Kombucha: Brewing My First Batch

After looking into dietary cleanses around the new year, I tried kombucha from the grocery store. The price tag of almost four dollars a bottle sent me into sticker shock—but it also caused the woman at the checkout counter to be wow-ed and comment on my lavish purchase. Spending $4 per small bottle was no way to start the new year. After enjoying a few store bought bottles, I was feeling energized (in body, not wallet) from the drink, so I put my feelers out there looking for friends who might have some pointers about starting.

What did I find? It’s amazing how many people are into komucha right now. I didn’t even expect to find someone in my circle of friends, but one friend offered her SCOBY culture to me. Score!

So I borrowed her SCOBY but didn’t have the slightest clue about how to begin. She tried explaining when she passed it to me, but I was still feeling clueless. So I did what anyone else in the modern world would do: I Googled it. I tried a few searches: “how to brew kombucha,” “brewing kombucha,” and also “kombucha safety” because the latter query was where my mind went when I saw that the wrinkled greyish specimen in a jar. (Just do an image search of SCOBY and you’ll start to understand. Some look like little nice pancakes. Mine looked a bit more menacing than this.)

In any case, I happily brewed my first kombucha with black and jasmine tea for two weeks in my closet. You can see the large clear glass jar labelled “MARCH 30th KOMBUCHA 1″ below. That was my batch that I pulled out on April 15th when I was ready to bottle:

I tried it alone and liked it a lot. It was almost too sweet for me, so I will brew it a little longer next time to get rid of more sugars.  This time, though, I mixed it in separate jars a few different ways: Grapefruit + Ginger; Papaya Nectar; Mixed berries (frozen) + Papaya Nectar; and one that was Mango + Mixed berries (see below).

I used an empty Half Acre Brewery growler for this delicious Ginger + Grapefruit batch. (P.S. Half Acre beers are also amazing.)

Now I am sipping my first kombuchas and they are delicious!

I also recommend getting well-acquainted with this drink through YouTube searches before jumping into this process. It gave me a lot more confidence to see slow and simple the videos from Cultures for Health, especially this one which I found to be quite helpful.

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