When you hear “kombucha,” you may think of health-minded hipsters, bacteria and large glass bottles holding colorful, bubbling concoctions…and you’d be right! I had the same ideas about it in my mind before I learned about this unique drink, and while they’re all true to an extent, there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye.
Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage made with probiotic bacteria. It’s a living drink! It’s flavor is as broad as your imagination: it can be as simple as its base ingredients (tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast), or you can make it your own by adding juice, spices or fruit. It’s easy to make at home, so I tried brewing some myself!
The only part I found slightly difficult was gathering supplies. I was unsure whether to buy a kit or get materials individually, so I called my friend, who ferments all sorts of stuff, from mead to hot sauce. She recommended a starter kit to see how I like it, and so the “hard” part was done! My materials arrived days later: a 1-gallon jar, a cheesecloth, sugar, tea and the all-important SCOBY, or “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.” It was a large orange-brown disc that sat in the tea I brewed, feeding on the tea over the next week and a half, fermenting it into kombucha while also creating baby SCOBYs I could use for future brews.
On the ninth day of fermentation, I had my gallon of kombucha, and all I had to do was let it sit and do its thing! The flavor was tangy but not too strong, and it had some light bubbling, somewhere between tea and soda. All in all it went really well. I’m excited to get experimenting with flavor additions in future brews!