Sunday, February 09, 2014

Kombucha!




If you'd asked me this time last year if there would ever be a slimy pancake bacteria and yeast culture floating in a jar of sweet tea on my kitchen counter, the answer would be a resounding, "No!" Because, gross. And yet...

Throughout my six years of dietary veganism and culinary experimentation, I hadn't been very interested in kombucha. In fact, I couldn't even bring myself to try it — too many stringy, yeast floaters for my liking. So I never did. Until this past December. And let me tell you, once I tried kombucha, I was almost instantly hooked.

Something about the dry, sweet-tart effervescence of this fermented wonder drink satisfied a long-unsated craving that only commercial soda had ever been able to touch. Not only that, I began to feel absolutely wonderful. I noticed my skin beginning to glow, I felt happier and less downbeat when stressed, and overall, just generally... Better. With store-bought bottles reaching the $4 mark, my new daily drink quickly became an expensive habit. Like many others before me, I made the decision to figure out how to brew my own 'buch.

The result? Only two batches into my home brewing, I'm beyond excited. I grew my own SCOBY (that slimy pancake bacteria and yeast culture I never imagined having in my life) from a store-bought bottle of GT's Original flavor Classic kombucha (the kind now in amber bottles) and let it grow, grow, grow until it was big enough to use for making a first half-gallon batch. I named it Scoby Bryant, fed it Oolong sugar tea and since then my SCOBY has given me two tasty, pleasantly floral brews. You can see Scoby Bryant floating in my current brewing container below.

I'm still experimenting with flavoring and bottling, but a handful of fresh ginger slivers and a 3-4 day second fermentation has been giving me wonderful carbonation and flavor.

What are your secrets for brewing 'buch? Let me know! If all continues to go well, I'll be graduating to brewing a continuous full gallon shortly.




Photography and styling by Alyssa. Photos ©Alyssa Yeager

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