Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Kombucha Project

Kombucha. Kombu, meaning mushroom, and Cha, meaning tea. Kombucha is fermented mushroom beverage which has become increasingly popular. There are no "mushrooms" in the tea, but rather a mushroom-like SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast).

After deciding that I wish to make my own kombucha, I brewed up a strong pot of Peach Phoenix Dancong Oolong to be the base of the tea. I then added a decent amount of vegan raw cane sugar (~1 cup), extra spring water, and half a bottle of GT's Raw Organic Kombucha Original Flavor. Total contents are about 1 Gal.

My hopes are that I will be able to grow my own SCOBY, which looks like a large rubber disc. Because the kumbucha that I added was raw, it contains small chunks of culture (which are naturally occuring). This should be enough culture to begin the creation of my own kumbucha drink. (notice the snot looking culture.)

Kumbucha can take anywhere from 1 week to a month to be produced, which is dependent on starting cultures, desired taste and brewing conditions. Since I don't have a SCOBY, and my climate is cold, I anticipate my kombucha to take around 3-5 weeks to form. I keep my apartment around 62 F, and kombucha prefers 70-80 F.

Day1: Dancong is very sweet with the addition of cane sugar, very pleasant, but tasted only as a point of reference. Small chunks of kombucha culture float near the surface. As the weeks progress, the sugar should be converted to bacteria and yeast, and a bit of alcohol.


Day 3: Smells of Kombucha waft in the vicinity of my brewing jug. A very good sign. If you are unfamiliar with the smell of kombucha, it is a bit like apple cider vinegar and champagne. Around the rim of the brewing jug are multiple attachment sites where culture chunks have been established. Happy progress.