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Starting your own Kombucha mother

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Picture of Starting your own Kombucha mother
Kombucha, like any other living thing, has a strong will to survive. If you start out with a bottle of store bought raw, unpasteurized Kombucha (you know the kind), you can get a fully functional mother culture within a week. It's cake. In fact, you would probably have to try pretty hard to NOT get a fully functional mother.

Also, if you are into things like taking down the man and Thoreau, this is a baby step to self reliance. Almost.
 
 
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Step 1: Materials

1. A bottle of raw, unpasteurized Kombucha. I won't name names, I'll just say avoid the kind with juice added. I started mine with the ginger flavored one, but that wasn't my first choice.

2. A clean glass jar, preferably rinsed out with boiling water prior to use. Preferably a small one with a rather narrow throat.

3. Tea. Black or green, as long as it's got no additives. I used some kind of green tea in a tin with no English writing, and it worked just fine. My last culture I did with black tea, worked just fine.

4. Sugar.

5. Cheesecloth or similar cloth. I use sterile gauze I pilfered from a first aid kit and it works just fine.

Step 3: Add your tea to your kombucha

Dump your entire bottle of store bought kombucha into the jar you plan to keep it in.
Then, fill up the jar with the sweet tea from the previous step. Add as much tea as you need to get the level of the liquid somewhere within a half- to quarter-inch of the top. As close to the narrowest part of the jar as possible.

Sample the concoction, make sure it tastes properly sweet.

Top with cheesecloth and put it in a warm or at least room-temperature place where it can sit undisturbed for a while.
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AlexP315 days ago

Do you guys think it's better to add the yeast first to make the alchol then add the whey?

AlexP315 days ago

Here is what I did, I just boiled some fruit, water, and sugar, after it cooled to warm temperature I added whey strained from kefir. I then added a tiny bit of yeast from a dough starter. I also added green tea at room temperature.

i'm being nosey, but which brand did you buy to start your mother culture? We have a brand called reed's culture club and it's raw and organic and has the "floaties"on the bottom. I'm safely assuming that it's unpasturized because it says raw.
cassioppe1 year ago
now how does one makes its own kombucha mother WITHOUT having to buy a bottle of kombucha.....does anybody know?
You need to by the culture from some place else; here's one example http://www.royalkombucha.com/?gclid=CIrL6ZCwmbcCFYhxQgodPz4Aqw
Hey, I'm curious as to the longevity of the mothers produced in this method... Does anyone have times on how long they've been using a strain made from commercial kombucha?
lolifer (author)  FireSBurnsmuP3 years ago
I am still using the scoby I made for this instructable, so I'd say at least 2.5 years.
Alrighty, giving it a shot! Thanks for the instructable, I wouldn't have thought of this on my own.
... [several days later]
And, going pretty slowly. Started it up about 4 days ago, and the colony didn't grow much (it was already growing in the bottle, a few days past expiration). Probably needs a warmer climate...
It smells right (like, dead on), but the white clumps worry me. It should be fine, but I might try for a second one while I'm waiting.
Alright! Going well. I left the first batch in too long, so I'm on a my second. Mother is getting very motherly, but my kombucha isn't very fizzy... (used 5 tea bags, 1 cup sugar, around 64 oz container) I might add another bottle of commercial kombucha just to be sure I got the symbiosis right.

2 questions for anyone out there:
1) Is there a good way to increase the fizziness? That's one of the best parts for me.
2) I read somewhere that keeping the top moist is important to avoid contamination. Is this true, and what is the best way to go about doing this?

