I have been so excited… three weeks after hiding my first batch of kombucha in a dark cupboard I can finally unveil it! In addition to excited, I was very. very nervous. What if I messed up the preparation? What if I didn’t steep the tea for long enough? What if it tasted awful? What if it got contaminated? What if it fell off the shelf… all by itself?!?
Turns out there was absolutely nothing to worry about. It was fairly straight forward (although some preparation is required) and it actually tastes amazingly amazing, without flavoring – probably thanks to the magical oolong tea I used, from the northeast tea provinces of Taiwan (Yilan County) courtesy of my sister-in-law.
I’m not going to rewrite the instructions but I really liked the Kombucha Mama site for step-by-step directions and a load of other useful information.
The first thing you need to do is to organize your first SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeasts). They’re fascinating things that produce many types of yeast, bacteria, organic acids, active enzymes, amino acids, and polyphenols and have many purported health benefits.
You can buy your first one online from heaps of places or get one from a friend – I owe a huge thanks to my wonderful friend and celebrity chef extraordinaire David Miller for my first SCOBY, and he recommended Kombucha Brooklyn for all things kombucha-related (I have a load of stuff en route form there), but you may find somewhere more local.
Here’s my first SCOBY – it ain’t pretty but it’s very cool. It was a lot thicker and harder than I expected and had to use my most serous knife to cut it in half for storage… I used one half in a new batch but need to buy some more tea before I can use the other half… yes, the ongoing process of kombucha brewing will require some planning!
I have flavored a few bottles so will share the recipes in a few weeks after the second fermenting if they turn out to be edible : )
Happy ‘buching! Would love to hear about your experience, hints & tricks or flavor combos.