Some people say that kombucha (pronunciation help here) will change your life. As you know, I’ve been reading The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz. I’m interested in fermentation. I sometimes buy kombucha at Apple Valley. To be able to make your own kombucha, for the price of a few teabags and a cup of sugar…that’s intriguing.
Kombucha is a probiotic tea. Here’s more info on it, from KB, if you are interested. I was able to put this all together in the morning before work (and before coffee).
So, after doing some research, I decided to take the plunge. I got a mother/starter from Kombucha Brooklyn. Although the instructions say to clean everything in your brewing area and utensils with warm, soapy water…well, you know I’m a germaphobe. So I did that. Then wiped it all down with vinegar. Then washed it again.
Start by boiling 1/4 gallon of water.
Add your tea and steep for 20 minutes.
Add one cup of sugar and stir until dissolved (the culture feeds on the sugar as the fermentation occurs. The longer you let it ferment, the more sour and less sweet it becomes as more of the sugar is consumed).
Add a half gallon of cold water, then pour it all into a gallon jar.
Check the temperature. Don’t add your SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) if it’s hotter than 90 degrees!
If you’ve ever gotten bottle kombucha, you may notice floaters (do you strain it before you drink it? I almost puked when some of it got in my mouth the other day). The SCOBY kind of reminds me of those photos of breast implants that are removed and have gone all funky. Dump the SCOBY and starter juice in the container.
Put a clean cloth over the top of the container and secure with a rubber band.
Don’t forget to mark down when you started your brew. You should have a new mother SCOBY form within about a week. I’m kind of grossed out by the SCOBY to be honest, so for the modesty of my fermentation and my own sensibilities, I covered it.
You can let your kombucha ferment up to 28 days, depending on how tart you like it and the temperatures inside your house. A new SCOBY forms on top of the jar. After you have two SCOBYs, you can separate a layer and give the the SCOBY daughter to a friend. Like Amish friendship bread, you keep the process going and keep getting new SCOBYs.
If this all works out for me, and you’re interested, let me know. I’ll share the SCOBY love. If it really works out well, I’ll be leaving SCOBYs on doorsteps, ringing the bell and running away.
Next item to ferment: mead, or honey wine. Stay tuned.