1 lingering concern:
My mother, towards the end of the first batch, ended up with what looked like wax or plastic that had been melted on top of it. Anyone know what that is? I know nothing dripped onto it.
To make it fizzy, you need to seal the container for a day so it builds up pressure.
KorduroyTV2 years ago
KorduroyTV2 years ago
Good tutorial. Honestly, you don't want to use cheese cloth. It is too porous and can be susceptible to flies. If you want to know more about how to brew your own Kombucha, we have created this all inclusive video (except we don't say how to make your SCOBY)... http://korduroy.tv/shows/health-nuts/how-to-brew-kombucha
oddartist2 years ago
Kombucha as art: http://inspirationgreen.com/suzanne-lee-kombucha-fabric.html
DickWolf2 years ago
Thanks for the instructable! It took about two weeks for my mother to get nice and hearty but its flourishing now. Tomorrow I'm moving it to a gallon jar, I'll post pics.
madenairy2 years ago
any body know where i can get a bottle of raw, unpasteurized Kombucha in scotland? ive tried holland & barrett, no joy!
totszwai3 years ago
What is this "mother culture"? Google came up with: "A mother culture is a term for an early people and their culture, with great and widespread influence on later cultures and people. Though the original culture may fade, the mother culture's influence grows for ages in the future. Later civilizations either learn and build upon their old ways, or can learn them through peaceful or military assimilation."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kombucha
snoclone3 years ago
Thank you very much for the info. I'm leaving work right now to try it :-). Maybe I could have my biology students make some . . .
I'm interested in this but what of the bottling process? or cross contamination? what of green tea or willany tea suffice?
Does this have any alcohol content? I dont need to start up any old bad habits;) and what about a "sun tea jar" with a spigot?could you just keep adding tea as you siphon it off?
Lots of ideas already. Would other fungi cultures work? reshi is a good medicinal type.
lolifer (author)  Rahdzhillaxxx3 years ago
Sun tea jars aren't recommended unless you can find one with a stainless steel spigot. Kombucha is somewhat acidic, and tends to leech from the plastic.
I'm not really sure about how to bottle it. It keeps pretty well in swingtop bottles in the fridge, but I've never kept it bottled for very long because I've heard lots of stories of exploding bottles and jars.

The Kombucha isn't a true fungus -- it's a bacteria and yeast colony -- while the ganoderma is a real mushroom. I don't think it would work quite the same way.
it has trace alcohol (around 0.5%), minors can buy it and i have had several bottles and not even felt a slight buzz. so basically it is like trying to get hammered off old Milwaukee (that would be non-alcoholic beer) or trying to get high by bonging' some hemp twine. it won't be enough to start up any old habits!
that does not look very motherly to me! i am going to try and make one! wish me luck! also can you cut the thing in two and just keep multiplying it?
lolifer (author)  weaponscollector943 years ago
Yep! It multiplies on its own by forming layers you can peel away, but if you're in a hurry you can just slice off a wedge.
no, you don't nee to slice it. it will divide itself and grow a second mother on top of or underneath itself
Corvis4 years ago
o.o  it looks like the evil flying brain cells from star trek...
becauseican4 years ago
i have a slowly growing mother  made from bottled kombucha and it smelly very yeastie

Ward_Nox5 years ago
voted the #7 grossest drink on cracked.com
http://www.cracked.com/article_17174_p2.html
lolifer (author)  Ward_Nox5 years ago
Well, whoever decided that must not have had homemade kombucha.
yea see thing is your talking about a drink made from a fungus colony ANYWAY you slice it its GROSS IDC if it tastes like virgin angel tears
lolifer (author)  Ward_Nox5 years ago
Actually, it's a colony of yeast (like in breads and cakes) and bacteria (the same bacteria as in yogurt). It's really not much different than Go-gurt or any other yogurt -- only kombucha isn't colored with crushed up bugs and Gogurt is.
yeast is a fungus
lolifer (author)  Ward_Nox5 years ago
A fungus that you eat! All the time!
yea i know
Yogurt, cheese, buttermilk, cream cheese, sour cream, bread, beer, wine, distilled spirits, vinegar... All made with yeast and/or bacteria. Kombucha is no more strange or gross than any of those.
lolifer (author)  Samasnier4 years ago
Precisely!
Krommos5 years ago
Excellent encouragement. 30 days to the day of my innoculating a batch of tea with a purchased kombucha beverage - I have Mother! Muahahahaha. Excuse me. Yes, it is now conjuring great juju in another batch of tea I brewed today. Good going here!
lolifer (author)  Krommos5 years ago
Honestly, I was completely surprised that it worked. But it did! I'm glad it's working for you as well.
DanEhlke5 years ago
Trying to make a mother from a bottle of Kombucha didn't work for me, although, it may have been too cold. I think the yeast took over. I'm breaking down, and buying a mother, but I think it's great that it is possible!
I started my first batch last week using this Instructable's method, and my culture looks like it's loving life. To take care of the temperature problem I put it in a cupboard above my stove (though it doesn't have to be there precisely). It's a fairly small cupboard. On one side of it I put my gallon jar of Kombucha, and on the other I place a large hot pot of slightly less than boiling water. It seems to keep the spot at around 80-85 degrees for about 5 hours, and even after 9 it never falls below 71ish.
Give it a shot if the opportunity presents itself. =)
~XzaggX~
jeff-o5 years ago
I had no idea what that gelatious mass was even for, so I looked it up. Wikipedia says: Kombucha is the Western name for sweetened tea or tisane that has been fermented using a macroscopic solid mass of microorganisms called a "kombucha colony," usually consisting principally of Acetobacter-species and yeast cultures.
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