Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Kombucha Tea

Kombucha is a wonderfully tasty fermented drink that supposedly has pro-biotic properties. This tangy sweet concoction is fizzy on the tongue without any added carbonation, the thing is, it smells funny.  Because of Kombucha's fermented past it has a light vinegary/beer-esk smell.  I prefer it after what is called a "second fermentation" where the person brewing said tea has added fruit or juice and allowed that to ferment, though I think the best I have had came from my friend Matt, who gave me this beautiful SCOBY Mother pictured above. What Matt did to his Kombucha was he had bottled it and allowed it to set an extra few days or so without any other additives and then that day was he had added fresh crushed blueberries to his "pop top" drink that somehow made it even fizzier. In the few days it had formed a little baby scoby that bounced up and down in the bottle fizzing away. Not sure if that was too healthy or not leaving the scoby in there, but it was however the best I have tasted and no one got sick.

So here is the ingredient list that my friend Matt handed down to me for making Kombucha

1 gallon water
1 gallon water (for tea)
2 green tea bags
5 black tea bags
2 cups of sugar
2 - 2.5 gallon glass container
cloth cover

Here's what I've found for "brewing directions":
First and foremost don't use metal on your SCOBY and avoid fermenting in plastic as it can breed bacteria.

1. Procure a SCOBY and its starter liquid, their site Food Renegade's "How to" has many options for procuring one.
2. Make your sweet tea.
    a. Boil half of your water and seep tea bags, remove tea bags and add sugar. Cool to room temp, about two hours
    b. Pour into your brewing container and add second half of water.
3. Add the liquid starter into your tea and carefully float your scoby on top of the tea
4. Cover and place away from direct sunlight in a warm area (74-86*F). Brew for 5-7 days, test its "tartness" by putting a straw under the scoby and taking a sample.
5. When its fermented to your liking remove scoby and 1 to 1-1/2 cups of the kombucha as a starter for the next batch. This starter should be kept in glass, away from direct sunlight.
6. Bottle or begin the second brewing stage.

Second Stage Brewing:
1. Pour clear fruit juice (with no pulp) in the bottom of your bottles, add the kombucha and ferment for two days.

Storing your SCOBY between batches:
Some recommend to put it in the refrigerator, where it should "keep" for up to 10 days before going dormant. Dormant scoby's need longer to "refresh," feed them a nice diet of refined white sugar until they're healthy again, or just be willing to wait a few extra days until your next batch is ready.

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