Experimenting with Kombucha
That's my first scoby in the making. I later killed it in an experiment, but I was proud to get it this far.
I never thought I’d want to brew my own kombucha (buch). I’m an avid water drinker, sometimes having a nice decaf green or herbal tea or indulging in hot chocolate. I don’t like carbonation, caffeine gives me palpitations, and I don’t want to drink my sugar—all things kombucha, in part if not in all. I liked the health benefits, but I didn’t consider it worth the trouble when I could just buy an occasional bottle I’d sip off over the span of a couple of weeks. Then I talked to a friend who continuously brewed her own kombucha and started reading about it and learned I could potentially brew kombucha without any of those things—like sipping vinegar! With all the benefits of um beneficial bacteria and none of the things that I don’t enjoy. Now my kitchen looks like a chemistry lab, or at the least, something that belongs to someone who’s way too into chunky sweet tea in random jars. Want to learn the basics? Here's a good user-friendly page to start: https://www.kombuchakamp.com/how-to-make-kombucha-complete-video-series
Sadly, my first scoby was down in that sweet tea, mothering this brew, and I had to toss it along with everything in this jar.
Vinegar all the things. There's white distilled vinegar in that spray bottle. If' it's touching any part of my process, it's vinegared, and that includes my hands.
Half-inch scoby--good thickness for a new scoby, but the brew can finish (reach desired sourness/doneness) before it gets this thick. The "tentacles" are strands of Cthulu. I mean yeast. Perfectly normal.
This is my first scoby hotel--a glass tupperware with plastic lid. My friend gave me a big pickle jar filled with a bunch of her scobys, so now I have two scoby hotels.
Your first fermentation is bubbly/foamy. It’s alive! No, really—it’s giving off carbon dioxide, which is healthy. However, if the gas is lifting your new scoby out of the brew, just duck it back down so it’s back on the water where it belongs. It doen’t necessarily have to be at the top.
These jars are perfect. The smaller one is 3/4 liters and the bigger one is 1 liter. These are brews 4 and 3 (left to right).
3. Start: 2/12/18, second ferment of brew 1C (3 green, 2 black), 3/4 cup fresh tangerine juice, lid on to carbonate, 2 days on counter, fridge to continue ferment and store
Jars 5 and 6. Scobys forming on fruit-only, full caf and decaf brews--this makes me happy because I wasn't sure if a sugar-free brew would work, especially the sugar-free decaf, but it's actually forming the better scoby. I used my friend's scobys because her setup is so well-established, and I used full scobys to hold the apple slices down because I worried leaving them exposed to air when they floated up increased their mold risk.