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Kombucha experiments

For Christmas this year, I got a Kombucha making kit from my husband that he purchased through an awesome resource - The Kombucha Shop. I didn't get cranking right away, but once I did, I couldn't stop! And as those of you know that have gone before me in this, the scoby invasion is a big reason why!

Kombucha starts with the Scoby, a symbiotic culture of healthy bacteria and yeast, a gelatinous, cellulous biofilm that is also known as a "mushroom" as it resembles the top of a mushroom. Many other products start with a culture like this - vinegar, ginger beer, keifer, and my other most recent experiment, sourdough. Cultures are good for the gut, the immune system, brain health, and the overall health of the body - 3/4 of our immune system resides in the gut, and a healthy gut means a healthy body.

As you know from my many other experiments, research, and tinkerings, I love a good science project. So this was the ideal present for me! The full kit comes with everything you need to start brewing immediately, and even better, it's very simple: Brew tea, add sugar, let cool, add scoby, let "ripen" for 2 weeks, add flavors, drink, heal! Good stuff. But there's a little more for those who want to take the time to make it a science experiment as well  measuring, labeling, straining, documenting, and testing. So let's get to that!

pH: the pH of your body and of the kombucha are important topics. To have a proper landscape for health, the pH of your system should be alkaline vs. acidic. This goes for vinegar, keifer, and kombucha alike. Kombucha should ideally be between 2.5 and 3.5 to be of use to your gut, so the kit comes with pH testing strips that you dip into the liquid both after brewing the tea and after brewing your kombucha.

Sugar: The Kit comes with a cup of white sugar, which I used for my first batch but then swapped out for raw cane sugar because it's better on the body. I also tried the date sugar granules but they didn't dissolve well enough so I had to scrap that batch.

Tea: The Kit comes with standard black tea, but you can use any kind of tea and I prefer decaffeinated so I've tried my kombucha with decaf black and green teas, and plan on trying it with white and roibos in future batches. The funnest part of brewing kombucha for me is the tinkering  even though the basic recipe is the same, the recipe can be modified in its many different stages.

Flavors: The Kit comes with 6 flip top bottles (like Grolsch beer), but I purchased another 6 because I like to have many flavors and they keep for may weeks in the fridge. After the main brewing stage (12-20 days in the gallon jug with just tea, sugar, and scoby), you then transfer the 'buch into bottles, first filling the bottom of them with various fruits and herbs. So far, my favorite flavor has been apple cinnamon, but I've tried lemon ginger, blueberry, grapefruit, and chai, and the recipe book in the kit gives many more options as well (cucumber mint is one I plan to try in my next batch!).

Kombucha isn't a new concept - but it's new to many because the FDA ruling on the brewing and bottling of this "live culture" has recently changed, which has been what's brought it to the mainstream market so vigorously in the last 3-5 years. Once I started brewing, and subsequently posting my brews on social media, I had many "old timers" share their brewing history with me, and offer up advice.

The scoby should only be used 3-5 times before it loses its potency, but each time you brew, you get another fresh scoby, so you wind up with a collection of scobies, so that's what the community always offers to share. Often times you're throwing out more scobies that you can keep up with.

I love brewing based on the moon cycles, and always label it so I an keep track. I also love this bottle and how you can write the date, tea name, and any other notes on it. I always snap a picture - the pen it came with is wet erase and well, it's full of liquid so yeah, it tends to get smudged easily!

If you're a longtime reader you know I don't get income from recommending most of the products on here except 4 really awesome whole food concentrates, I just love referring people to really cool things, I love helping people NOT start from scratch and reinvent the wheel, and I love connecting! So if you like kombucha too, and have any ideas or products I should check out, comment below!

Have fun brewing!


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