I tried brewing my own kombucha and now I feel more connected to the universe

Forget the boys, crack open a cold one with me

What kind of college student has an income that is expendable enough to fund a tendency to buy overpriced drinks? I fully enjoy trying different flavors and brands of kombucha. However, after a few years of buying bottle after bottle of the fizzy, fruity, but not too sweet drink, I realized that I’ve been doing it all wrong. You can make as much as your heart desires at home. And you won’t be paying half of your hourly wage every time you want to treat yourself. I tried out the entire process and after my first batch, I’m never going back.

SOS what am I getting myself into

SCOBY

Kombucha is made from just three ingredients: brewed tea, sugar to fuel the fermentation and a SCOBY. Major key alert, this last ingredient is what makes kombucha its distinctive self. SCOBY stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. It is a flat, squishy disk that is slightly off-putting to touch and look at. Because it is a live culture, the drink contains probiotics. Not only is drinking the finished product a great experience for those who like the way it tastes, but these probiotic properties make your insides happy too. I bought my SCOBY with a kit, because it was an easy, one time expense. Bonus points if you know someone who is groovy enough to supply an extra one from one of their brews.

Day 1, because after this it starts to get funky

Patience

In order to get about a gallon of the ‘buch, you have to wait two weeks for all of that good good to ferment. Because it is a live culture, it’s important to keep tabs on the temperature and pH of your new jar/project/precious baby. By the end of the first week, the entire top of the brew had a weird looking film over it. This made the first taste test of the liquid underneath an intimidating task.

Fermentation

Google became my best friend in checking that that process was working. I had to reassure myself that I wasn’t accidentally making moldy juice or killing my SCOBY. After all, I can barely cook pasta for myself without messing up. After the initial brewing process, the kombucha gets bottled for extra fizzies and you can add whatever flavors your heart desires. I went for a mix of some with fresh blueberries, some with raspberry and lemon, one with frozen mango, and some plain.

The payoff

One sip and my world changed. The finished brew whispered “Don’t hold back on your niche passions.” It’s an amazing process to be in charge of from start to finish. Yes, kombucha might be an acquired taste and it may be associated with 26 year old man-buns, but I couldn’t be happier. Not only do I now have a culture to tend to, in addition to my mini home garden, but toting a bottle to work adds some flavor to my summer jobs on campus.

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