Today’s the day for feeding the Kombucha.
For those that don’t know, Kombucha is a living colony of bacteria and yeasts that turns tea and sugar into a healthy, nutritious, tasty drink.
The ‘Tea Beast‘, as it’s called in some circles, is a flat, rubbery mat of slime that floats at the top of the liquid in the container that it’s kept in. It’s really a living colony of bacteria and yeasts that live together and eat tea and sugar. What a life!
The mat is called a ‘SCOBY‘. That’s an acronym for ‘Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeasts’. It sounds technical, but just feed it regularly and keep it kind of clean and it will reward you over and over with tangy, slightly bubbly, probiotic goodness.
The SCOBY is quite dense and heavy, but floats due to the carbon dioxide bubbles it produces.
We do what is called a ‘continuous ferment’, which is where you add the new food to a large container where all the action happens.
Everyone who keeps Kombucha has different tricks, and tips for growing and feeding it.
As with most things, I like to keep it simple, so heres my recipe for the weekly feed:
That’s it! No rocket science involved.
All I do is drain off a litre of already fermented liquid into bottles before adding the new food. A litre lasts me about four days, which is about the time it takes to get the new stuff ready. Then I just repeat the process.
I keep the container covered with cheesecloth to keep the bugs out.
Once you’ve got a happy Scoby, you’ll have it forever as long as you look after it with regular feedings. It keeps getting thicker and thicker and after a while, you’ll need to trim it down.
To do this, take it from its container and you’ll see it has formed layers. These separate with relative ease. I divide ours in half once a month (less often in winter).
‘What to do with the excess?’ I feed it to the worms and chooks. Worms love it because its full of bacteria which they eat. Chooks love to wrestle with its rubbery goodness. It will also give an aerobic compost pile a boost as the bugs and microbes in it will have a feast!
You can give it away too. There’s always folks asking for some.
You can find out about other simple types of kitchen fermentation on our fermentation page