The first time I tried kombucha I was 99.5% sure someone had mislabeled the bottle and it was actually a glass of “seltzer freshly marinated in a vat of old socks.”
This initial taste test was about six years ago, so I’d like to say my taste buds have matured, but I think I was just one of those “you grow to like it” kind of things. Actually, kind of like a kombucha culture, I’ve grown and grown (and have little brown stringy things attached to me) and now I don’t know if I could love it any more.
I traveled across the U.S. this summer picking up native kombucha in almost every state my tires crossed. I loved how regional fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices were used to make the brews unique and filled with local love. I knew what I had to do: it was time to brew my own.
Let’s back up a second. Even though I’ve been guzzling kombucha from the Pacific to the Atlantic many of you might not be familiar with it. Kombucha is a bubbly fermented drink made with black or green tea. It’s rich in antioxidants, vitamins, acids, and probiotics, making it a powerful immunity booster and detoxifier. It’s more exciting and nutritious that seltzer, but far less sugary than soda.
The Kombucha Shop is a home brewing supply company based in Madison, WI. They take the work out of brewing and provide you with supplies and simple instructions on how to brew your ‘booch from start to finish. I was a total n00b and managed to turn out a great batch. If I can do it, you can do it!
The kombucha brewing kit (available online) includes:
- 1 gallon brew jar with lid
- organic kombucha culture and starter tea
- organic sugar
- organic tea blend by Rishi Tea (outta MKE!)
- reusable cotton tea bag
- temperature strip
- cotton cover & rubberband
- pH test strips
- pipet straw
Those step by step instructions are awesome. They take all of the guess work out (plus, the pH strips gave me peace of mind that I wasn’t drinking some unsafe-to-drink concoction gone wrong). I brewed the tea it up, added the culture, and let it live on my kitchen cupboard for about two weeks and then I was ready to drrrrank it up. Mine turned out really well, but I wish I had opted to add some fruity flavor to it! Adding fruit once it’s nice and tart keeps the fermentation process going and makes it NICE and fizzy. I already have another rotation of brewing scheduled for tomorrow!