The Kombucha Experiment

I didn’t even know Kombucha was a thing until December when I was looking into starting sourdough baking again.  When I saw it on the Cultures for Health site, I made a mental note to go back later to see what it was all about.  Then a few weeks later, a friend was trying to pass on a few SCOBYs on Facebook, so I went back to the site and started doing more research.

Kombucha is a fermented tea that apparently offers many amazing health benefits, including for the liver, for joints, for digestion, and for building immunity.  It contains lots of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, antioxidants, as well as probiotics.  The lists of health benefits abound all over google.  According to the internet, it’s basically a super food!  Sounds good to me!

The way kombucha is made is kind of gross though.  Yeast and bacteria, contained in a gelatinous substance that multiplies (the SCOBY), ferments strong sweet tea for 7-30 days.  After the fermentation time, a kombucha drink is the result.  I was intrigued enough to give it a try, so my friend graciously sent me a SCOBY to get started.

I researched how to make kombucha, but admit that I felt a bit ill-prepared because there are a lot of different directions online.  I went with what I saw most consistently.  A half gallon of home-brewed sweet tea, a cup of already-fermented kombucha, and a SCOBY.  Fermenting kombucha is a fascinatingly disgusting process, in my opinion. During the 8 days I fermented my kombucha, I watched the SCOBY grow and even create a new baby SCOBY.  I watched strings of yeast grow and float in the tea.  Eeek.  All of these things are apparently good signs that the fermenting process is working correctly though.  So thumbs up!

Today I strained out all of the stringy stuff, as well as the SCOBYs, and set aside the kombucha needed to make my next batch.  And then I tasted the fruits of my labor.  The result was a slightly-sweet, slightly-vinegary, slightly bubbly, light and refreshing drink.  It wouldn’t be a drink I’d chose on purpose, but it’s pretty tasty if it really does everything the internet claims!  Of course there are lots of other websites that claim home-brewed kombucha can be contaminated and cause sickness too … so I guess I should proceed with caution.

I’ve already started brewing my second batch.  I’m cautiously optimistic.


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