A couple of months ago, kombucha frenzy was getting out of control in my house. An inclination that just started with me escalated to the whole darn family. That’s an expensive habit. Even if it be a good one. I mean, better than a Starbucks latte. But who happily pays for five people to drink a coffee shop latte? Not this mama. Man. You KNOW how expensive those things are. Do you ever wonder why we pay those prices for that vice? Because they make us beautiful? Because they make us skinny? Because they make us happy? (Mmmm. Got me on that one.)
I had to contain costs. I like to go on vacation, and as much as my yahoos were drinking, they were going to dip into my vacation kitty. Time to make my own. Why not just use the store brand? I Googled it. Our store carries GT’S brand of kombucha. Somewhere it said you couldn’t start kombucha from GT’S brand anymore due to some changes somewhere in the recent decade. Skip that thought. Won’t waste my money on trying that way. But I wanted to do this. So, one day, I had five minutes to try to order a kombucha SCOBY or in real words, symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. That’s the disgusting thing that floats in kombucha. It’s alive. Of course, there was a glitch and I couldn’t get PayPal man to do the deal. So the deal blew up. Over. The window of opportunity missed. Money kept flying out the window.
Who cares what the internet says? Who cares what anyone says for that matter? I marched into that big tall refrigerator at the store, and I bought myself the original, unflavored kombucha bottle with the biggest, nastiest looking floatie in the case. I looked through them all. That was the one. If it was going to blossom, this was the bottle to do it.
I brewed up a gallon of green tea, because well, you know green tea is supposed to be super good for you. And in a glass jar because you know plastic is bad for you. I had some leftover sugar from my childhood. I poured a cup in there to feed the beast. I let my brew sit till it was room temperature so I didn’t kill that big nasty. Then I realized I poured in too much tea and had no room for my kombucha. So I dumped some out, getting sticky all over the counter. Nothing I hate more than sticky floors and counters. But now I had just enough room for the store’s kombucha and poured ‘er in. I covered it with a paper towel and rubber band. Perfect. And let it sit. It went through some ghastly changes, requiring me to Google “mold on kombucha” and “kombucha looks bad.” I sat it out. Apparently, some scoring action was going on in there and it was just making baby SCOBYs, which are uglier than their mothers. Since it was cold still here on the tundra, I let it brew a long time till the SCOBY looked good and healthy. No less than three weeks. Then, we drank it. It was good.
But there was fear from within my crew. Are you sure it’s safe to drink? (As safe as your germ laden tooth brush growing colonies in the dark medicine cupboard.) Is it okay? Why isn’t it bubbly? It’s too sweet. It’s too sour. I don’t like the floaties in it. I like it best carbonated. Geesh back to the bubble thing. Guys! Come on! Stop the mutiny! No wonder it’s so hard to save money in today’s world. Spoiled brats.
So I strained out the floaties. I poured it into a GT’S bottle. Put a little more sugar, lemon juice, and ginger in there. Capped it tight. Let it sit on the counter a few days to see if the thing would bubble in its new package. Then stuck it in the fridge.
Mmmmm. That’s good the family all says.
So, the moral of this story is that you CAN make kombucha using the SCOBY in GT’S brand still. Maybe not consistently. Maybe only from the original flavor. Maybe only if you’re patient enough. Don’t know. But it can be done as of June 15, 2015.
Aside on kombucha: I like the taste of kombucha. I appreciate how many B vitamins are in there. The B vitamin content is darn good. I love the byproducts the probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii makes which helps us and our GI tracts. However, all things must be evaluated on an individual basis, especially in people who are pretty immunocompromised. Really would be best for these people to talk with their doctor before using it. Personally, I just don’t feel tops drinking kombucha regularly. I don’t know if it’s a cross-reaction between the yeast and something my body doesn’t like. Or if it’s too much B vitamin activation going on for me. Or changes in my bacterial flora as an effect of the kombucha. Or if I’m just a crazy woman who thinks food can make me grow wings. Or toxify me. Anyhow, my family likes it and seems to do well with it.
Do you want a little science on this matter? Here’s a link to an article about Saccharomyces boulardii (usually the main yeast in the SCOBY) helping mice reduce weight and inflammation: Saccharomyces boulardii Administration Changes Gut Microbiota and Reduces Hepatic Steatosis, Low–Grade Inflammation, and Fat Mass in Obese and Type 2 Diabetic db/db Mice.
This is only a personal anecdote and not a how-to on making your own kombucha. Go elsewhere for that! But, for the record, growing your own SCOBY from a bottle of Original GT’S can be done. Anyone else try their hand at making this stuff? How’d it go? Anyone die? Anyone cure leprosy?
Today is Monday. Mondays can be hard. Hope yours is a good one!