Monday, August 18, 2014
I've been a kombucha drinker for years now. My first time drinking it was quite memorable... I was grabbing some lunch at the local health food co-op. I saw a lot of different flavors, picked one up, and checked out the label. It definitely sounded like it was some really good stuff! I chose mango flavor to go along with my veggie sushi roll lunch. I got into my car and had to try it right away. Hmm, looked like there was some of the good stuff at the bottom. I gave it a really good shaking to make sure I'd get plenty of that good stuff and opened it up... The interior of my car and myself got a good spray down of mango kombucha! I had no clue it was a carbonated beverage. I cleaned up as best I could and took my first sip... Pretty good! Part of me worried it would taste weird. The nice labeling had assured me otherwise. The listed health benefits (not approved benefits by the USDA of course) made it worth the risk of trying it. If it was gross, I would just chug down and call it even. But it was actually pleasing to my pallet. It tasted like mango soda with a pleasant tang and without the sickening sweetness. I had stopped drinking soda for a long time and this was a perfect fix for carbonated beverages with bonus healthy good-for-you bacteria and yeasts.
Fast forward several years. I became a regular kombucha drinker, buying myself and my hub a few bottles each whenever shopping at a store that carried it. However, it took a toll on the wallet.
My mother-in-law had told me she had a friend who was "all organic" and had been making it and selling it sorta as a hobby. We were invited to see her bottle up a batch and see how it's brewed up.
When we arrived to our kombucha lesson, it looked like quite a fun little gig... She had lots of assorted fruits and things chopped neatly and lots of mason jars and glass bottles on her kitchen island. It looked like a scene from a happy cooking show, where I knew I'd learn something fun. We tried a finished flavored kombucha and plain kombucha just finished it's first fermentation. Both were way beyond better than anything I bought from the stores. I could actually taste delicate tea flavors, and the carbonation level was much more agreeable on the pallette!
She gave us a SCOBY to take home. A couple days later I had my ingredients and glassware ready to go.
I am now waiting for my 4th two gallon batch to finish fermenting. We are drinking delicious organic kombucha as much as our hearts desire! Not sure what's best- getting to drink the yummiest healthy kombucha ever, or the fact that it only costs me what it takes to buy some organic sugar and loose leaf teas.
Loose tea blend: pearl white tea, oolong, English breakfast, and matcha.
Simple. Boil water, add loose tea, brew for 5 min, add sugar. Cool to room temp, helped by adding cool water. Add a scoby.
Straining the tea leaves.
Waiting to cool down. This is a gallon of sweetened tea. Another gallon of cool water is added to help it cool off. Then in with the scoby, cover with something breathable and sanitary. We use a paper towel held in place with two rubber bands.
Next up... Flavoring the first batch!