Monday, September 20, 2010

Try, try again. Kombucha often rocks and sometimes it just doesn't

So that first batch didn't taste too hot. It was really, really sweet and I am certain one week wasn't enough to get it kickin'.  I ended up dumping most of it and got discouraged. But I had so many scobys, I wasn't going to give it up entirely, so I brewed two batches with green tea, plopped the scobys in and left them to sit for two weeks.  That was not intentional, but time got away from me.

I finally had the time to bottle up what was there.  The big Anchor jar tasted like vinegar. YUCK! the Skinny jar was FANTASTIC. It was sealed by the scoby and developed a ton of fizz.  If I could have, I would have bottled it and sold it, but I only had enough to drink and share with a friend who was suffers withdrawals since the Kombucha ban.

My daughter's fifth grade class sells pickles every year for a fundraiser, so today I snagged three jars and have tea cooling and ready to mix.  I got tow more batches going, but screwed up the tea amount. I think I only put half the amount of green tea, so who knows what will happen with those.

My new three batches are two black tea and one green.  I have to disturb the currently brewing batch to get at the scobys, cause I stacked them. Don't think that is best, but operating on low fumes, I could not figure out where to store the extras so they wouldn't dry out.

So, I'm going to dig out three scobys and hope for the best.  I think the key last time was a long sit, but maybe not two weeks.  I'll try 10 days and see how she goes.

Stay tuned and thanks for the friends I've gathered doing this. I haven't been actively promoting this blog, but I like tracking my progress and anyone along for the ride works for me.

Happy brewing!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I've got bubbles! Kombucha Brewing at a Good Clip.

I've got tons of bubbles on my green tea batch. So thrilled, because for me, it is all about the fizz!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Two in Brew: Kombucha Tea Express

I know have a black tea batch brewing along side my green tea. I swear the green tea already looks like it has carbonation, but I could be mistaken. I think the Austin heat is definitely kicking things in gear.

Saved a SCOBY for a friend who wants to try brewing. Gotta say I love doing it, but when the kombucha was readily available in the stores, it sure seemed easier. I looked at store bought kombucha as a special treat once I stopped brewing. There was nothing I could do to justify $3-$4 a bottle regularly, especially knowing how easy it is to do yourself. I think knowing that you grow a new culture every time you brew also made the dough tough to shell out per bottle.

Buddha's Brew is the closest brew to my own. GT's is much lighter tasting and more fizzy generally. Until I had Buddha's Brew, I thought maybe I was missing something in my own. Nothing like commercial validation to bolster my feeling of success. :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Kombucha Tea Recipe

Here's the recipe I follow for Kombucha Tea:

1. Bring 3 Quarts of distilled water to a boil.

2. Add 1 cup of sugar (I use organic raw sugar) and 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.

5. Float your SCOBY; shiny side up. Don't sweat it if it sinks, it will work fine.

6. Add about 10-15 percent old batch tea on top of the SCOBY if you have it or buy a bottle of KT. I usually use 10-12 oz.

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

8. Don't mess with it! A thin film will form on top and grow into a new baby SCOBY. Hopefully, some carbonation will form and bubbles will rise underneath the SCOBY. I have pictures of this in older posts.

Once brewed to taste...

1. Wash hands and then rinse with vinegar. Carefully remove the SCOBYs and put them in a glass container. Don't use metal utensils. Pour off about 10 -20 oz for starter tea for the next batch or two of tea (you have two SCOBYs now).

2. I bottle my kombucha in mason jars now days. I often add ginger, but I will add only shredded ginger juice and not the actual pieces like I used too. You can also add a little bit of fresh squeezed blueberry  or other fruit juice to the individual bottles for extra flavor and fizz.

3. I usually let them sit a week or so for a second fermentation and then stash them in the fridge. Enjoy!

There are links to lot's of other recipes on the side bar as well, but this is as basic as you get.

Got Three SCOBYs and I'm brewing.

Picked up three SCOBYs and I have one soaking in sweet green tea now. I was only anticipating gettig one, but he gave me three cause I'm really nice!

Can't wait to drink it!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I'm ready to brew again

All the hype and empty store shelves have got me in the mood to brew again.  In fact, I found someone on craigslist that has some scobys and I'm gonna buy one. I prefer the trade method, but why not buy one when I like the stuff and they multiply. Seems like a good enough investment.

I am brewing the tea tonight so it is ready tomorrow; hope he can meet me. I may ask if he'll do two scobys for the price of one with some eggs.  My third hen Lulu is finally laying eggs after a month of living here. Care about that, you can click through to my Hen Fresh Eggs blog.

Lord, now for the biggest issue. Space and bottles. I pretty much recycled all my old bottles as I got sick to death of storing them.  I think I may buy mason jars with regular lids, similar to how Buddha's Brew started bottling, before they went all GT's on there packaging.

It is funny. I thought my tea was good, but I thought something must be wrong with it because it didnt' taste much like GT's. Then I bought Buddha's Brew and was blown away by how much it tasted like mine.  So, confidence restored, because my ginger brew rocked.

The summer heat should push processing, so anxious to get started.  We'll see if the dude comes through tomorrow.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Kombucha Pulled From Shelves. Time to brew your own!

Kombucha was pulled from the shelves of H-E-B and Whole Foods until better controls on the alcohol can be gauged. According to stores pulled the tea "because of elevated alcohol levels that weren't reflected on the labels. The company is awaiting their suppliers to update their labels. Under government regulations, products containing alcohol levels of 0.5% or more need to carry warning labels."

My mothers all died last summer when I took a hiatus and the heat took over.  Hottest summer on record, so I haven't brewed in some time.

I was thinking about starting a new batch from some bottles I have stashed, but it would be sure nice to find a mother!