Given the exciting potential for using SCOBY as a makerspace material, we spent the day brewing up a big batch of kombucha to grow large SCOBY sheets. Using an electric water bath canner, we boiled 5.25 gallons of water, then cooled it down using Max’s wort chiller.
We divided the water into two large plastic bins that CJ (student and makerspace employee) cleaned and sterilized for the project.
In a separate pot, we brewed 8 quarts of tea, then added the sugar, and divided that between the two bins. The temperature was a little high – 91 degrees Fahrenheit or so – so we waited a loooong time while it cooled before adding some finished kombucha.
In the meantime, Clarity (student and makerspace employee) quickly and skillfully embroidered this SCOBY cozy to cover the batch while it ferments.
We put the two big batches to bed in a dark and warm place to ferment for the next couple of weeks. With any luck, we’ll have two big pieces of SCOBY to work with right around the start of the semester.
While we had all the supplies out, we decided to make a batch of kombucha of least resistance. We took ordinary tap water, poured in some sugar and shook it up, and then added a tea bag for a short while, removed it, and then added to each jar an amount of finished kombucha, and in one jar, the unused SCOBYs from the first kombucha leather batch.
We’ll see if and how well this low-effort kombucha works out. Throughout the day, we took notes about how we can scale the activity up for some fall workshops as part of our fermentation science initiative. Brett (student and makerspace employee) is working on plans for a temperature-controlled fermentation chamber, so we’ll be able to add some microcontrollers to monitor and control our ferments, with the goal of producing and lot of SCOBY for lots of experimentation.