Sunday, August 18, 2013

Kombucha Photos

This is my process. Thanks to Larry D for the original SCOBY. I use a gallon jar.

When it is time to make new Kombucha, I first remove the mother (the SCOBY - Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) from the gallon jar. 

Then I pour off a quart of the Kombucha to use as starter liquid for the next batch. The remainder gets put into sealed jars in the fridge to drink. I have read that you want to take your starter Kombucha form the top of the jar and not the bottom, because the things that settle to the bottom will influence the flavor of your next batch by shifting the balance of different bacteria (all beneficial bacteria of course). The sealed jars in your fridge will continue to ferment a little and make the Kombucha fizzy. 

Then I add one cup of sugar to the gallon jar. I have tried maple syrup and evaporated cane juice, both made Kombucha, but I like that white sugar doesn't add any of its own flavors to the drink. CeeCee, our cat photobombed.

Then I brew some strong tea. I use 8 tea bags in my little teapot and let it steep for 3 to 5 minutes. It comes out dark.

I use filtered water. I also would worry if my water source was chlorinated or had fluoride added - it might hurt the SCOBY. Good, filtered water.  

My favorite combination for tea is 6 bags Oolong with 2 bags GenMaiCha. I heard that black tea is the best for the SCOBY and you should not use herbal or flavored tea. The SCOBY wants real tea.

Then I add my strong tea to the sugar.

I stir to dissolve the sugar into the tea.

I make two or three more batches of strong tea, using the same tea bags and I keep adding them to the jar until the jar is 2/3 full. Then I add enough ice to make the jar 3/4 full and I stir. This cools the tea to about room temperature, at which point I add the starter Kombucha that I had originally set aside and the mother. Your mixture should not be too warm or you might hurt the SCOBY.

Me - right before I add the SCOBY.

After I add the SCOBY, I cover the jar with a clean cloth napkin and seal it with a rubber band. Your SCOBY needs air, so don't seal the jar with anything impervious to air.  Leave it on the counter or shelf at room temperature for 5 to 10 (or more) days. As it ferments it will taste tangier and tangier. I like a 10-day ferment lately. Don't worry about the things that float in the kombucha - it is all good. Then bottle it and start over. Some people add sliced ginger when they bottle, to boost flavor. Your mother will float on the top of the gallon jar during the ferment and it will add a new layer for every batch. These layers can be peeled off like pages in a book, and you can share them with a friend.

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