Monday, March 13, 2017

Kombucha

My co-worker Becca is basically the coolest person ever. She's a yoga instructor who does things like bake bread when she has spare time that's not spent working out. I really enjoy her, even though she has RBF and I have to make certain she's not judging me (j/k Becca you're gorgeous). Anyhow I was of course super jealous of her when she let me taste her home made kombucha and it was delicious. I immediately wanted to copy her and make my own at home. She was kind enough to bring me a SCOBY and guide me through the process. If you aren't familiar with Kombucha it's a fermented tea that is a probiotic elixir of health. It's sweet and sour and carbonated and I'm doing a terrible job of explaining it so you can read more here: http://whatiskombucha.com/
 
The SCOBY is akin to a sourdough starter. It is the magic that makes the kombucha happen. It also looks like a body part in formaldehyde. Thirsty yet? I like kombucha because I really like the flavor. It's similar to a ginger ale and I find it to be refreshing. I also the think the benefits of the probiotics (in digestion, fighting off viruses and overall cleansing of the body) are essential. I currently take a daily probiotic supplement and have noticed a huge different physically since starting it. I feel less bloated and my stomach can take on foods that used to make me feel sick (certain dairy and meat products) without the pain. When I drink kombucha I'm able to skip taking my pill that day. It's cheap to make at home and makes me feel incredibly industrious.
 
Okay so I decided to make my first batch a small batch just to see how it goes. I bought a gallon jar at the co-op. After a simple rinse with white vinegar and water I made a sweet tea of only black tea and organic sugar.
 
Here are the EXACT products I used.
Then I dumped in the SCOBY and some of Becca's kombucha as a starter. I covered it with a coffee filter and a rubber band and let it sit on my counter.
Just chillin.
After 2 weeks I put a straw in and started tasting every couple of days. At first it was way too sweet and I didn't taste any of the vinegar bite I like so much. Ultimately it took about 3 weeks to get to the taste that I like. I was surprised at how perfect it tasted. I've paid way too much to buy this in a bottle at the co-op and here I'd cheaply and with little effort made it just as well in my own kitchen. Besides being entirely impressed with myself I was happy at the control I had over the balance of sweet and sour.
I had enough to put in 3 bottles. My husband (who was supportive but seemed skeptical) loves it too. Since my first test batch turned out so great it was a no-brainer to have another go with a full gallon. I did everything exactly the same and am anxiously awaiting this finished product. If all goes well I plan to start brewing two at a time as soon as my SCOBY is big enough. I'm going to try experimenting with different tea flavors and if that goes well I'll experiment with adding some fruit juice. The future holds many kombucha adventures.

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