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Kombucha… Kitchen Experiments

I’m not sure when it happened.  I’m not sure how. But I feel in love with a drink… KOMBUCHA!

This tart, tangy, vinegary drink has won me over.  It reminds me of hard apple cider, yet less sugar, only a slight smidgen of alcohol, and lots and lots of good-for-you bacteria.  Think of it as a liquid cider-like yogurt! YUM!!!

Bad news, each bottle can run you around $3-4 a pop.  Its worth it, don’t get me wrong.  But at the rate I was wanting to drink it, I needed to learn how to make this myself.  I added it to my summer bucket list.  But alas, I am an over achiever.  I started two weeks early.  I picked up a starter kit at Whole Foods, made by Oregon Kombucha. You can always ask around for a starter scoby from a friend who is brewing their own.

In the process of getting my starter kit, I did lots of research to learn all that I could about this magical drink.  In short terms, Kombucha is fermented sweet tea.  You add a mother bacteria, aka SCOBY : symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast.  The scoby eats the sugar and turns the sweet tea into Kombucha.  In the process of eating up the sugar, the momma scoby grows a baby scoby. And then this baby scoby can be used to make a new batch of Kombucha.  And then it will have a baby scoby and so on and so forth.  The cycle continues.  Its sooo cool to watch this crazy think grow in your kitchen.  I can only imagine that this would be wonderfully cool to do once we have kids.  I wish I would have done this in my cooking class this last year.


Ok, so remember how I said earlier that I am an over achiever.  Well, I have to admit some mistakes I made along the way.  You know its best to learn from other people’s mistakes.  So I don’t mind sharing.

So my kit came with one cup of sugar, meant to be dissolved into one gallon of hot tea.  Well, I thought, why not get two birds with one stone, or rather brew two gallons with one scoby.  Apparently my momma scoby wasn’t big enough to brew it fast enough and 3 weeks in my tea was still pretty sweet, although tangy.  My friend Allie, also a Kombucha brewer suggested that I split up my new baby scoby into smaller batches of Kombucha, it should take less time to do less work.  So tonight, I’m trying that.


I sanitized 5 ball jars.  Added the mother scoby to one jar and split the baby into 4 pieces.  Cover with a paper towel and jar ring and lets check it in a week.  I am soooo looking forward to drinking a nice iced glass of this.

Ok, and I’m sure you are all wondering, (because I was as I looked at lots of other blogs) what the heck does the scoby feel like.  To be honest, it felt like a chicken breast!

Prior to feeling the scoby myself, I ran across a very interesting article that suggested a recipe for making the left over scoby into jerky.  At first, I was quite perplexed, but after feeling it…. I can kind of see how this might pass off.  People eat cheese and tofu right…

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About Katie Matheny

I am a teacher by day, and a wanna-be chef by night. I teach art and Spanish at a small school in Salem, Oregon to a fantastic group of soon-to-be world changers. I've loved cooking since I was a kid, and day dreamed while reading Betty Crocker's giant cookbooks. They were my picture books! I also work with a local non-profit that is doing some amazing things in Haiti. I have an amazing husband who I love to pieces. I love and serve Jesus, my King, and am striving to be a better example of who He is in myself. This is my life, in a few short words every-so-often. I hope you enjoy.

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