I want to brew kombucha! I don’t really care for the mystical “health benefits”, and I am yet to appreciate the taste of the tea. What has really drawn me in is the process behind making kombucha. I first got hooked on the idea of making my own while watching the Home Pro Cooks video on brewing bottles and bottles of kombucha from one store-bought bottle. Naturally, I then binge-watched every video I could get my hands on about the topic. Highlights include the It’s Alive! video from Bon Appétit, and the video of a guy necking a HUGE glass of the stuff in one go. Gnarly stuff.
I want to make my own!
The first step is to source all of the essential equipment. The first purchase was jar to brew the booch in. I ordered a gallon jar from Amazon for about £13. When it arrived, I was a bit confused about the size of it as it was about 2.5 litres, and I thought a gallon is 4.5 litres. Living in a metric system bubble, I have no idea who is right or wrong here.
Another essential purchase was the SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), which I also ordered from Amazon for around £8. This came pretty quickly and was contained in several sealed bags with some starter tea. The first thing to notice when you unpack this is how the vinegary smell gets more and more potent as you unpack each layer. This is a great sign! It means the scoby is strong and rearing to go, giving us a great acidic starter for our sweet tea. The other thing to note is the texture of it. Whenever I saw pictures or videos of the scoby, I thought it looked absolutely horrible. There was no way I would want to touch it, let alone drink something made from it. However, the scoby that arrived was actually quite nice and was surprisingly firm when holding it. I was expecting something gooey and gross, but the real thing was quite pleasant.
Other things I bought include funnels, brewing bottles and a measuring jug for preparing the kombucha. It is also important to buy tea and sugar, as without those you will not brew anything. The total cost so far has come to around £35. This is the equivalent of around 12 store-bought bottles of kombucha, which this set up will make up for within a month.
So I have prepared everything, made my tea and added the scoby to it. However, the next day I find that it is simply too cold, not even registering a temperature on the thermometer strip. I am worried that the fermentation process will struggle. It is only September, but the house where I live in Bath already gets incredibly cold, as most houses here do. Rather than heating the entire house up to tropical temperatures, I decided the easiest solution was to buy a heat belt for the jar. The belt uses a small amount of energy to heat the kombucha and is apparently prefered to using a heat mat as that causes yeast growth to go into overdrive. That brings my total spend up to around £55. Hopefully, this investment is worth it and will yield some great booch!
It is time to put the brew away in a dark, cosy place, and leave it to ferment until next week. Let’s hope that I will be writing a positive update soon!