It wasn’t love at first taste.
I was introduced to a rather sour bottle of store-bought kombucha which was clearly past it’s prime (at least by my standards). I asked my hubby……”how can you drink this….and what’s so good about it?! It’s icky!!” He admitted it wasn’t the best kombucha he’d ever tasted and convinced me to try my hand at home brewing. And so my passionate journey begins……..
Several months ago, I began my kombucha journey. It took some trial and error, mostly because I wasn’t warned about the things that ‘could’ go wrong…..
That’s okay though – we learn our greatest life lessons by the setbacks, and I will now share those valuable life lessons with you ❤
Make sure that you –
- begin with a healthy SCOBY! (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria & Yeast)
- have 1-2 cups of STARTER fluid! (Live cultured kombucha, unpasteurized – from a friend when you receive your scoby, or purchased from your health food provider)
- brew in a glass vessel for optimal results
- keep it warm! If your room temperature is low due to seasonal weather, place it near a heat source.
- maintain your patience. These tiny little microbes have a mind of their own and they will test you!! Keep your cool. It’ll happen – I promise!!
- keep a reusable straw (& cleaning brush) around to make taste-testing easier. Some like it sweeter – me, not so much. I prefer a little tartness so I allow it to sit and brew for approximately 9 days under ideal summer conditions…..and another 3-4 days at room temperature during F2.
- start with a small batch – 1 litre or half a gallon. It’s easier to establish a strong starter fluid for future brews if you begin slowly. Keep an eye on it – you’ll quickly learn to identify what’s normal, and what’s not, which is easier to do if your batch is small. Should your brew develop mold, you’re not wasting a large batch!
- do not store your scoby in the refrigerator! Like me, it prefers to be a bit on the warm side.
- always remember to feed your extra scobys, and share them with your adventurous friends!
Things to keep in mind –
- Filtered water is best. Contaminants in tap water aren’t good for you, or your SCOBY.
- Flip-top bottles are ideal for F2 (second ferment), but MAKE SURE THAT YOU OPEN & BURP THEM DAILY!!! – otherwise it’s like shaking a bottle of champagne before cracking the cork. It’ll blast off like a rocket, painting you, your ceilings, walls, floors……..you get the picture……
- Contents under pressure have been known to burst the bottles. Make sure that you purchase good quality jars and bottles for your fermented beverages if you intend to keep them for longer term storage. Again, refer to the above! Burp your bottles!
- Clear bottles are best, enabling you to view the contents inside. It also makes it easier to clean them as you can see the residue which may be left behind from the added berries, etc, added to your F2.
- Invest in a good bottle brush – one with a tiny, bristly head small enough to squeeze through the opening of your bottles, and long enough to reach the bottom!
- Never shake, or open, a dropped bottle!
- Remember that the organic sugar used to create your F1 – first ferment – IS SCOBY FOOD! Your scoby will ‘eat’ this during the fermentation process, fueling it’s mission to create the carbonation and probiotics which make kombucha awesome! You will not be ingesting a sugary drink by the time it’s ready to drink.
F1 is –
- created by steeping your choice of tea (I use organic black earl grey, but you can use various flavours of your choice)
- created quickly by dissolving your sugar, and brewing your tea, in a small batch of hot water – allowing it to cool more rapidly as you add your cool filtered water as per your recipe/instructions/size of batch.
- in reference to the beginning batch of brew!
F2 is –
- the second ferment in the process of creating the perfect kombucha
- not necessary – but I highly recommend it!
- where the magic happens! Ohhhhh, those amazing bubbles……
- when you add your flavours! So many options –
- ginger, lemongrass, oranges, dried fruits, hibiscus tea, elderberries, strawberries, cherries, blackberries, blueberries, mint, lemon balm, grape juice, whatever your pleasure – toss it in the bottle and let it do it’s thing!
This isn’t by any means a complete Kombucha course, but I hope you learned something new today, and that it inspires you to give brewing a try.
Peace, and Love……
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