IF EVER THERE WAS A SIGNIFIER THAT YOU’RE A THOROUGHLY 21st Century type of dude, surfing the zeitgeist like a pro, then making your own kombucha is it.
I’d seen a bottle in a supermarket a couple of years ago and given it a try, being quite underwhelmed by the pop-vinegar experience. I wasn’t keen to go back a second time, but would read lots about people making their own and how good it is for you.
I work with a chap who is one of those shining examples of what a healthy lifestyle can do for a middle-aged man. He glides round the office on a fluffy cloud of probiotics, offering his (fucking delicious) protein balls around, does hot yoga, karate…you know the kind of thing. He’s a bit of a fermented food evangelist – well, he would be – and gave me the inside scoop on kombucha and its benefits. He also showed me how easy it is to make and then gave me the SCOBY.
It’s now coming up to a year later and I’m still making it every week. I don’t bother with the second ferment and flavouring, but just have a sploosh every day in my muesli smoothies. This, I find, is much more pleasant than drinking it as a drink. Also, I understand it can be a bit harsh on the old tooth enamel, and at my age…
The good thing about making your own is that it is cheap. You don’t need to go out any buy loads of specialist equipment or supplies. My total ‘kit’ consists of:
Large coffee plunger (a few bucks from Big W)
Small plastic funnel
Pop-top glass bottles ($2 each from Big W)
The total ingredients are:
Green or black tea
Honey or sugar
All you do is make a large pot of sweet tea. Wait for it to cool, then add the SCOBY and a sploosh of your previous batch, cover it and leave it for a week to ten days.
When it’s ready, you get a lovely home-brew, yeasty smell from it. You just put the SCOBY to one side, decant it (straining it if you want), and add the SCOBY to the next batch. Easy.
Each time you make a brew, your SCOBY will grow a layer, so you just throw the top layer (the ‘mother’ in the compost).
And it’s forgiving – my SCOBY has survived through the hottest of Adelaidian summers and coolest of winters, doesn’t mind if it brews for a few days more than usual, because I don’t get round to making the next batch, or if the ingredients are a bit over or under.
I recently had a commercially-produced bottle, (this, here) – which overwhelmingly tasted of artificial sweetener and was really rather unpleasant. Made me realise, actually, how good my home made stuff is.