|Homemade Fizzy Kombucha
I failed somewhat in trying to grow my own SCOBY from a bottle of store-bought GT Unflavoured Raw Kombucha. I don't think I had the right ph balance and I never got anything beyond a translucent scoby that was a few millimetres thin. When I found out that a local shop was selling scobies I practically went there the next day. Interestingly, there was a kombucha workshop running that day but I didn't stay for it. I knew what I wanted and after purchasing some other supplies (at a pretty reasonable price!) I went home to try and make my own kombucha.
I bought a scoby, a plastic mesh strainer and 6 bottles for the 2nd fermentation stage. I knew that I would not be drinking kombucha after the 1st stage only because I love fizz. The fizzier the better in fact. The Homesteaders Emporium, though on the seedier side of Vancouver, is a treasure trove of very nifty things at a reasonable price. I wanted to buy a whole bunch of stuff but promised myself to come back another time...the make-your-own-sake was intriguing. They sell chicken coops, bee-keeping supplies, candle and soap-making equipment, fermented foods ingredients and supplies and so much more. I was in do-it-yourself heaven.
|a healthy scoby, with approximately 1 cup of kombucha starter comes in the mason jar that I purchased from Homesteaders Emporium.
I immediately made my 1st batch of kombucha with the oolong tea using the following recipe. I scaled it down to fit my glass container. Besides, I only had 6 small-ish glass bottles for the 2nd fermentation process so didn't want to go crazy making too much. I wanted to see if it would work and taste good.
KOMBUCHA RECIPE from Cultures of Health.
Just follow the link and you'll find a video and instructions on how to make your first batch of kombucha. This will result in a flat drink. If you want fizzy, you'll have to go through a 2nd fermentation. In my opinion there is no point in making kombucha unless you're going to make it fizzy!
Ingredient Ratios for Making Different Amounts of Kombucha
For my purposes, I used 7 cups of hot water to 1/2 cup sugar. I used Chinese oolong loose leaf tea. After cooling, I added the mason jar's contents. I poured in the starter tea which amounted to about a cup. Then I carefully slid the scoby to float on the top of the kombucha. I covered with a paper towel and then an elastic to hold it in place. I aged my kombucha for 2 weeks before I did the 2nd step. I will be honest and admit that I never did taste it before I actually started the 2nd fermentation process. I just had faith it would turn out okay. And it did. What's great is that I do my kombucha making on weekends when I have time off work. This works with my schedule.
|Day 2, 2nd fermentation with grape juice and kombucha. See that little scoby? it looked like a mini jelly fish growing and it creeped me out a bit but then I realized that this was a good sign that the fizziness was going to happen!
So I decided to play it safe and on the first round of making fizzy kombucha, I went with a commercial grape juice. It was Welch's grape juice and I knew that my kids would drink the rest of the bottle because frankly, I'm not a big bottled juice drinker. Because I have a Kuvings whole slow juicer I can make my own cold-pressed juices so down the road I envision experimenting with all sorts of different juices.
2ND FERMENTATION PROCESS:
1. Sterilize your swing-lid glass bottles. Mine were .25L (1 cup) which is way smaller than I wanted, but it's all I could find at the time at the emporium. I have saved 1 litre swing-top bottles from french lemonade I bought as well as old prosecco and sparkling cider bottles too.
2. Use a silicone funnel and pour in your juice or add fruit pieces to the empty sterilized bottles.
I will add here that I made a fortuitous mistake during the 2nd fermentation process. I poured 4 ounces (that's 1/2 cup) of grape juice in the bottoms of each of the .25L fermentation bottles (that's 1 cup for you Imperial Measure Americans). Next time, I think I'll just add 2 oz. Anyway, 4 oz is way more juice to kombucha ratio than I've seen mentioned everywhere else on all sorts of other sites. Besides this, for my 1 cup bottles, it worked out perfectly. I just had enough kombucha to top up the bottles and then saved some as starter to make my next batch. I didn't realize my mistake until everything was already capped. So I kind of just went with it. I tasted the kombucha on the 2nd day of fermentation and it tasted more grape juice-ish than kombucha-ish. I thought logically that I would need to ferment longer since I have more sugars in the fruit juice for my little yeastie organisms to chow down on. Theoretically, I was hoping for more fizz as a result of giving those little beasts more sugar to feed on. So I waited a good 2 weeks before putting those bottles in the refrigerator. I was terribly afraid of exploding bottles and so I checked on one bottle several times during the 2nd fermentation process and just kept the other bottles sealed and in a box covered with a kitchen towel at room temperature hoping with fingers crossed that everything would be okay. And it was.
3. When your kombucha is ready, refrigerate the fizzy fruit-flavoured kombucha in your fermentation bottles until ready to drink. This slows down the fermentation process. I didn't pop a bottle until after about 1 week post-refrigeration step. When I popped that lid, I heard the fantastic pressurized pop that indicated effervescence! It no longer tasted like grape juice but was very similar to the grape-flavoured GT kombucha that I buy sometimes.
4. Place a fine-mesh sieve over your glass and pour your kombucha through it to strain out the ooglie bits...and enjoy.
On a hot day like today after work, it sure hit the spot to drink a refreshing fizzy homemade kombucha. And in the long-run, I'll be thinking of a continuous brew system so stay tuned!