Our Office SCOBY, Part I

2015-12-17 11.14.13

Fermenting. It’s one of our customers’ favorite old-time skills, hands-down. And we’re so glad to be able to supply the crocks, lids, boards, jars and even books to help you get started. However, while our store regularly has demonstrations and classes on how to ferment your own sauerkraut and kimchi, we hadn’t dabbled too much in the fermenting world here right in our office. Until now.

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Our new SCOBY (in plastic bag) and square Kilner jar, ready for brewing.

A few weeks ago, I got word from a friend that she had a SCOBY to “re-home.” That piqued my curiosity, as I’d heard of kombucha but had NO experience with making or drinking it. I asked around and lo and behold, a fellow officemate (who sits right next to me) has lots of experience making her own batches of this healthy, fermented drink at home. Another co-worker offered to pick up the SCOBY from my friend in the nearby town of Wooster on her way home. The next day, we embarked on our office experiment: making our own kombucha!

Brewing, brewing, brewing...

Brewing, brewing, brewing…

Many of you know exactly what we’re talking about, but for those who don’t, here is an excellent infographic detailing what kombucha is, how it’s made and why it’s healthy to drink.

There are myriad resources online about making kombucha, so we won’t go into all that here. Basically, it goes something like this:

  1. Get a SCOBY*.
  2. Brew black (or green) tea and add sugar.
  3. Add SCOBY.
  4. Cover and allow to ferment.
  5. Bottle.
  6. Enjoy as is, or add fruit to flavor (and let ferment a few more days).
  7. Repeat!

*SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast. It’s ALIVE! And it’s growing in your kitchen (or office)! So cool.

You don’t need lots of equipment, but some really good glass containers are a must. We used a square 50-oz Kilner jar for our first batch.

Our organic cotton CoffeeSocks are great for covering your jar because they protect your batch while letting air circulate (which is what you want).

coffee sock filters

After the first batch was gone, we wanted to make a whole gallon, so we got out our trusty butter churn replacement jar (take it from us, this thing is great for WAY more than making butter).

gallon jar with tea

A good sturdy wooden spoon for stirring is also great to have.

wooden spoons and utensils

We added fresh ginger, the juice of an orange and frozen blueberries to our kombucha. Delicious - and so healthy!

We added fresh ginger, the juice of an orange and frozen blueberries to our kombucha. Delicious – and so healthy!

And while kombucha devotees can’t claim health miracles, our own employees say they enjoy better digestive health, more energy and boosted immunity when they have their regular (daily) kombucha. So, here’s to 2016 and our office science experiment – that we’re going to drink! 

Our CEO, Galen Lehman, tries a cup of our first batch. (Complete with some Aladdin lamps in the foreground - only at Lehman's!)

Our CEO, Galen Lehman, tries a cup of our first batch. (Complete with some Aladdin lamps in the foreground – only at Lehman’s!)

Stay tuned for more office SCOBY updates…and tell us about your own kombucha adventures! (Check out this how-to article which has clear, simple instructions – it is one our employees have used themselves.)

 

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