Zhuzhing-up Standard Kombucha

Saturday 13 April

It has been a while since we’ve last left an entry in our Kombucha brewing journal, but don’t think for a second that we’ve stopped brewing! The reason for the lack of activity has been due to the fact that we’ve just been doing the same-ol’ brews, so there wasn’t much to journalise.

But this week we’ve attempted our first foray into zhuzhing-up our standard kombucha- injecting some liveliness into our brew by the way of GINGER!

After cooking a Chinese fish dish last week we had some leftover ginger, so instead of letting it just wither until the next weekend when we found another recipe which required the root- we added it to our secondary kombucha brew.

For us we kept it pretty simple, first peeling away the outer skin of the ginger, and then just dicing up the ginger into thin matchsticks and dividing the spoils equally into the three bottles of kombucha we produce each week.

After a week of secondary fermentation, there was definitely more effervescence when the cap was twisted off, and the flavour? Oh it was a real nice pure ginger flavour! It was remarkably similar to a ginger beer, but tart due to the kombucha’s usual properties.

When compared to a store bought ginger flavoured kombucha, the home brew is definitely more intense in gingery flavours, and it tastes more natural (perhaps that is a psychological thing, due to knowing the provenance of each ingredient).

And when compared to standard kombucha, it’s less sour- so ideal for those who might find kombucha usually too vinegary for their liking. If given the choice now, we prefer ginger infused kombucha, than stock standard kombucha.

P.S. Before consuming, pour the kombucha through a strainer to remove the pieces of ginger. However if you don’t mind expending more effort to extract the ginger flavours? You can first mince-up/grate/puree the ginger and add this into your secondary brew- this will eliminate the need to strain when it’s time to drain……your glass!

Baby Scoby Delivered via Sparrows

Sunday 24 February

Wow this is a proud moment for us scoby parents! When our little boy (not so little anymore) is able to produce offspring strong enough to be given away curtesy of the sparrow delivery network (cranes deliver human babies, the much smaller sparrow delivers baby scobies).

To our new scoby parents, please find below a set of instructions in how to care for him/her, follow these steps to the letter will ensure the production of a kombucha brew, to rival  a store-bought beverage! And review some of our previous Kombucha posts, to avoid any pit-falls we have encountered along the way.

Materials:

Kombucha culture (SCOBY and starter liquid)

1L water, boiled (or more for larger batches)

5g (2 teaspoon) Green or Oolong tea (or equivalent in tea bags)

50g (half cup) raw sugar per litre of water

Pot, saucepan or large bowl (1L capacity or more)

Sieve/fine strainer

Clean Glass or Porcelain jar or jug (1L capacity or more), and a rubber band that can fit its neck

Breathable (linen/cotton/gauze) fabric

Bottle and caps (perhaps keep and wash some after you’ve finished drinking your store-bought Kombuchas)

Preparation:

Step 1: Boil water.

Step 2: Infuse tea for 15 minutes (in your pot or large bowl).

Step 3: Strain the tea leaves or remove the tea bags.

Step 4: Add sugar to hot tea and stir to dissolve.

Step 5: Allow tea to cool to a luke warm temperature (no hotter than 35 degrees Celsius).

Step 6: Test the tea – your culture will die if the tea is too hot (boiling water onto the inside of your elbow as a test…. Jks Jks).

Step 7: Add Kombucha starter liquid and SCOBY (you can later give it a name if you like) to the fermentation jar.

Step 8: Pour cooled tea into the fermentation jar.

Step 9: Cover the jar with the fermentation cloth and secure with rubber band. The weave should be close enough to keep out any pollutants/bugs you don’t want to ingest, but porous enough to enable air to circulate.

Step 10: Allow to ferment for 8 – 12 days in an area where it will not be disturbed, away from bright sunlight.

**Note: A shorter fermenting time will produce a sweeter Kombucha brew, a longer duration will make a more acidic brew. When it’s hotter temperature-wise, fermentation will also occur faster.

