DIY Kombucha (a.k.a. Kathryn Tries to Find a Hobby)
If we are being ~technical~ here, this fermentation journey is actually my second hobby, considering that I value my collection of sheet masks a valid one. My therapist disagrees with me on this one. Anyways, let's get into the science behind your newfound ability to refuse $10 bottles from Plein Air.
Step 1: The Basics of Fermentation
Kombucha is a lightly fermented beverage, championed for its health benefits (namely, stimulation of the immune system, boosting libido, and reversal of gray hair, according to Wikipedia). You'll be sure to find it lining the shelves of your local Whole Foods or bougier coffee shop establishment, clocking in at a very pretty penny.
All this fermented goodness arises from the SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast for all you technical friends) or the mother of kombucha. This mushroom, magical squishy thing can be easily procured on Amazon (I did this with no complaints!).
For some more thorough information, check out these beginner videos from Brothers Green Eats:
Step 2: Copious Patience
It's a virtue after all (although, probiotic beverage crafts were potentially not the area Plato's Good refers to). The first round of fermentation gets your sugar, tea, and SCOBY interacting, allowing sucrose to be broken down into the final gluconic acid and acetic acid and allowing for the production of enzymes and amino acids, polyphenols, and various other organic acids that are found in the drink. Let your bottle hang around for about a week, open to air and undisturbed.
Step 3: Secondary Fermentation (and more copious patience)
This is where things get ~fizzy~. By rebottling in an airtight container, removing the SCOBY (save this though for next time!), and mixing with some blended fruit or fruit chunks (try ginger for my favorite), the CO2 formed from the fermentation from added fruit sugar carbonates the kombucha, creating that "healthy soda" nickname. This will take a couple days, again undisturbed but this time sealed lids (I recommend these bottles). Be careful to occasionally pop the lids so that no bottles burst - this gas build up is a powerful thing!
Step 4: Filtration
You're almost there! You'll want to filter the finalized kombucha through a sieve or some cheesecloth to remove any remaining fruit bits or SCOBY remains so that your drink is smooth!
Step 5: Enjoyment! Bliss! Satisfaction at Your Accomplishments!
Congrats! You've done it! Pour some of that sweet, probiotic filled goodness over some ice and enjoy! Best kept in the fridge to stop further fermentation.
Featured image via.