March 18, 2014

The Great Kombucha Experiment

It's time for a new science experiment in the house.  I've done the no-shampoo thing (still doing it with good results), attempted sauerkraut last week, and now I'm trying to make another weird fermented food--kombucha.
If you've never had it, it's essentially like a naturally-carbonated, fruity/vinegary fermented tea soda.  It's really hard to describe, but I like it.  It's a great source of probiotics, among other healthy things, but it's such a unique and enjoyable drink (and expensive when purchased in health food stores) that I wanted to learn to make my own.

In its gestating form, it's kind of disgusting, as you can see in the photo above (you don't actually drink the slimy stuff; the liquid is strained).  You need a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) mother, which you can buy from here or get from someone you know who makes their own kombucha (mine is from a teacher at my yoga studio).  Here's what I got:
It's like raw chicken meets placenta.
The SCOBY was packed with some of the starter liquid from its original kombucha batch, and the watery blob smelled a lot like vinegar.  It really didn't bother me too much, looking at it, oddly enough.

I followed the recipe shared by the yoga teacher, which she got from Kombucha Kamp (she got her SCOBY from there).  I found a similar recipe and instructions from this website (it's a less-spammy looking one).

Here's what I used:
SCOBY :: Wide mouth Gallon jar :: 5 organic green tea bags :: 1 cup organic sugar :: tightly woven cloth and rubber band to cover the top of the jar

The process of making the tea was easy.  I boiled 4 cups of filtered water, then steeped my tea bags in it for 10 minutes.
Then I removed the tea bags and stirred in 1 cup of organic sugar until it dissolved.
In went 8 cups (64 oz.) of filtered water to the tea, which brought down the water temp so I didn't kill the SCOBY.
Next, I poured in all the contents of the bag, including the liquid.
Yes, that looks disgusting, like a fetal pig floating in formaldehyde.  Did I burn your eyeballs?  If not, here are some more shots
It apparently doesn't matter where the SCOBY floats, bottom or top. 
I gave it a stir, then capped it with the woven fabric and tightened it with a rubber band.
 
Then I stuck it in my pantry where it's dark.  That spot still gets some airflow due to opening and closing the door throughout the day.
I'm hoping that when I taste it in a week (yes, I'm going to taste it!) it will be sweet and bubbly.  The next step is to strain it, add fruit juice and bottle it.  I'll post about that part of the experiment then.

What do you think? Does this give you the heeby-jeebys?  Have you ever tasted kombucha?  Would you?

5 comments:

  1. I love Kombucha but that bottle is freaky... waiting to see how you prettify it!

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  2. Hi there Katydid and Kid, fellow 'buch brewers!
    Happy to see you all are brewing. Looks great, although I suggest not to fill it all the way to the top, but just before your jar tapers in. The SCOBY forms on the surface of your tea; so the more surface area, the quicker your brew will ferment, and the less chance you have at harboring mold. If you are ever in Brooklyn, New York feel free to visit our Learning Center and 'Buch Bar! We would love to say hi. We also have a brewers FAQ on our site if you ever need to reference.

    Happy Brewing!
    Will
    Team KBBK
    www.kombuchabrooklyn.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the tip! I was wounding about that since the person who gave it to me had a wider mouthed jar (hence a wider SCOBY). I also wasn't sure if I could just alter the recipe, putting less tea or scoby liquid in it without compromised results.
    I love your website. What a great wealth of information. I hope this is just the beginning of my kombucha brewing. Thanks for your comment!
    Kathleen

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh Kat, that looks so gross, but strangely enough, I'd love to make some. I don't know, I think it's the challenge I'm after.

    ReplyDelete

I'm a good listener...comment away!

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