Making a SCOBY:(in a cold climate)

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Cold Climate Kombucha

When I first started researching how to brew my own Kombucha I realized that the current temperature that we keep our house at in the winter is about 2°C colder than the recommended brewing temperature. It would be very difficult to get the SCOBY to produce the reccommended 1/4″ SCOBY mother. Not one to give up. I decided to give it a try with a bit of trial and error.

The normal range for Kombucha brewing is 72-80 °F / 22-27 °C.

So what about us people in cold climates that want to make our own?

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There are such things as Kombucha heating pads and heating wraps but I wasn’t interested in spending more money. Our house during the day in the winter sits around 16°C/60°F, and up to 21.5°C/71°F during the times we are home from work. This makes for a tricky situation because our house never actually hits the minimum temperature to create a SCOBY.

Strategy

The first thing I tried was using a thermometer to check for warmer places in our house. I found that tall shelves were actually a few degrees higher than the ambient temperature in the room. I also found a closet (not attached to an outside wall) to be the warmest and consistent temperature in the house. The door to the closet acts as an insulator. I would strongly suggest staying away from heating vents because the temperature swings could hurt the SCOBY.

Raw, unflavoured, organic, Kombucha

You are going to have to find a bottle of raw, unflavoured Kombucha, “GT’s” Brand works great. There seems to be a lot of Kombucha that is over filtered these days. You need to find a bottle with lots of sediment or even one that is already growing its own baby SCOBY. This is the stuff that will get the SCOBY growing.

What to look for

At first it will seem like nothing is happening. but then you will notice some bubbling or some sediment building up on the sides of the container. The bubbles will form a scum at the top and eventually you will see some white slimy globs form at the top of the brew. Eventually the blobs will connect and you will have your SCOBY. The SCOBY mother is ready to start brewing when the entire circumference of the top is cover with about 1/4 inch. If you ever see fuzzy stuff growing you likely grew some mold and need to start again. Try with less fluid as the bottle of Kombucha likely didn’t get the acid level up enough to keep the brew safe.

The wait

It took about six weeks to make a SCOBY mother big enough to brew with. This is about two weeks longer than if I my house was a few degrees warmer. All I have to say is that it was worth the wait. If you are brewing in a cooler house you will just have to be patient.

Making a Kombucha SCOBY

Mark
Learn how to make a basic Kombucha SCOBY including a good 1/4 inch mother (the slimy glob on top)
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Brew time 7 d
Total Time 7 d 22 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 6 500ml bottles

Equipment

  • 1 Gallon glass jar
  • 10 cup pot
  • measuring cups
  • Cheesecloth or large coffee filter
  • Elastic band big enough to fit around gallon glass jar

Ingredients
  

  • 8 black tea bags (orange pekoe)
  • 8 Cups Unchlorinated water
  • 1 bottle Raw, unflavoured Kombucha Find one that already looks like it is growing something in the bottom. That will help grow the SCOBY and mother.
  • 1 Cup White Sugar
  • More unchlorinated To fill up the glass jar to 1 gallon

Instructions
 

Brewing

  • Add the 1 cup of sugar to the 8 cups of unchlorinated water
  • Bring to a boil and mix in the sugar until completely dissolved
  • Remove from the heat and add the 8 tea bags
    Sweet tea
  • Mix periodically
  • Allow the tea to steep until the water has cooled to room temperature.
  • Remove tea bags and compost them
  • Add the bottle of Kombucha when you are sure the water has completely cooled.

Rest and Fermentation

  • Cover with a cloth or fabric that will allow air to pass through but not fruit flies. Coffee filters and an elastic band works great. Cheese cloth may be too porous (double them up)
    Kombucha
  • Find the warmest most consistent temperature in your house to set your brew
  • Let the Kombucha sit for at least 4 weeks or until you get a 1/4 inch SCOBY. Mine took 6 weeks to get a 1/4 inch SCOBY.
  • Once your SCOBY has a 1/4 inch mother (glob thing) it is ready to start brewing actual Kombucha. The liquid SCOBY at this time may be far too strong for your taste. It will essentially be vinegar.

Notes

Once your Kombucha SCOBY is complete then you need to make sure that you keep 2 cups of liquid and of course the SCOBY mother.  This will be used for your next brew.  
Keyword ferment, Fermented, Kombucha, SCOBY

Ingredients for making a SCOBY (1 gallon batch)

  • 8 black tea bags (orange pekoe)
  • 8 Cups of unchlorinated water
  • Bottle of raw, unflavoured kombucha
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • More unchlorinated water to fill up the 1 gallon container
  1. Add the 1 cup of sugar to the 8 cups of unchlorinated water
  2. Bring to a boil and mix in the sugar until completely dissolved
  3. Remove from the heat and add the 8 tea bags
  4. Mix periodically
  5. Allow the tea to steep until the water has cooled to room temperature.
  6. Add the bottle of Kombucha when you are sure the water has completely cooled.
  7. Cover with a cloth or fabric that will allow air to pass through but not fruit flies. Coffee filters and an elastic band works great. Cheese cloth may be too porous
  8. Let the Kombucha sit for at least 4 weeks or until you get a 1/4 inch SCOBY. Mine took 6 weeks to get a 1/4 inch SCOBY.
  9. You can remove the SCOBY with clean, washed hands
  10. Make sure to keep 2 cups of liquid from the brew to start your first batch of Kombucha
  11. The rest of the liquid can be discarded or further reduced to vinegar. It is likely too strong and acidic to be drank as Kombucha. Up to you at this point.

When you have your own SCOBY you will likely want to make Kombucha

Check out this link for complete instruction

Make your own Kombucha

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