Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kombucha in the Jar

   I wasn't real sure about this whole kombucha thing, but The Fella had heard of it before and is slightly familiar with it and thought it'd be fun, so we opted to give this a go too along with all of our other fermented goodies. Kombucha is a slightly effervescent fermented black tea drink that you brew with a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast). Not the most appetizing thing I've ever heard of, but after reading about it on a fermentation group on Facebook and hearing what The Fella had to say, it sounded like it'd at least be a fun science experiment if nothing else. So, when at Safeway, I grabbed a couple bottles of GT's Enlightened Kombucha...definitely not what I thought it'd taste like and I wasn't sure I could get on board with this. Due to the way kombucha ferments, it ends up with a bit of alcohol. Not much alcohol, usually less than .5%, but sometimes you end up with a wee bit more in there. So because of that, some brands like GT's has a few forms of kombucha that don't produce alcohol. Those ones are usually also flavored with fruit juice of some sort. Yeah, I wasn't totally digging that at first. After a few bottles of it, I don't mind it as much, but we'll see what I think of the regular kind without it. I can't find the bottled regular kind where I'm at, so I'm brewing it...which is also a heck of a lot cheaper. I can find it for about $3 a bottle here which is more than I'm willing to pay, especially when I'm not really digging the fruity kinds.
   You see that little disc thing? That's a dehydrated Kombucha SCOBY I acquired July 9. I didn't know this, but apparently it takes 30 days to re-hydrate. Makes sense now that I think about it, but I didn't think about that at the time. Ooops. Now this little lady is wallowing in tea and trying to regain some life. It's also recommended that you don't drink this batch since it's mostly to rehydrate the poor dear, so that means I'll be waiting another 7-30 days for my first batch of kombucha from this SCOBY. Not what I had in mind when I started. I'm one of those instant gratification people and I'm not overly patient with this kind of stuff. I know! It's ironic that I ferment stuff because that stuff takes time. Lol. Worth it though since I end up with some tasty fermented foods, but still a bit exasperating to wait for at least a week to taste most stuff. Anyway, back to the kombucha... So with the knowledge that my kombucha experiment is suddenly taking longer than I thought it would, I found a place that sells lovely, blubbery SCOBYs, not dehydrated ones...and they were on sale at that time...so I ordered one...
   While the dehydrated one was cheaper, I'll encourage other folks like me to suck it up and pay more for a
lovely, blubbery one in some starter liquid. IT IS WORTH THE MONEY. Or, if you find someone willing to gift you one or send you one for shipping costs, go that route. I'm not impressed with my little dehydrated one so far since it takes so freaking long just to rehydrate it to even start brewing. I'm hoping it hangs in there and fattens up a bit and thrives because it's one sad little bugger. The one I just nicknamed "Big Momma" on the right, now she's full of spunk and apparently liking her new home. I've had her since Friday and she's apparently doing well and happy. Why do I say that? Because I found a baby SCOBY in the jar last night. She's thin, but there and becoming more SCOBY-like. Total win in my book since I now have the start of another that I can fatten up and use. WHEE! Perhaps it's not the most exciting thing for some folks, but I think it's pretty awesome to see. :D

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