About Me

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How to Brew Kombucha Like a Rock Star!

        One whole batch of Kombucha mixed with organic fruit juice and double fermented. 

I experimented over many months to find the perfect balance of brewing kombucha. I found a way to brew a delicious beverage that is sweet, fruity, and really bubbly once bottled, just how I like it!

These instructions may look daunting, but once you've done it for the first time, you'll have it down! It's easier than it looks!

What you need:

A SCOBY (A Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast)
A little bit of Kombucha tea from the previous brew (I also got this from the lady who gave me the SCOBY) (or apple cider vinegar)
A one gallon glass jar (it must be glass, anything else can damage the SCOBY) I use the ones with a spout on the bottom, which makes it really easy to bottle the kombucha.
8 Tea bags (black, green, oolang, white tea, just not anything herbal or with oils in it. Different teas will make it taste differently, too.) per 4 quarts of water.

A non metal spoon (again...SCOBY's are sensitive - no metal)
Apple Cider Vinegar

How to Brew:

Boil a little bit less than 4 quarts of water.
Add 8 tea bags
Steep tea 
Dissolve 2 cups of sugar while tea is still hot. (Sugar is what the culture eats. The more food, the faster it eats. During the summer, add less sugar unless you want kombucha batches coming out of your ears. In the winter, add more sugar to get it moving along faster.)
Let tea cool to room temperature (too hot or too cold will harm the scoby)
Pour tea into glass container with scoby and starter kombucha. 
Stir vigorously with a plastic or wooden spoon to distribute the culture.
Cover container with coffee filter or paper towel and rubber band.
Set in a relatively warm environment (~68 degrees. The warmer it is, the faster it will grow/brew. Room temperature is best. During the summer, place in a cool place, in the winter, place in a warm environment.)
Do not place in direct sunlight. 

How to know when it's done. 

It will take 5-7-9 days. I like mine milder so I usually do 6-7 days. The longer you brew, the more vinegar-y it tastes but also the less sugar there is and the more probiotics there are. We once left one for 2 weeks and it was gross but still drinkable...if you like that kind of thing.

Basically, after 6 days, if you like the way it tastes, you can stop there. That's what the spigot on a glass jar is handy for - tasting it from day to day. It's totally safe to just drink like this too. You can just pour a glass from this every day and never have to mess with bottles. You don't get bubbles or fruit flavor though, it's just raw. 

How to bottle it:

When you're done brewing, fill a large container or measuring cup full of the kombucha using the spigot on the glass jar. The spigot keeps the scoby from being handled and contaminated. It also keeps the culture fibers out of your drink.

Remember to leave a little bit of the kombucha in the brewing container to help out the next batch. I usually stop when I've drained to the spigot level.

How to double ferment with fruit juice - get carbonation BUBBLES!!:

Mix 50/50 fruit juice with kombucha and pour into bottles that can be air tight. Those latch-sealed brewing bottles work great, as do empty glass bottles with wine corks in them. Or wine bottles...whatever you want. 

Make sure to leave them at room temperature. 

Be SURE to release the gas every day so you don't get an explosion. One of my corks popped out in the middle of the night and ricocheted off the cabinet and scared the bejeezus out of me. Also, I forgot about one of the latch-sealed ones for about 2 weeks and almost went deaf when the air came whooshing out by my ear. 

The cultures in the kombucha will feed on the fruit juice sugar and in the absence of air, makes carbonation. If you don't want bubbles, you can just mix with juice and bottle them in a non air tight bottle in the fridge. Also, as long as you keep re corking the bottles, it will just keep fermenting as you drink it. It never DIES! Bwahahaha. 

You should be left with a smooth, bubbly, slightly tangy beverage similar to store bought 

If you have any questions at all, I would be MORE than willing to help you out! It takes a while to get things down but I've done most of that and put it here to make it easier for you to begin! 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sea Glass Mobile

I have been planning to do this for quite some time with my bigger, less finished pieces of sea glass. It is, to date, my absolute favorite thing I have made and it brings me such joy every time I see it spinning in the sunshine. It was really easy to make, I just hot glued pieces of sea glass to fishing line and tied them to a piece of driftwood.

I love how bright the green ones are in the sun!