Using a SCOBY Hotel for Kombucha
The last two days have felt like spring. The sun is out and the temps are almost in the double digits. To say that I am delighted is an understatement. Being able to do chores without 3 additional layers and in the daylight is an absolute joy.
Spring cleaning has started here as well. We've done one barn and are steadily working on the greenhouse. Inside, the laundry room has been gutted and I have begun working my way through our shelf of ferments.
At the back of my shelf, sits Big Bertha, our Kombucha mother. It must be 5 years old by now, having grown and shed many layers in its years. Kevin and I love Kombucha, but our enthusiasm with it peters out at the end of summer and we tend to neglect it for a solid 6 months of the year.
In theory, we operate a "SCOBY hotel", meaning the mother is kept in stasis in a jar. There are a few different ways a hotel can be maintained, but for us we simply throw in a cup of sugar to keep the starters alive when we remember and occasionally siphoning off the kombucha (which has soured into vinegar) for cooking and make a new batch of sweet tea...very scientific. SCOBY hotels are a great way to pause your kombucha fermentation.
To Set Up A SCOBY Hotel to pause fermentation:
- Place your SCOBY(s) in a clean jar (2 litre plus works best)
- Mix up a batch of black tea, using 2 tea bags per litre of water (you can use more), let it cool to room temperature. For a 1 litre jar, I use - 750ml of water and 2 tea bags
- Add 100g of sugar per litre of water, (I usually add a bit more sugar so I don't have to feed it for awhile)
- Store jar somewhere cool
- You can either rebrew the tea every month or so, or simply add 100g of sugar per litre roughly every month. This just keeps the starter fed.
This can also be used to store extra scobies that your mother may grow.
The liquid left from a hotel is a great vinegar - we use it as we would apple cider vinegar.
To restart your kombucha for drinking:
- Place your scoby in your clean jar (we like jars with a spigot)
- Add starter liquid from your hotel
- Brew a batch of black tea - using 2 tea bags per litre of water
- While the tea is warm, mix in 100g of sugar to the tea to dissolve
- Let the tea cool to room temp and add to the kombucha jar
- Let ferment to taste, usually about 5 days. The tea will get lighter in colour when its ready.
Your Kombucha is ready to drink or to referment with flavours.
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