It isn't rocket science, it's kombucha.
I feel like a little part of me dies whenever I have to compost a SCOBY. So, I'm on a constant mission to give away as many as I possibly can, because holy moly, girl can grow a SCOBY. The beauty of it is, so can you! It is so simple. You have to feed it, but you're already feeding yourself, and maybe your family, and your plants, and animals. What is one more thing to sustain?
What is a SCOBY? It is a disgustingly awesome little rubbery mother. The fact that it grows blows my mind. My mind is also blown by a tiny seed that turns into a plant, that produces edible goods. Also blown, by how a baby is made, grown and birthed. Let's not dig too deep though, it is simple. Very simple. Here is what you do.
If you are starting from scratch you'll need a bit (about a cup) of existing kombucha, a glass jar, some black tea and sugar.
Boil some water, remove it from the heat, add a 1/2 cup of sugar, dissolve it and add tea. I use any black tea I have on hand which makes the flavor vary slightly from batch to batch. I steep the tea for a good part of the day and cool it entirely. After that, I remove the tea bags/ball, add the cup of existing booch, and pour everything in my glass brew jar. Cover it with a paper towel or clean dish towel and put a rubber band around the rim. You don't want any little critters to creep in your booch. To grow a SCOBY you let this go for a couple of weeks or so. You can always taste samples of it to determine when it is ready. If you aren't going to taste it, take a peek from time to time to check on that sweet mother you are growing. You should also keep it in a location out of the sun for optimal growth.
If you already have a SCOBY, put that back in your jar after you complete the above process. The beauty of already having a SCOBY, is you don't have to wait as long for your first batch, you'll have it in a week. Don't let your SCOBY dry out. But, don't be afraid to handle it, with clean hands. You can even peel the layers and give mothers to your pals.
A small jar of your home brew kombucha, with a SCOBY, is a pretty sweet gift, for that 'special someone'.
You should avoid using metal with your booch, hence the plastic lids, funnel, and glass jars.
I date mine when I pour it, but I really don't need to because we drink it so quickly. It will keep in the fridge for a month.
I find that my kombucha is really bubbly when I pour it, but when I top it with these plastic lids it loses some bubble. These are on my wishlist because I really want to start trapping those bubbles! If you cap your booch or refrigerate it, it will stop growing. So, if you are sharing, you must share in the open air.
You'll know if something is going south. Your kombucha should smell vinegary and sweet. If you are growing a fungus you'll smell it. I spent some time exploring normal looking SCOBYs on google, which I'm sure you'll do too, if you decide to start this science experiment. I've been brewing our own for several months and it never feels like too much work to me. If you go on vacation, just grow a new SCOBY when you get home.