Kombucha Files: Batch 3

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So far so good with my kombucha! The latest batch is currently fermenting and I think it’s going to be a good one. Batch one and two were made with organic honeycrisp apple juice and ginger. The last batch had a far more pronounced ginger flavor because I used peeled and sliced ginger instead of just a chunk of peeled ginger.

The second batch used organic black tea bags and organic hibiscus/mint tea bags, this new batch I used organic herbal spice tea and black tea. I plan on adding a lot of ginger to this batch as well, because I really like the flavor and the tummy benefits. I decided to branch out with the juice as well and use organic pear instead of apple.

The glass jar I have been using for the second ferment is not at all right. I love that it has a spigot but the top does not allow for proper carbonation to build up. I really need screw top jars for that to happen, so I’ve been saving bottles to use for this third batch. I have the two apple juice jars and a few store-bought kombucha bottles.

I really want to go to the local homebrew supply store to get these awesome bottles. One case of 12 would be perfect for ongoing batches of kombucha. My whole family loves it and the bottles are really ideal for individual servings. Of course I also fantasize about getting snazzy labels and coming up with some sort of snappy name for my brew. Not to sell, the Austin kombucha market is getting pretty saturated–mostly just because I like the idea of sipping my kombucha out of cute personalized bottles.

Have you made kombucha yet?

The Scobe: Adventures in Kombuchaland

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I inherited a scoby from a friend last week and decided to bite the bullet and finally give DIY kombucha a whirl. I had no clue what to do with her when I brought her home in a glass pint jar, swimming in the brew she was born in, so I did a lot of internet reading to prepare. After a couple of days I shrugged and tossed the scobe in with a fresh batch of sweet tea into a glass jar with a spigot (that I had just bought) I saw the scoby sink to the bottom. I had no idea if I had killed it or what was going on.

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The next day I took the kombucha down from the shelf above my dryer in the laundry room and peeked under the coffee filters (used to help the ‘booch breathe and keep bugs and fruit flies out) The scoby had floated to the top and it smelled happy and very kombucha-y in there. I tasted it in day three (I slipped a straw under the scobe and took a sip) and it seemed like it was going to be good.

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After it brewed for 7 days I used a pair of tongs to fish out the scoby (my oldest boy insisted on putting on a pair of plastic gloves so he could feel it’s slimy squishiness) and let it swim in some of the kombucha in the pint jar I brought it home in. I tossed in a chunk of peeled fresh ginger and added 32 oz. of organic honeycrisp apple juice. I used the scoby (fused with it’s baby, I didn’t separate them yet) to start a fresh batch and put the first batch back on the shelf to do a second ferment and hopefully create some yummy bubbles in there. (like what I’m used to in store-bought)

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This morning I poured a glass to sample and really loved the way it tasted. It was definitely “real kombucha.” I put it back on the shelf and was excited to see lots of bubbles forming on the top. I tasted it again tonight and the flavor is definitely deeper and more complex. I’ll taste it again tomorrow and if it seems to be where I like it then I’ll toss it in the fridge. I don’t plan on straining it, the spigot seems to be catching the bigger chunks and I don’t want to mess up the carbonation. Plus it will be gone probably before the second batch is finished with the first fermentation.

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I let my older boys have some with dinner and they loved it. I think we’ll need a bigger jar! I feel bad because my sweet husband wanted to get a 2 gallon screw top (looked like a giant mason jar!) container the first time but I was hesitant to go bigger than a gallon or so in case it didn’t work out. (the one he wanted was twice as much as the one I wanted) I want to get a case of flip top bottles and a few jugs and another bigger container with a spigot. I found a few online, but I will probably end up investing in real homebrew supplies as time goes on. I can’t wait to experiment with different flavors!

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Have you made kombucha before? What are YOUR favorite flavor combinations?