Several months ago, I started a series on ‘An Edible Quest’ called the Fermentation Bandwagon. At the time, it seemed like a perfect fit to talk about things I made in my own kitchen but, in hind sight, it was probably a little off topic for a travel blog focused on good food and drink. As a result, I am redirecting those posts to ‘Partners in the Kitchen’ going forward. I explained my rationale in the last post so if you really need to know, check it out. If not, just enjoy the broader content on this blog going forward as we talk not only about good kitchen design but also good things that come from a well-designed kitchen!
About a month ago, I wrote about our attempt to establish our very own kombucha scoby. My expectation at the time was that we would wait about four weeks for the scoby to develop and right about now it would be ready to make the first batch of kombucha. Well, reality has turned out to be significantly different from expectations….and in a good way. I am now on batch four and all have been consistent and good! This could not have been simpler.
According to directions I followed on-line (and provided in the original post), I was supposed to pour out the first batch because it would be flat (no carbonation) but it had a bit of effervescence. Not being a big fan of carbonation anyway, on day 12, I decided to drink the first batch rather than waste it. It yielded six bottles of nice tasting kombucha…tasted as good as the store-bought variety, just not as bubbly. At this point, the scoby was thin (between 1/16″ and 1/8″) but it was formed into a circle and held together as I poured off batch one and added the cooled sweet tea for batch two.
The only difference between making the initial batch and the second batch was that rather than adding a bottle of store-bought kombucha as starter, I merely had to retain two cups of my first batch as starter for batch two. No problem. Within eight or nine days, the scoby was getting thicker and batch two was ready to bottle.
This same cycle repeated for batch three.
The fourth batch is now sitting on the kitchen counter and the scoby looks perfect. It is 1/4″ thick or so and looks like the gel pancake that it is supposed to resemble. In a few more days, I will bottle this latest batch and then start on the next experiment – making flavors.
For this next phase, I will turn to the advice offered by Emma Christensen in her book, “True Brews”. I plan to dial back the black tea and incorporate some green tea to see what happens. Supposedly, the black tea has more nutrients to feed the scoby than the green tea so balance is key. If that goes well, I’ll start playing with flavors from the garden.
Emma provides a recipe for blackberry sage kombucha in her book and I have both growing in the garden at the moment so that seems like a logical next try. Stay tuned. In another month, I’ll report back with more progress. So far, so good. The scoby looks shaggy but the results taste great!