September 30, 2015

Adventures in Kombucha



Kombucha. Doesn't the word conjure up visions of an exotic village in the Himalayan mountains?


Well, it isn't a far-flung vacation location. Kombucha is, however, the next stop in my journey to a healthier lifestyle.

Kombucha is an age-old drink that contains probiotics, enzymes, B-vitamins and more. It supports the immune system, improves digestion, helps cleanse and detox the body, increases energy, helps with weight loss, reduces joint pain including arthritis pain, and even helps prevent cancer.

Simply put, it's fermented sweet tea.

But would I like it? It's supposed to taste a bit, well, unusual. A few weeks ago I spotted several flavors of kombucha tea in the refrigerated case at a large grocery store, next to the juices. Happy that I wouldn't have to drive the distance to the nearest (but far from home) health food store to sample it, I forked over $3.50 for one glass bottle of gingerberry-flavored kombucha.


My first taste was kind of indescribable. It tasted the way apple cider vinegar smells, but it was good. I didn't expect the vinegary taste, but it wasn't unpleasant. I did love the bubbles. I'd read that you should only drink a little at first to see how your body reacts, so I was careful not to over-indulge.

The bottle lasted me two days, and on my next trip to town I bought another. This time tried the Trilogy flavor, but I didn't like it as well, so my third bottle was another Gingerberry. All right, I liked it. And it's supposed to be easy to brew at home, so I wouldn't have to shell out $3.50 per bottle and rely on the grocery store when I ran out - both are things I wasn't willing to do on a regular or long-term basis.

Kombucha with scoby

To brew your own kombucha, you need a mother culture, called a "scoby" (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). Many other healthy foods such as yogurt, sour dough bread, kefir and apple cider vinegar need a culture as well; even cheesemaking uses a culture to inoculate milk with a particular bacteria.

Some folks say you can grow your own scoby from a bottle of unflavored kombucha bought at the store, but I decided not to travel that route. People who brew their own kombucha often have extra cultures to share, but they are also available online; I bought my scoby from an Etsy.com seller. And that's where the adventure began: a journey that is ongoing and full of experimentation. Stay tuned for the second chapter.


Related Posts:
Adventures in Kombucha
The Kombucha Adventure Begins
Flavoring Kombucha, the Second Brew
How I Make Kombucha



This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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19 comments:

  1. Are you planning on doing a second ferment, to flavor it and make it fizzy? I do mine with Pomegranate-Cranberry juice, in grolsch bottles. Tastes so good!
    Hope you enjoy!
    Blessings!

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  2. That sounds delicious, Angie! So far I've used frozen fruit but I'm still experimenting to see what I like best. I'll give that a try.

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  3. Pinned!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Linda

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the pin, Linda.

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  4. I've been brewing Kombucha for almost 6 months now - I love it! I've started doing a second ferment with mine, experimenting with different fruits. It's so delicious!!

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  5. I've finally figured it out, Sara, and the batch that was ready today is delicious! It does take time to perfect your brewing and flavoring, doesn't it?

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  6. Kombucha is fascinating to me, but also a little scary! I'm going to try to find some at the store, and see if we like it. I'm glad to be able to watch you start making it! Thanks for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop!

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  7. Jennifer, it is a little daunting, and I make a big mess every week when I start a new batch. The counter is sticky and I have so many empty jars to wash afterwards. But it's worth it.

    I second your idea of tasting it from the store first to see if you like it. I've found that my own home-brewed kombucha is milder than what's in the store, and also that I haven't yet gotten that much fizz in my own.

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  8. We LOVE making kombucha! We have found that the large jars with the spigots make for easier decanting and refilling each week... Thank you for sharing your adventures with us on the Art of Home-Making Mondays :)

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  9. Thank you, Jes. I saw of those jars on clearance sale recently but since I didn't know if it would work well or not I didn't get one. I think I might now, if there are any left at the store.

    Thank you for visiting. I'm glad that there are so many who have gone down this kombucha path before me so that they can share their wisdom!

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  10. This is something that I have been thinking about, thank you for the insight and I look forward to further updates. Thanks for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

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  11. Terri, hopefully my experiences will convince you to give it a try. :-)

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  12. I'm so very curious, but I just haven't jumped in yet. lol Thanks for the info!

    Thanks again for linking up with Green Thumb Thursday. I hope you'll join us this week!

    Lisa

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  13. I also make mine in grolsch bottles as well although I do also use empty plastic bottles in a pinch and think they hold more fizz. My favourite flavour is ginger matchsticks (skin on) honey and lemon juice.

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  14. I'm going to buy some swing-top bottles, I think I'll get more fizz that way. How much ginger/honey/lemon juice do you use, Therese? It sounds delicious.

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  15. You can adjust to your personal taste but to a single serve 200-300ml bottle I add about 4-6 pieces of ginger cut into matchsticks skin on. I read somewhere that the skin helps develop more fizz. About 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and 1-2 teaspoons of honey. I've tried berries and other flavours of juices but now days I stick to plain and ginger. We are a household of 7 and everyone drinks Kombucha so I make quite large quantities. I use a mix of English breakfast tea and green tea. Green tea is also supposed to increase fizziness. I use one of those large glass drink decanters with the tap on the bottom. that way I don't have to mess around with taking the scoby out all the time. I just decant leaving enough kombucha in the bottom to start the next batch and empty and clean when the sediment builds up too much.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Therese. I've been peeling the ginger! I'll stop doing that. This is the next flavor I'll try, it sounds delicious.

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  16. I was really interested to read your post, Kathi. I've heard of kombucha and seen it in stores but been hesitant to try it because I was worried about the taste and how I might react to it. I feel very encouraged to give it a go. I'll be interested to read how you get on with making your own! Thank you so much for sharing this post with us at the Hearth and Soul Hop.

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  17. April, I felt the same way. Why not buy a bottle from the store to see how you like it. My home-brewed kombucha isn't as strong or as bubbly as the bottles I bought at the store, so keep that in mind.

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