Step 11: When the tea has attained the right acidity to taste, carefully pour the liquid into bottles (a funnel will be helpful here). Fill to the brim and twist lids on tightly.

**Important Note: Make sure you reserve enough liquid (10%) to use as a starter for your next batch.

Step 12: Prepare a new batch of tea (repeats steps 1-6) and add to the fermentation jar to start the process again.

Step 13: Ideally the drink should be allowed to mature for at least 5 days after bottling (this produces the effervescence).

Step 14: Place in fridge for at least 2 hours before drinking. Enjoy!

***Above preparation method adapted from The Good Brew Company goodbrew.com.au***

Kombucha Journal- Nailed-it!

We’ve done it! We’ve found the perfect balance between fermentation time, secondary fermentation, and balance of new and old brew.

So here are the steps: 1L Green Tea; ½ Cup sugar; your 1 Cup starter; and Scoby.

Allow to ferment for 5 days, then pour your brew into 330ml bottles and top off with unfermented brew (from your next batch) just so that the bottles are full. Then allow sit in a cupboard for 7 days for the secondary fermentation, and 3 hours before consuming, pop them into the refrigerator.

The outcome was a perfect balance of sweetness, sourness, and effervescence! Nailed-it! It has taken longer than expected (4 batches) to reach the perfect balance, but we eventually got there! Follow these steps and you’ll hit the mark on your first try!

Kombutcha Journal- SUCCESS!

Pssshhhhhtttt……… Now that was the sound of success! The glorious sound of effervescence when the bottle cap was twisted off! And the taste? I’d say it was pretty close to store bought flavours (before starting our own brews we had purchased a number of bottles, to edge into our memories what kombutcha was meant to taste like and to also collect the empty bottles for re-use).

In my opinion, this was how I remembered the non-flavoured kombutcha taste to be (although my wife thought it was a bit too sour for her liking). For batch 4 we’re going to brew it for fewer days with Toby our Scoby and reduce the primary fermentation to 5 days, rather than the full week to see if we can reduce the sourness.

The key to our success in batch 3 was the week we allowed the secondary fermentation i.e. pouring the kombutcha into bottles and allowing the yeast to do its thing as it sat unrefrigerated for a week, before chilling and enjoying!

So if you’re keeping track of our progress, here are the steps to success:

Ingredients: 1 litre water, 2 teaspoons of green tea, ¼ cup sugar, 1 cup starter and your scoby.

Method: Boil the water and allow the green tea leaves to infuse for 15 minutes before removing the leaves.

Then add sugar and allow the tea to cool all the way down. Then pour the 1 litre of tea into your jug with your 1 cup starter and scoby. Cover jug with a cheese cloth and allow to sit for 5-7 days.

After 1 week, pour the kombutcha into 330ml twist top bottles and allow to sit in a cupboard for a week (1L will make 3 330L bottles).

After a week, place into the fridge and enjoy cold!

Kombucha Journal- Toby and Toby Jr

Okay, it was time to pour out our second batch and Toby the Scoby has already re-produced! Wow! That didn’t take long did it?!

So this time Toby was submerged near the bottom of the jug, while a new paler Scoby covered the circumference of the jug. Welcome Toby Jr to the family.

Our second batch has been bottled, and sitting in a cupboard to further ferment, hopefully it’ll get fizzy this time.

And batch three has been topped up, with two Scoby’s on the job.

Kombucha Journal- 50% of the way there

Okay, tonight we cracked open the first bottle.

Pssshhhhhtttt….. If you didn’t get that that was the sound of a bottle being twisted open, sound of effervescence….. Or not……

Yeah, we’re only 50% there, there was no fizziness, it smelt like kombucha and it tasted 75% like kombucha (maybe a little too sweet and a little too sour), but I’ll put my hand-up! As soon as we poured out the Kombucha into bottles, I put them straight into the fridge. What ought to be the next step was to leave them unfridgerated for a handful of days to allow the yeast to do its thang. So we’ll keep that in mind for the next batch. While we still have 2 bottles of flat kombucha to endure…..