Despite my lack of posts, the kombucha is coming along nicely. I have bottled a few batches, and even had the nads to drink a few bottles! I’ve only allowed others a sip here and there, and then only those whose composition is tried and true, by way of raw-food retreats and Master Cleanseses.
Here’s the bottle of the stuff I drank tonight.
Bits and pieces I’ve picked up along the way:
- It’s important to taste the brew regularly. I didn’t realize this until after the first big growth batch had passed its prime and tasted very much like vinegar. For some reason I was hesitant to do this at first, as though I was growing some exotic cocktail I’d never tried before. Now I taste it every few days, and am getting a better sense of the process just by looking at the scoby and the tint of the liquid.
- Bubbles aren’t automatic. I was surprised to discover my first batch was flat. I thought this was just another benchmark I had missed, but a friend recommended a little beer-brewing trick, which worked. I then corroborated the tidbit by looking it up on the ‘net. You know, the internet? Yeah, I’m connected. (you have to forgive the wackedness, I really just want to update the dang blog, and it’s late, and I’m loopy.) It’s simple: just add a little sugar to the bottle, close it up, and let it sit for a few days. I don’t know exact ratios right now, I’ve just been adding a scant teaspoon in each 16-oz bottle. What it comes down to, I suppose, is that the little buggers have food (sugar) to eat, so they’re happy, and the by-product is the fizzies that can’t escape from the bottle because it’s closed. There are laws of gas and physics here, that I could possibly explain. No, I really couldn’t.
- Stockpile bottles in advance. My roomies have been saving Snapple bottles for me for the finished tea. But you also need a good amount of filtered or clarified city water (boiled then left uncovered to allow chems, etc. to escape) when you start a new batch, so you’ll want to have a place to keep that as well. Ideally, you would have enough water to bring the temp of the sweet-tea mix down to tepid before adding it to scoby/wash.
That’s all I can think of, though I’m sure there’s more. At some point, I will add some info on the water kefir, which has been a great addition to the kombucha. It takes much less time (1-2 days) and is infinitely tinkerly-able!