I’m a lazy culturer. I killed my last kombucha mother, I neglected it, and it molded in the bottom of a mostly-empty jar of kombucha on my counter (yum). Still, I craved the probiotics and sweet-sour taste of the drink, so occasionally I bought GT’s brand from Safeway.
Typically, I don’t advocate buying store kombucha because it has less probiotic benefits and costs way way more than homemade, but as a treat it’s not a bad choice.
Since I killed my SCOBY, I decided to try letting about half a cup of kombucha sit as Food Renegade posted about 2 years ago, just in the bottom of the bottle, for a week in the cupboard covered with a paper towel held on with a hair tie. I wasn’t lying when I said I was a lazy culturer.
If it didn’t work, I would bite the bullet and purchase a starter SCOBY, but I was willing to take my chances first.
Well, it did work! Here is what I did to make my Kombucha SCOBY from store kombucha.
How to make a Kombucha SCOBY from Store Bought Kombucha
1. Choose kombucha without chia, but with quite a few culture-y strands in it, indicating it has quite a bit of live culture in it.
2. Pour most of the kombucha off, and enjoy :) Leave about 3 inches of kombucha in the bottom of the jar.
3. Cover with a paper towel or other clean cloth, and secure with a rubber band.
4. Allow this little bit of kombucha to sit in a cupboard at room temperature, or on the countertop, for 1-2 weeks.
5. Check periodically for a thick layer on the top, that’s the mother (mother is another name for the SCOBY).
6. Start a batch of kombucha using both the liquid and thee new mother from your bottle!
Didn’t get a SCOBY? No worries! You can order one and it’ll be shipped fresh (not dehydrated) and ready to use!
FAQ about making a DIY Kombucha Starter:
Do you have to use sugar?
A: No! This is a common missconception, I have used raw honey to make kombucha for years.
Does this DIY SCOBY work for continuous brew?
A: Yes! This SCOBY will work for any kombucha recipe.
How is a kombucha mother different from a SCOBY or mushroom?
A: They’re all the same! Those (mother, mushroom, SCOBY) are all different names for the thick symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast that ferments sweet tea into the probiotic drink kombucha.
How do I get my kombucha to be fizzy like the one from the store?
A: You just need to add another source of sugar (I use fruit) and then culture your homemade kombucha in an air-tight container to build up the fizz. I explain here. This is called the Second Ferment.