Monday, November 8, 2010

Successful Experiment with Kombucha

I first had Kombucha in Worcester after picking up a bottle at the ARTichoke Co-op. I remember Jeff telling me how hippie it was, and I didn't need much more convincing than that. The sweet and sour vinegar taste won me over instantly, even with the weird pieces of culture floating around in it (backwash, as Jeff and I lovingly refer to it). I've since looked into making my own, including reading every last inch of Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz, but became disappointed when I figured I'd have to buy a mother in order to make it happen. Kombucha isn't mainstream enough for mothers to be sold at homebrew stores along with vinegar, and online at Gem Cultures it was going to cost a pretty penny to have one shipped here.

New Batch So imagine my delight when I found these two posts about growing your own kombucha mother, or SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts). I used GTI kombucha to start my SCOBY, because that's what was easily available to me. Make sure whatever you buy is raw and unpasteurized or it won't work!

Jeff and I made that recipe, and had let it sit on our counter for at least a month. Last night I decided that the SCOBY was mature enough to take out of the starter and make into some serious fermented beverage. As you can see in the photo above, the SCOBY is a large whitish disc, which really isn't half as gross looking as I expected. I was initially nervous that it wouldn't be able to exit the container, considering that the mouth is narrower than the jar's diameter, but that was no problem. The SCOBY is pretty flexible.

Kombucha We drank the remainder of the liquid that the SCOBY was grown in, and it tasted delicious. Because it had been sitting for so long, it was quite vinegary, which is how I like my kombucha. If you like it sweet, don't culture the tea for too long. Pictured above is our next batch of kombucha brewing away in a half-gallon mason jar. Maybe we'll eventually move the operation up into a larger container if we get adventurous.

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