I followed the directions from Joybilee Farm (thanks, Chris!) on making my own SCOBY from some GT plain kombucha. It took a few weeks, but today I saw that the SCOBYs were looking very good, and so I took the next step and brewed some black tea, added sugar, cooled it, then added six ounces of the kombucha produced making the SCOBY, and then the SCOBY herself. Themself. It's a colony of living organisms. Wow. I am awed.
When I first heard the description of the process of making kombucha, someone who shall remain nameless described the SCOBY and the process in such a way that it was perhaps ten or fifteen years before I tried kombucha. This was after weeks of urging by a friend. I enjoy it, just as I enjoy switchel a.k.a. switzel a.k.a. haymaker's punch. That's a summertime drink that goes back hundreds of years. It is made with ginger, apple cider vinegar, and sweetener (maple syrup or honey).
Those who do not appreciate sour drinks ought to stay well away from these. But for those of us who like a little sour punch, they are refreshing.
Back to the kombucha.
There is some forgiveness in the process, and I like that. One of my big questions going in was, "how do I know when it's done?" I had read somewhere about getting a digital acidity meter. That sounded a bit too technical for me. Then I found Sandor Katz's directions in The Art of Fermentation. He said to take a little taste starting about ten days after adding the SCOBY and when it's as sour as you like it, pour it off and drink it. In my imagination, Sandor writes for me, specifically. He knows what will make sense to me.
As with most things, one doesn't really know how to do it until one has done it, and done it often enough. So I am just at the beginning. I know I enjoy drinking kombucha, and making my own goodies, and making less waste, and spending less money. This does all of the above.
Stay tuned - eventually, there will be kombucha, and I will post an update then.