Friday, October 11, 2013

Troubleshooting Kombucha brewing and some unusual ideas for all those extra SCOBYs about to enter my life

I am completely in love with Kombucha, possibly to the point of mild obsession.  It's just so darn tasty!

I've made a few batches from the Kombucha mother I got from Wells of Health (who have been totally awesome about replacing the viili culture.  I'll definitely be buying more from them in the future), and the first thing I learned is that it doesn't always go right.  But that's okay, because every time you finish brewing one batch of Kombucha, you have what you need to make two more.  I can most definitely see the advantage of having more than one batch on the go at any time, even if it's just a small back up tucked away in some obscure spot of the house, that you change up every couple of months.

Here's an example of why a back up tea is a good idea:

These two 6 cup kombucha brews were started at the same time.

This first one used the original SCOBY, which is a bit over a quarter inch thick.  Only 11 days old, and it is growing a nice layer on top of the tea.  It smells great, but a bit sweet still, so I'll wait a while before harvesting it.

Started the same day, but using a smaller kombucha mother (another term for kombucha SCOBY), it doesn't seem to be doing anything.  The smell is still like sweet tea.  About three days ago, I added a tiny bit of SCOBY (that spontaneously formed in a bottle of Kombucha I was drinking at the time) and some more starter tea... only now it seems to be growing something, but what it is growing...I'm not too sure.

I declare this second batch a kitchen failure, thank goodness the first batch is so healthy.

Both of these made a total of 6 cups, I used 3 tsp of loose black tea, brewed till cold, just under 1/2 cup sugar, and 3/4 cup of starter.

Both made the same, yet they are so different!  So I did some reading.  This is my favourite site for troubleshooting kombucha, I suspect what happened is that I didn't let the second batch cool enough before adding the kombucha mother and starter tea.  Or maybe, the mother I used wasn't thick enough, or maybe, the brew I added as a starter wasn't acidic enough.  Could have been any number of things, but thankfully I have a back up on the go.

I'm having a great time brewing (and drinking) Kombucha, and it won't be long before I have more SCOBY than I know what to do with.  That's why I wanted to share with you this video:

It's about using kombucha mothers to create clothing and sculpture and other exciting possibilities.  When dried, it has a texture a bit like leather.  Only problem is, it's not rain fact it starts to decompose with body moisture.  But I like the idea of using this, and I have an idea brewing in the back of my mind that I want to try.

Like I said before, brewing your own kombucha is an affordable way to get some probiotics and other healthy things in your gut.  It's also vegan friendly.  Clothing made from it would also be vegan friendly, but I wonder if you would start smelling like tea or vinegar if you wore it too long... or if instead, kombucha clothing has beneficial side effects for your skin.

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