Kombucha. Typically, when people talk about Kombucha, they fall into 1 of 3 categories: Love it! Hate it! Or, my favorite... what the heck is it?!
Kombucha is a sweetened tea that's been fermented using a scoby ("Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast"). It takes between 7-14 days to make a batch of kombucha, and the result is an effervescent slightly tart, slightly sweet brew that apparently contains a whole slew of amino acids and vitamins. You can find bottled Kombucha from makers like GT Dave's at Whole Foods and the like, but they average anywhere from $3.50 to $5 for a single bottle. So I decided to try and brew my own at home. But where to start? It wasn't like I could just pick up a starting scoby at my neighborhood grocery store. But friends, success lay in store. I brewed the booch, and I'll tell you how I did it...
The thing that spurred my intimidated little self to give this a real try was a class I saw advertised at the Brooklyn Kitchen in Williamsburg: an "All About Kombucha" class taught by Brooklyn's own Kombuchaman, Eric Childs, who's starting his own kombucha company (called, not unexpectedly, Kombucha Brooklyn). The 1.5 hour class promised to teach me the history of the beverage, its health benefits, and — most importantly — give me everything I'd need to start brewing at home. Sounded perfect. And it was exactly what I'd hoped. Eric Childs was exuberant about drinking and making kombucha, and he freely shared his tips, tricks, and recipes. I left that evening with my little starter jar (containing my 3-inch-in-diameter scoby disc), my Kombucha 101 packet, and a large 5-liter jar. (Maybe a bit ambitious, but I was determined.)
Our Kombucha starter jar; Eric Childs, founder of Kombucha Brooklyn, and our teacher
A picture of one of Eric's healthy scobys
Related: Have You Ever Brewed Kombucha Tea?