How do you make Kombucha?Is it really necessary to buy a SCOBY or can you make one yourself?What is a SCOBY made out of exactally?How long does a SCOBY last?Is there any storebought brands that are as potent as what you can make yourself?.-Thanks in advance
get some kombucha--even commercial is OK as long as it's not pasteurized. Make a pint of tea*, while it's hot, stir in 1/2 cup granulated white sugar. Alot of folks advocate organic, but i've been using safeway brand and my stuff is great! When the tea is room temp. pour into a wide mouthed GLASS jar with your already made KTea (not cold!), a couple Tbls distilled vinegar couldn't hurt.
*Re: tea. Actual tea (not herbal tisane or tea with flavorings added). It's gentlest on the SCOBY to use organic green tea; after it's established you can use black or oolong and add flavorings or juice. I haven't tried, but I've heard citrus kills SCOBYs so avoid Earl Grey, Lady Grey and citrus flavored teas and citrus juice.
I made an experiment with glass vs plastic; I used every kind of plastic I could find: all the glass grew scobys, none of the plastic did! I guess glazed ceramic/stoneware would work too.
Cover with a paper towel held in place with a rubber band. Bugs love sugary tea and can work their way through woven fabric. Put the jar in a cupboard or closet where the jar will be undisturbed and the temperature will not fluctuate much (~70F).
A week later, check if you have a slimy thing on the top of the liquid--the SCOBY--it may be on the bottom, if your tea is still fairly clear-looking. If still clear, and it smells the same--sugary tea--, let it sit another week. If the tea is clear but you can't smell the sugar anymore, take some liquid out, dissolve 1/4 cup sugar in it, return to jar with minimum disturbance to the contents. Check in a few days. You should have a SCOBY, with whitish, powdery silt on the bottom and, if you're lucky, scummy looking stuff on or near the SCOBY or in the liquid. (They're light brown and look like the scum that comes out of meat when you make stock or soup.) My KTea mentor calls them "tentacles" and says that's where the apple-like goodness comes from.
Your 1st SCOBY may be just a little slime. It may be tiny (couple inches in diameter). In the next batch or two, it will grow to the diameter of the container and will later produce "daughters" (a thin layer on the air side of the "mother" that you can peel off). To grow a SCOBY from tea may take 3+ weeks depending on how the KTea was processed/bottled and your local weather. After you have a SCOBY, fermentation should take about a week for each batch. Again, depending on local weather.
Hope this helps. GL
PS. I've been told that KTea SCOBYs have a different breed of yeast, than US baker's or brewer's varieties, plus the S in SCOBY stands for symbiotic, so there's more than yeast in it anyways.