About nine years ago, Jason and I were doing a bit of shopping at Whole Foods in Redmond, WA. We were thirsty and decided to try something new. We bought kombucha...and hated it. I don't know if it was because of the shock at opening a bottled beverage and having it taste like vinegar. Or perhaps it was just a bad bottle. We will never know for sure because we don't remember the brand. All the same, it was not a stellar first impression.
Fast forward to 2013. Life had taken us to Edmonds, WA. One evening, we were at PCC, and there was a gentleman there sampling Brew Dr. Komucha. My husband and I believe that when it comes to food, it's not fair to judge flavor based on one experience, so, somewhat begrudgingly, we tried it. Low and behold, we loved it! Even our toddlers loved it. That guy let us try every flavor he had, and I couldn't pick a favorite because they were all so yummy. We were hooked.
Our love affair with this slightly funky drink started out slow with a bottle here or there. Next, it became a staple when sickness was in the house. If Jason were under the weather, a standard care package would be some soup from Pho T&N and a bottle of kombucha. But then about two years ago, it became something we were craving and reaching for often. As fate would have it, the kombucha craze had caught up to our desire, and it seemed to be everywhere.
There is one big problem with kombucha as a whole. That stuff is expensive. Don't get me wrong, I think it's worth it, and I will happily pay the premium for a quality kombucha when I'm out. However, I am a curious lady and decided I wanted to see if I could DIY it.
In the past year, I have fallen down the DIY fermentation rabbit hole. Our kitchen has been host to oh so many sour experiments from kimchi and sauerkraut to apple cider vinegar and sourdough. And I would say I had varying degrees of success with all of them too. But kombucha had eluded me. I didn't feel like trying to start a brew from scratch and cultivate a new SCOBY, so it kept getting pushed to the back burner.
They say you should surround yourself with like-minded people, right? Well, I have this one friend, Amber, who is most definitely a kindred spirit. We geek out when we get together about all things "granola." She and I bounce ideas off each other and share our kitchen and garden concoctions regularly. Bless her kombucha loving heart. She agreed to share some SCOBY and starter tea with me!
We set a playdate and made it happen. Having a friend whose company you genuinely enjoy is fantastic. When that said friend has kids that your kids adore, it elevates it to another level of awesome. She and I can hang out in the kitchen and talk kombucha while our littles run around and entertain each other. It's a win-win!
That morning, my amazing Amber friend gave me a step by step lesson in her kombucha continuous brew system. It was impressive. I asked every question you could imagine and she graciously obliged. And then when it was time to go, she sent me on my way with a little container of kombucha starter and a SCOBY baby.
Today, I am on my third batch of kombucha. I'm still working on getting it dialed in. Batch #1 was a bit weak. I think it was because I didn't have the right ratio of black tea in my blend and also I could have let it ferment longer. My second attempt was better, but just not quite there yet. Batch #3 is on Day 10. It's super close to being ready for the second fermentation.
I have no plans on opening a kombucha business, but I am pretty pleased with what's been happening so far. New SCOBY layers are forming each time. We are shopping for a larger vessel. Kombucha life is good.
Stay tuned. I will definitely be sharing updates on our process.