I will happily admit that I have had some fun playing around for my little photo shoot here Having me call my refreshingly DELICIOUS, fermented, apple-cider-tasting kombucha drink a “cocktail”, IS a little tongue in cheek, I’ll grant you – not to mention me dressing it up that way for the camera! Yet in the very loosest sense of the word, this really IS a cocktail of sorts and one that, rather than leave you with a hangover, will instead boost your immune system, deeply nourish and detox your body and populate your intestines with the kinds of allies you need to have living in there for succulent vitality. It has even been said to be the elixir for longevity, so I say why NOT raise a slinky glass of it in toast to good health and slip a wee umbrella in there for celebratory good measure?!
Kombucha is basically an unpasteurized probiotic drink that is dairy free. Being unpasteurised means the good things within it are not killed off by any processing at high temperatures. Being non-dairy, not made from grain and different to kefir or yoghurts that have live cultures added to them, means that it offers a different type of probiotic gift to my digestion – great, because variety is what I am after for optimum gut health. Brewing my own has been my first experiment in a new MangoCheeks series that deals with my juicy edible adventures with making raw, fermented, probiotic foods and drinks. (You can learn more about this series and why I am doing it, by visiting Bubbling Brews, Fizzy Ferments And Cultured Curds – A Kitchen-Alchemy Series To Give You More LifeForce! You can also catch up on Part 1 of the kombucha experiment by clicking From Magical ‘Mushroom” To Delicious, Health-Giving, Sparkling Drink – Making Kombucha: Part 1)
So welcome now, to Part 2 of my adventure with this fizzy brew – and the photo story of what actually happened to my experiment after its fermenting time was up. Sit comfy and enjoy the show!
The Bottling of Kombucha
Woah! As you can see, the original “mother” kombucha inside the pot has been busy these past 3 weeks, growing a new “baby” scoby on the surface of the tea liquid. Looks a little like porridge in a pot from one of the fairy tales I used to love as a kid. No oats in here though! The original “mother’ (aka the ”tea beast”) that birthed this “baby” one, is suspended somewhere underneath!
Step 2: prodding the “baby” down to do my first ever taste-test……..
I must admit I’m not without a little trepidation at the prospect of doing my first little taste test. The smell coming from the pot is the most vinegar-like that it has been the whole brewing time, so I figure my brew must pretty much be ready and yet I don’t really know what to expect. I mean, imagine looking at something, knowing it’s technically “alive” and seeing that it looks slimy – and then you have to push it down a bit on one side, to release some of the liquid up! Yep – I’m surprised Gordy isn’t getting camera-shake from peeing himself laughing at me! At first I give it a timid little nudge and it doesn’t move. So then I apply a bit more pressure. It gives instantly with one half of it dipping under the surface – giving rise to this photo and me doing huge squeals screeches as I jump back in a reflex-action. (What on earth am I expecting it to do – jump out at me?!) The liquid tastes very faintly of apple juice with still a bit of sweetness and just a slight fizz. I am actually after only a very faint sweetness, which means at this stage, the brew is not quite ready. Cover on again. Leave for three more days. By then, the smell is more like apple cider than apple juice and the taste is only faintly sweet yet not yet full-on vinegar – PERFECT. Time to bottle!
I push down further now, on the top “baby” kombucha, to get her on some kind of angle in the pot so that I can get a grip of her to pull her out. You can see in this photo that for me, there were TWO new babies here on the surface of this liquid– the second one grew in the 3 day gap that followed the initial taste-test I had done where I had pushed that first baby down a bit to taste the juice. Obviously my “mother” and my first “baby” are very very happy in my brewing pot and I have a success!
When it’s your first go ever, it’s not as simple to pull her out as you might think – but it’s a lot of fun! She is alive, so I go carefully in order to treat her with ‘respect”. At the same time though, I’m going carefully because there is nothing really to grip onto, given that she is shiny and slippery!
You will see that part of the original mother culture (the darker thinner bit hanging off) is sticking to the bottom of the first baby kombucha. Now it is time to fish out the original “mother” from the brewing vessel!
Et Voila – the original mother! Now isn’t she clever to have produced such fine offspring?! I place her in the original glass jar she came to me in.
Strain into a plastic bowl, using a plastic sieve (remember, no metal anywhere)
Step 8: bottling the liquid – and taking care of the “mother” and “scoby’s”
I ladle the liquid brew into a pouring jug and then from there pour it in that way. I manage to get 2x 1 litre bottles filled and place into the fridge. They are ready for drinking now or when I want them – the longer they stay in the fridge the more vinegar-like they become and with that too, the probiotic effect just gets stronger.
Using some of the remaining liquid in the vessel, I take 1 cup to cover the original mother in her glass jar. Since on this ocassion I had TWO baby’s, I get one of them from the porcelain dish, put her in a new glass jar and use one more cup of the remaining liquid to cover her in there. Then I place both these glass jars out of sunlight, ready to give to friends who have asked. (I could have chosen to keep the original “mother” and give away the “baby” – no difference really).
Next up, I pour the remaining liquid from the pot back into my pouring jug temporarily, while I hand-wash said pot. Once washed, that brewing pot is ready to use for my next round of making kombucha, using the reserved liquid and the remaining baby starter (the one left in the porcelain dish) that I have chosen as the starter for the new brew.
It’s delicious – seriously! Try it for yourself – your inner child will have a blast and your guts may well thank you for it! Why swallow an expensive probiotic capsule when you can enjoy a tasty probiotic brew for peanuts, with the satisfaction of knowing you created it with next to no effort?
A note on dosage:
So far, I have drunk 125ml a day for two days running. I will continue this for the rest of the week and monitor how my body fares on it. The first week is when the body does it’s adjusting to the drink. I have already noticed some stomach gurgling and intestinal gas on day 2, which can be common in the first few days and then ought to stop. After this first week, I will have a rest for 2 or 3 days and then maybe partake again, this time increasing to 180ml a day for 2 days at a time, followed by a break of a few days. And so on, always monitoring my body. I don’t want to drink kombucha every day, as, like with most things, having a variety of things in moderation is key to good health. Besides which, I will be having lots of other probiotics to alternate with soon.
As with anything in life, do your own research and decide if kombucha is right for you before you proceed. As is sometimes the case with kefir too, kombucha can in some people, cause allergic reaction, so proceed with awareness. Trust your body and it’s wisdom. And if you proceed in kombucha-making, enjoy the fun and flavour!
**********FOR MORE MANGOCHEEKS ADVENTURES, GO TO THE “ADVENTURES” PAGE AND SCROLL DOWN – ALTERNATIVELY, VISIT THE ARCHIVES SECTION THERE. HAPPY READING!************