me feel better. It's just freaking EXPENSIVE, and since I've been following all these fermentation groups on FB, it was obviously time to try doing it myself.

Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage that supposedly dates back to the ancient Chinese. The Wikipedia page for it is full of wild discussion of the pros and cons. It certainly is not a subject that leaves people indifferent, if they get into it.

For one thing, the Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY) used to ferment kombucha looks kind of scary. I got one from a friend of a friend here in Winnipeg, put this picture on Facebook and got some really freaked-out reactions. It looks like a big slippery pancake, and I have to admit that I don't like touching it, myself. But it does the job, and I figure the only difference with yoghurt is that you can actually see the micro-organisms.

 So I brewed up my sweetened tea in a 2L jar, flopped the SCOBY in, covered it up in its sheik outfit (as my friend Barbara called it) and left it there for a week. I resisted the temptation to check it out as apparently the mother grows better undisturbed.

By the end of the week, the smell from this corner was just like the one from the commercial bottles, only better. So I flipped the SCOBY (and its new baby!) out of the jar and popped them both into a new jar with 2 cups of their product - a SCOBY hotel. They are now waiting patiently on top of my fridge until I am ready to brew up some more.

The rest of the tea, which tasted like the commercial stuff only better, went into the bottles at the top of this post, one with a few blueberries and one with a piece of ginger. I'm told I should burp the bottles regularly to avoid explosions, and I've got them sitting in the same corner in a cardboard box, just in case. I'll be sure to let you know what they taste like. I don't want them too fizzy as carbonation and I are not friends.

So that's my kombucha tale - what have you been experimenting with?


  1. Hey, nice informative post. I've been into winemaking for a few years now, but since Kombucha has touched my lips and I've come to learn it could really benefit my troubled stomach, I've wanted to get into Kombucha.

    I'm looking for a scoby in Winnipeg, and don't want to shell out big money. Is there any chance you would be able to give me a piece of your scoby, or where have you seen them for a decent price?

    All of this would be helpful to know. Please email me at if you have some tips and advice for Kombucha making in Winnipeg.

  2. I'd like to get a SCOBY too--can you help?

  3. I am in Morden and would like to start making kombucha. Do you still make it? Do you share your SCOBY or do you know where one can be purchased in Winnipeg?

  4. I was told not to put the scoby hotel in the fridge.... I absolutely LOVE making kombucha - I made some ginger/pineapple in a second ferment - oh yum!

  5. I was told not to put the scoby hotel in the fridge.... I absolutely LOVE making kombucha - I made some ginger/pineapple in a second ferment - oh yum!


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