Wild Fermentation: The Drinking Phase

Ready for flavor - SCOBY 1You know…. I really started this Kombucha project as a lark.

Jonathan and I often have a lot of random ideas and so I reckon this isn’t unusual for one of us (or both) to ride off in all directions – or just fly by the seat of our pants.

We gave this fermentation thing a go, having very little basis/knowledge on what I was doing. I feel this experiment came out well.  At least for a first yield.  Still there is a lot to learn, test, and improve.

Anyone who reads this and knows something helpful, or knows that I am doing something fundamentally wrong, I implore you to please guide me!  I am open to learning…. I am open to sharing different methods and hints…..

So following-up:  I grew a SCOBY Baby from scratch. Then, after a few weeks of the fermenting, we began the work of growing a SCOBY Mother. Both were successful!

After the SCOBY Mother was ready, it was time to go to the next step….. DRINKING IT!

Ready for flavor - SCOBY 2Doesn’t that look lovely!?!

I was very excited about getting to this stage! It was a little more fun as our Couchsurfer Claire  was in.  She was watching and learning about the process; she was interested in doing kombucha herself before she had even come to our house, and was cool to share the experience with her a bit.  It may be a bit of the blind leading the blind – but it was still a nice bonding experience.

Since I was experimenting, and there wasn’t much of the tea mixture to waste, I began to ready the items in the kitchen for this event!

First, I put water on the boil You need to replenish and re-feed the SCOBY and make more of the kombucha tea liquid, so repeating the recipe of water, green tea and sugar is important.

While that mixture sat and cooled on the stovetop, I began to create my flavors.

Jon & I save glass jars, bottles, and containers if they are hardy enough.  So I pulled out 4 different containers: 2 glass salsa jars, 1 small bouillon jar, and 1 old GT Kombucha bottle.  In 2 containers I put about 25-40% juice, in one mango & in the other one pineapple, and then filled the remaining up with the kombucha tea from the SCOBY Jar.  In the third, I cut up peeled slivers of fresh ginger root and added it into the yielded liquid.  Finally, in the fourth container, I threw a handful of blueberries into a bit of the liquid.

After sealing those containers up tight and putting them in the fridge, I added the now cooled green tea, water, and sugar mixture to the Kombucha Mother Jar.  Replenished and ready to go, I covered her back up and stuck her in her warm, dark corner.

Again, the worse part of Kombucha making is that after everything you do you have to wait…. Get excited, but must sit and wait.  However, once you flavor your kombucha, you only need wait 2-3 days.  This gives the kombucha time to take on the flavor, sugar, and any nutrients from whatever you added to it.

After sitting in the fridge a few days, I was excited to have a taste test.  Jon, myself, and our friend Paula each had a sampling.

The blueberry one didn’t do well. It wasn’t bad but it just wasn’t flavorful. It tasted like the original kombucha tea, with a little after taste of the blueberry skins. I think fancier wine people would call that tannin, but I am not a fancy vineyard vocabulary-ist.

The pineapple one was not bad – but the strong acidity of the pineapple juice, mixed with the bitter taste of the kombucha tea didn’t really put out the flavor we had hoped for. Not that refreshing of a drink.

So – as the first two were of disheartening results, I became nervous about how the remaining two would turn out….

The mango one… Great Heavenly Day!! This one was very, very good! The juice was sweet enough in flavor to mix well with the bitter of the kombucha tea.  It was yummy, tasty, delicious, and nutritious! Mango has a high count of Vitamins and Minerals (Vitamins C, A, B6, Magnesium & Potassium), and it is a great antioxidant.  This one was fantastic!

Finally, we came to the ginger one….. Jumping Jehoshaphat!! This one was the absolute best!  It was just so brilliantly good.  A little spicy, citrusy, and overall wonderful. The health benefits of ginger root alone are magnificent  but added in with the benefits of the kombucha – Whoa! Powerful Good Stuff.

Of the three taste testers, all having different taste-buds and interests, ginger was the unanimous winner.  Mango was second runner up, and we all gave an overwhelming “Meh” vote to the pineapple.  Sadly for the blueberries, no one liked them.

Soon, I will be making a larger batch of the mango and the ginger kombucha.  I need to now learn/sort out how to make the kombucha “fizzier” and think about starting another  SCOBY MOTHER from my original Baby… or share that SCOBY Baby with someone else….. hmm… decisions, decisions….

I look forward to this second batch and see if there is any improvements on taste, texture…. anything!   Stay tuned.

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