Monday, January 21, 2008

Kombucha

Edit: Due to popular demand, I will explain what Kombucha actually IS. Kombucha is a fermented tea made from a knarly looking SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) that floats in sugared tea, converting its various components into various other components, including CO2, vinegar and the tiniest bit of alcohol. I'll post a picture of mine soon. But I think it's dead :(

I got my Kombucha culture from my friend Siena's brother, Noah. I carried it on the subway from his apartment in Brooklyn in a little glass jar, rather amused to be sitting on the train with my little container of slime, unbeknownst to my fellow passengers. I managed to get the SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) back to West Philly, where I brewed my first batch.

Then the winter came, and the house became too cold for Kombucha to thrive. So I neglected the thing--didn't feed it, just left it sitting in a cabinet with my apple cider vinegar experiment.

When it came time to pack up and move west to Santa Fe, the jar of Kombucha went into the box with my houseplants and came with (the vinegar, which tasted like dirty socks, did not). During a pit stop in Austin, I divided the SCOBY and left some with my new friend Zack, and decided to give my own culture a fresh food supply. The liquid tasted like pure vinegar at that point, so I tossed most of it and left a little to get the new batch started.

Now that I'm settled into my new home in Santa Fe, I've been paying better attention to my Kombucha culture. Hopefully in a few days I'll have a drinkable batch...

How I make my Kombucha:

-Preserve 2 cups or so of liquid from the previous batch
-Add sweet tea (I use black tea with 1.5 cups of sugar dissolved into it)
-Let sit covered with a handkerchief or cheesecloth until it tastes like Kombucha!
(hint: use a container with a spout on the bottom so that you can easily decant the finished product)

The best way to get a SCOBY of your own is to find a friend who has one. Make sure you like the way their Kombucha tastes--a neglected SCOBY might yield nasty tasting brew. You can also order SCOBY online.

No comments: