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Kombucha is a beverage made by fermenting sweetened tea in the presence of a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (a “scoby”). There are many alleged health-supporting properties attributed to kombucha. It is lightly carbonated and has a nice flavor, somewhere between apple juice and apple cider vinegar, with a heavy influence of whatever tea variety it began with. The Wikipedia article explains more.

I was introduced to kombucha many years ago by a taiji-playing hippy friend who brewed his own. Commercial kombucha is overpriced for what it is. Recently, my good friend Luke began brewing kombucha and I got interested in doing it myself again.

Lots of variables. Here’s how I made the first batch.

Water: 1.9 l
Tea: 6 tbsp old but good grade Phoenix oolong from Vital T-Leaf in Seattle, plus 3 tbsp old average grade Jasmine from Daniel
Steeped: 10 mins on slow boil, plus 5 mins off heat
Sugar: 10 tbsp
Old scoby: Mother and daughter from Luke, plus 240 ml from a previous batch.
Fermented: 8 days in dark cupboard at 25.5°-29.0°C. Sweetness mostly gone.
New scoby: Bright white but not full diameter, saved with smaller previous scoby and 250 ml.
Bottled: 2008-05-27. Two 1.1 l bottles: one full, one 25% full. 2 days at 22.0-24.0°C in dark bathtub.
Result: Could use more carbonation. Maybe a bit too acidic.

I’ll try again.

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