My little experiment has begun!
Researching kombucha recipes online, I found that the suggested ratio is eight tea bags to one gallon of water, with one cup of sugar dissolved in. Of course, I can never leave well enough alone and had to tweak the recipe; in order to mask some of the vinegary taste, I prepped my kombucha last night by using ten tea bags and brewing extra strong Earl Grey tea in a plastic pitcher. <While this may be a “well-duh” for most of you, I have shattered a glass pitcher by pouring hot tea over ice. That wasn’t a fun mess to clean up, and the moment was filed in my “never do this again” memory bank.>
After steeping for about 20 minutes, I removed the tea bags and strained the loose tea from the bottom of the pitcher because of the freaking tea bag that bust open while I was tearing off the paper tags. <Grr.> Next, while the tea was still hot, I stirred in a cup of pure cane sugar. After several hours, the tea was cool enough to pour into the gallon and a half glass jar. Ensuring that all of the sugar had been completely dissolved, I gave the tea another stir.
Because the SCOBY is a living culture, I wanted to make sure the tea was completely cooled to room temperature before adding. Leaving the tea on the kitchen counter, I put the lid on and went to bed. First thing this morning before work, I removed the lid and whisked the tea vigorously to incorporate air back into it. The result: a beautiful, dark Earl Grey tea with a foamy head! <Why am I all of a sudden craving a Guinness!?>
Next, I added the “mother”. Opening the package, I got a whiff of vinegar, or a sauerkraut-like odor. The SCOBY looked like something that used to grow on my sister’s bedside table when she left glasses of beverages sitting there for days. It was round and solid, with a liquid surrounding it. I poured the SCOBY in and smiled at the satisfactory “plop” it made when dropped in the tea.
Various recipes stated to cover the tea, but with a piece of cheesecloth to ensure proper air flow. I didn’t have a piece of cheesecloth, so I used a sheer apron to cover the top, and tied the apron strings around the lip of the glass jar to hold it in place.
My sister gifted me some stick-on chalkboard labels for Christmas a couple of years ago. <Their worth is immeasurable for an organizing, anal-retentive person like myself. I highly suggest them!> I stuck one on the outside of the jar and marked the date. The kombucha is supposed to ferment for one to four weeks, with the best results in a room between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. I chose our upstairs pantry because <a> the temperature in this room will be ideal for my kombucha, and <b> every time I need something out of my pantry, I can visit my little experiment!
More kombucha updates to follow…