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This picture was a sad afterthought.  I meant to take wonderful pictures through the process but I’m not quite connected to my camera as much as I mean to be.

My mother introduced me to Kombucha.  She bought a mother or scoby years ago and started brewing it.  The great thing about Kombucha mothers is that they multiply.  That meant in a very short while we had our own and were brewing like mad.

Life happens and we let the brewing stop.  Eventually, my poorly stored mothers died.  My mom’s didn’t survive her hellish move last summer.  I wanted to get back to brewing kombucha.  It’s become very popular and I kept seeing it all over the place.  To purchase a mother was ridiculously high.  I just saw a starter kit for $50.  This is stupid because it’s so cheap to make.

I found this – a nice post on brewing your own mother.  There’s even instructions for making flavored kombucha.  However, we don’t have the same recipe for the actual drink so I borrowed their recipe for developing my own mother and went from there.

It all starts with purchasing a bottle of raw kombucha.  This cost me about $3 at my local co-op.  I added most of that bottle to a quart jar with 3/4 cup of sugar (always sterilize your jars before hand).  I say most of that bottle because my husband drank some of the kombucha.

After a week, there were wispy dark swirls in the liquid but not the mother I knew and loved (that mother looks a bit like a jelly fish that sits on top of the brew).  I added another 3/4 cup of sugar since the sugar was gone from the jar and let it sit another week.  The wisps grew but I didn’t have a mother that I recognized (sounds like the plot to a children’s book).

I couldn’t wait any more.  Either the experiment was going to be successful or not.  I boiled nearly a gallon of water and prepped my gallon sized jar.  Into that jar, I added 10 tea bags, 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar.  This is the kombucha tea brew.  I added the boiling water and let it cool.

I added the entire quart jar once the tea had cooled to room temperature (and I removed the tea bags).  I let that brew for a week.  We like our kombucha best at about 6 days.  It’s still quite sweet at that point with just a bit of a vinegar kick.  More than that and the sweetness goes away.  This is really a personal choice.  My mom liked hers at about 10-12 days because she liked it sour.

At the end of that brew, the mother looked like I had expected it to.  It was a white disk about the size of my jar opening.  I prepped a second gallon jar and when that was cool, I moved the mother over and poured the kombucha into a pitcher for the fridge.

A few things – I always cover my jars with a coffee filter and a rubber band.  Kombucha needs to breath as you brew it.  Also – no metal.  Do not stir or sample with metal and I don’t cover it with metal at any time.

To sample the brew, insert a plastic straw.  Cover the outside end with your finger and draw out your sample.  I just insert the open end of the straw into my mouth and remove my finger.

I use bamboo spoons to stir the tea and move the mother from one jar to another.

When your second gallon is done, the mother will be thicker and have a thinner loose layer.  Remove that extra layer and place in a plastic or glass container (or ziplock bag).  Pour some of the brewed kombucha over it and store in the fridge.  You know have your first mother baby – pass it on or start a second jar to rotate your stock (only if you really drink that much kombucha or you will be overwhelmed before too long).

I use cheap apple cider vinegar and plain ole white sugar.  I know it’s not overly accepted but it works.  We have plans to try to make our own apple cider vinegar but in the meantime, I keep the kombucha cheap.

I have heard you can brew this in Kool-aid.  I’ve never tried it but I do like the idea of playing with flavors.  Currently, we use cheap black tea but I have used flavored teas in the past and they offer a nice accent to the kombucha.  Don’t be afraid to brew some kombucha – it’s good for you and a nice alternative to soda (sweet and fizzy).

Kombucha Tea

Brew the mother:

1 bottle raw kombucha

3/4 cup sugar

Add both to a sterilized quart jar.  Let sit for a week or two (adding sugar if necessary).  Add to first brew of the tea.

Brew the tea:

10 black tea bags

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup vinegar

1 gallon water

1 kombucha mother

Bring the water to a boil.  Add tea bags, sugar and vinegar to a gallon jar.  Add water and stir with wooden or plastic spoon.  Let cool to room temperature.  Remove bags, squeezing out liquid into jar.  Add mother.  Cover with coffee filter and let sit undisturbed for several days.  Test with a straw to determine preferred brewing time.  Remove mother (repeat).