I promised you pictures of my kombucha and here they are. I’m still quite a newbie at kombucha brewing, so this post is just a “tour” of what I’m doing, for those who are curious.
The Kombucha Tour From Our Traveling Kitchen:
Kombucha is fermented sweetened tea. You mix cooled, sweet tea with a kombucha SCOBY and a bit of kombucha from the last brew and then let it sit for 7+ days. This batch is made from black tea and I’m planning to add ginger when I bottle it.
This is a close-up picture of the SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). I started out with a SCOBY that was only a disk or two thick and it has grown and grown. I’ve now divided it into three separate SCOBYs so that I can brew more kombucha at once.
After the kombucha has brewed for 7 days I start taste-testing to see if it’s ready for bottling. When it is, I pour the kombucha through a sieve to catch the gelatinous bits that I don’t like to drink. Then I pour the kombucha into glass jars, as you see pictured below.
The bottled kombucha will sit in a dark cabinet for a few days while it carbonates. Then I’ll move it to the refrigerator and chill it before we have a bottle.
How We Came To Brew Our Own Kombucha
John and I first heard about kombucha in Tim Ferris’ book: The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman. Tim drank citrus kombucha or citrus juices before high processed carbohydrate/sugar meals to prevent spikes in his blood glucose.
John and I soon bought a few bottles of kombucha at Whole Foods and loved it…except for the price. You can find lots of different health claims for kombucha. Very few, if any, of those claims have been clinically tested. If the kombucha does help our digestion, that’s just a plus. We drink it because we like it.
We started brewing our own kombucha because we had difficulty finding kombucha in grocery stores once we started traveling. One morning a friend and I were watching the kids play at the playground and discussing fermented foods, when I mentioned that I would love to brew my own kombucha. Lo and behold, she had a kombucha SCOBY back in her RV that needed dividing. We rounded up the kids, went back to the her RV, and I became the proud new owner of a kombucha mother that I was terrified to touch.
The Suspense of Kombucha Brewing
As I mentioned at the beginning, I’m very new to kombucha brewing. Once I reach a reasonable level of competence, I’m hoping to develop a few of my own kombucha recipes. Despite my inexperience, or perhaps because of it, tthese first few batches have been quite a lot of fun. On our first batch we watched the SCOBY daily. Here are a few excerpts from the daily kombucha conversations
Day 1: “Is the SCOBY supposed to be at the bottom of the jar?”
“No, I think it’s supposed to be at the top.”
Day 3: “The SCOBY is still at the bottom of the jar”
Day 5: “I’m really starting to think we’ve killed this thing”
Day 7: “Ahhh..the SCOBY is at the top! I think it’s still alive!”
Day 15: Oh my goodness….Our SCOBY is growing! Look at this!”
What can I say. It added a new level of excitement to our daily lives. Next on our fermented food adventures is sauerkraut or kimchi. Feel free to weigh in with your opinion on fermented foods or what we should make next in the comments =)