Kombucha Kraziness!Several months ago a patient gave a staff member three containers with aliens floating in them.  They were SCOBYs that could be brewed into kombucha.  No one seemed eager to adopt any of them and they sat for a while.  One day, I couldn’t bear it any longer.  I could see these poor guys drying out and dying before my eyes and I took one home.  I googled kombucha and it looked pretty easy.  I’ve always got lots and lots of tea in the house and I had sugar.  The vessel was the only challenge for me, but with a partner who loves yard sales I found a fairly large vase that might just work and I boiled the kettle.  That first batch was an experiment that I really didn’t know would be successful.  I could smell the yeasty, vinegary scent that was enclosed in the cupboard with the brew.  I was hopeful.  A week later, I strained and bottled my brew.  I added flavourings and after it was chilled I tasted it….it was amazing!  I’d bought kombucha before, Mariposa Market in Upper Tantallon has it but the cost is really crazy.  Nice for a treat but too expensive for everyday drinking.  My partner tried the ginger mint flavour and loved it.  Kombucha has replaced diet and sugary sodas for him and helped to control his diabetes.

My next batch I used the “continuous” method. Rather than dumping the whole lot, I used a large tea cooler with a tap to set up my kombucha brew.  A week later I was able to drain the kombucha easily into bottles that contained my flavouring agents.  I could simply add tea, water and sugar to the cooler to restart the next batch.

I took pity on a second SCOBY and held it in a glass container waiting to deliver it to my best friend in the valley.  Each batch I added a bit of the new sweet tea, and with each batch a new layer built upon the SCOBY.  I now have a stack of SCOBYs awaiting their own brew and so I’ve got to teach a class and set them free into the world so others can enjoy kombucha too!

How to do it:

  • Get a SCOBY and about a cup of starter kombucha
  • Make a pot of tea with 6 tea bags, it must be a caffeinated tea like black tea or green tea.
  • Take out tea bags and blend in 1 cup white sugar while tea is warm, don’t worry, the microbes will digest most of the sugar
  • Use a glass or ceramic vessel that won’t be affected by the acidity of the brew, use at least a gallon container.
  • Put sweet tea in the container and top up with fresh cool water leaving at least 2 inches at the top of the vessel.
  • Gently pour your SCOBY into your brew vessel.
  • Cover with a cloth and hold on the neck of the vessel with an elastic, this keeps out dust and bugs but allows air in for the SCOBY to breathe.
  • Put it in a cool dark place and let it ferment for a week.  You can use a straw to sip a bit to taste for tartness after day four and if it is too sweet you can wait longer.
  • Gather enough bottles to bottle your kombucha.  Rinse with white vinegar or peroxide.  Wash well with hot water to ensure they are VERY clean.
  • Add flavourings like ginger and mint, frozen cherries or blueberries, blueberry juice and balsamic vinegar, orange juice and peel.  Add  1 tsp of sugar to each bottle to feed the second fermentation.
  • Decant kombucha into bottles. If you have a vessel with a tap then simply drain kombucha from the tap.  For a gallon jar or other type of vessel, dump the brew into a colander lined bowl.  Remove the SCOBY in the colander to another bowl.  Pour your brew into the bottles using a funnel.
  • Cap bottles with corks, label with flavours and the date.  Leave outside the fridge for a day or two to develop more fizz or put in the fridge for immediate drinking pleasure.  If leaving bottles to secondary ferment, release pressure every couple of days to avoid bottles exploding.
  • Get your next batch on!

Simple, delicious and refreshing!

Resources:

Hannah Crum’s  website: https://www.kombuchakamp.com/

Recipes and you can order SCOBYs and supplies from her.  Lots of info.

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