What You Get in the Mail:
When you order a Kombusha Starter Scoby from Poseymom, you should get a single scoby, double bagged, heat sealed, shipped in a box, with a small amount of tea to keep the scoby alive and fresh in the mail.
It's best to open your scoby and follow the instructions below as soon as possible. Or, if need be, you can keep the scoby in its packaging, kept in a cool place. The scoby can keep for up to three weeks, in room temperature, but sooner is definitely better. Some say you can refrigerate a SCOBY for it to keep longer, but others disagree.
Growing Your First Batch of Tea
Supplies you'll need:
- Black tea, 5 standard-sized tea bags. (You can experiment with other teas, such as green tea, as long as the tea does not have any oils added. So Earl Grey is a no-no.)
- 1/2 cup plain white sugar. No sugar substitutes. (Organic, cane sugar is a great choice, our favorite to use.)
- 1/2 gallon distilled water. (You can boil tap water and let cool.) R/O, filtered, or purified water is NOT RECOMMENDED.
- 1/2 gallon-sized glass jar. (No plastic!)
- Large wooden or plastic spoon, for stirring. (No metal!)
- 1 Coffee filter. (Or paper towel, napkin, or even a clean, thin cloth.)
- 1 Rubber band.
- 1 large pot.
Special Note: As is, your SCOBY and starter tea should make about 1/2 gallon of kombucha tea. If you want to make 1 gallon, you can up your ingredients to 10 standard tea bags, 1 cup of sugar, and 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar. (The vinegar is only for the first batch only.)
Step One: Boil
Boil your water in a large pot. Add the tea bags to make the tea. After the tea has steeped for a while, remove the tea bags.
While the water is still hot, add the sugar and stir thoroughly. Then you must let the tea cool completely. Best to keep the pot covered while cooling, so you don't get bugs.
Step Two: Add Scoby
Pour your cooled, sweetened tea into the one-gallon glass jar.
Cut open the double bags, carefully. Add the full contents we sent to you into the jar. (Also, add the vinegar if you're making a full gallon.)
Stir gently with your wooden spoon.
The Kombucha scoby may sink to the bottom, or it may float. Both are completely okay.
Step Three: Seal and Store
Cover your jar with the coffee filter or cloth, and stretch rubber band over the covering to keep it in place.
Store your jar in a dark place, where the temperature is about 72-80 degrees.
Important! Leave the scoby alone! Seriously, do not disturb the scoby. One little peak can actually impede the growth process and harm the scoby. Try not to move it around, and definitely do not stir it!
Through the side of the jar, you may see some of the following things. Do not be alarmed. They are all normal.
You may see:
- Little floating things in the tea
- A skin forming across the top, like mucus
- Small bits on top, white or brown
- This is NOT MOLD. Do not worry.
(And, by the way, why are you peaking? Don't remove the cover, even a little, no matter how curious you are. Seriously, just leave the scoby alone.)
Eventually, the scoby will form into what looks like a thin pancake. At first, the scoby will be thinner, but it will grow stronger (and even make new copies of itself) with each batch.
In some instances, a second (baby) scoby may not form. The tea will still be fermented. The original (mother) scoby can be reused again and again for future batches.
Step Four: Taste Test
On the seventh day, it's time to taste the tea and see how you like it!
Carefully remove the cover and insert a straw along the edge of the jar. Sip and taste. The tea will have a sweet and sour flavor.
If you like the taste of the tea as-is, you can move on to the next step.
If the tea tastes too sweet to you, you can recover the jar and let it sit for a few more days. The longer it sits, the more sour the tea will be. Some people have let their tea sit for up to 30 days, but we don't recommend waiting beyond 10-12 days in total.
Step Five: Enjoy Your Tea!
When you feel the tea is to your liking, you simply pour out the remaining tea into a new container. Keep the tea in the fridge, and the longer the tea is in the fridge, the smoother the taste will be.
Optional: Make a secondary fermentation! Do this by sealing your tea in a bottle or jar and leave on the counter for about 3 more days. The tea will carbonate as it continues to ferment. When you decide to open your tea, do so over a sink, since it may fizz and spill over a little!
Your Next Batch
Once your tea is ready, you can save the scoby and jar, with a about one cup of tea (or two cups if you're doing a gallon), keep in a cool place until you're ready to make more.
Once you're ready to start a new batch, follow the same instructions as above, adding 2 cups of tea from your previous batch instead of the vinegar.
Over time, your scoby may produce a baby scoby, which can be used to make two batches at once instead of one. You can even share with a friend!
Some individuals may be allergic to Kombucha tea. Drink only about 2 oz at first to test the tea to any allergic reaction. A few may suffer from stomach distress due to carbonation and fermentation in the tea. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should be aware that drinking very large amounts of the tea can affect the pH level of some bodily fluids and contain a small amount of caffeine and alcohol. Any doubts, please talk to a doctor!