Monday, January 28, 2008

Day Five: Kombucha Culture Experiment Growing!


Pretty cool huh? If I wasn't afraid of giggling everything loose, I would clean the outside of the glass jar.

I am fascinated with the tendrils of goo hanging down. She is sitting at about 75 degrees most of today.

This project is going to save me $3.00 a bottle, but cost me a fortune in electric bills!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

More Goo Floating on Top

Nothing terribly exciting to report, but I thought I would post a picture of my Kombucha baby forming at Day Four.

Today the temperatures were in the low 70s outside, so the brew sat at about 76-78 most the day, even with the heater off.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Something's Growing in There!

Well, today is day three of my first batch of Kombucha. I am seeing a very fine layer of film across the surface and dangley Kombucha goo forming. The tea is pretty opaque, but if I shine a flashlight I can see the squiggles. Also, on the bottom sides of the container, I see sludge at the bottom with dark bits of sediment.

When I took off the cover off the jar to take this picture, I smelled a strong apple cider vinegar smell.

I have kept the temperature between 70 and 75 using a space heater behind my desk. Last night, after I turned off the light bulb, which was producing some heat, I think it got as cool as 68 degrees, but the weather warmed up today in the 60s. Texas is very weird; the threat of sleet yesterday and temperatures with highs in the upper 30s and today was a bright, crisp sunshiny day and I sweat working in the yard.

I bet I have more to report tomorrow, but I am pretty thrilled about all this. A baby is growing!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

My First Batch of Kombucha Tea Sans Baby

This morning I set out to make my first batch of Kombucha Tea. I have been drinking GT's Kombucha for some time, but after paying $3 each I became obsessed with making my own.

I met a woman from Austria named Marianna, who brought a Kombucha culture to the US on vacation (Shhh! Don’t tell) and she made batches of the tea while she was here. She shared some with my husband and I and offered to leave me a culture, but forgot as she zipped back to Austria.

Her K-Tea was very different from GT's Kombucha in that it wasn’t as fizzy and had a sweeter apple cider vinegar taste.

I began doing research online and found a lot of great resources and recipes for making your own. The recipe was easy to understand and they also sell cultures and kits.

Well, I am too impatient to wait for a culture in the mail, so I began researching if you could make the tea from a bottled tea that contained some of the live culture in it and it seems you can. We’ll see with my first batch.

My last bottle of K-Tea from Marianna was sitting in the fridge begging to be consumed when I picked it up to see how much culture was floating around. I jumped with glee when I discovered a baby culture floating around in a perfect circle, so this bottle will be my starter and hopefully a SCOBY (the name for the culture disc) will grow from that little baby floater.

I am following the directions at the link above to the tea, although I bought organic raw sugar and organic black tea. I found a cool one gallon jar to use at Target for $6.99 , but really any glass gallon jar will work. I don’t eat huge jars of pickles from Costco, so I didn’t have anything on hand.

It is cold as heck here in Austin right now and I don’t have central heat, so I had to set up a little Kombucha station on my desk over my laptop and with a space heater close by to maintain the heat between 72 and 74 degrees. Wish I was that warm!

Here are the steps I have taken making the recipe linked above:

1. Bring to Boil 3 Quarts of Distilled Water

2. Add 1 cup of sugar (I use organic raw sugar) boil 5 minutes.

3. Turn off heat and add 4 tsp black or green tea in bags, loose or tea ball to steep for 10-15 minutes

4. Remove (strain) tea and let it cool to room temperature. Tea must be cool or it will kill the live culture. I let mine sit covered outside in 40 degree weather (told you I am impatient).

5. In my experiment, I added 12 ounces of bottled homemade Kombucha with a live SCOBY floating in it. This is about 12 percent of the three quarts of tea. You need 10-15 percent old batch tea and the scoby if you have it.

6. Let it sit for 6-10 days covered with a cloth or paper towel between 70-80 F degrees.

Get more detailed instructions from the links on this page. While I didn't read every website in detail, I found a bunch of great resources.

I'll update as I see changes in my tea. This is exciting stuff. Now I have to think about what to bottle it up in when its done.