Almost all brewers we meet also have a general interest in all foods and beverages, ourselves included. We have made various fermented foods at home and the experiments carry on here with Kombucha. I wont go on to describe what it is as this is covered elsewhere but if you have not tried it I urge you to give it a go. It is now widely available in the supermarkets, my current favourite is https://www.kevita.com/ginger/ So, with that in mind I thought I would have a go and get somewhere close.
We stock SCOBY from Whitelabs and also as a complete kit from Mad Millie. As we already have the the equipment and I wanted to make more that a litre I choose to use the SCOBY from Whitelabs. I researched the method online and made my own adjustments where I saw fit, after all this is an experiment, I will be learning by failure as much as success;) I also thought that by making a bigger batch I am able to, once fermented, split the batch into different demijohns and add a range of flavours.
The Equipment needed is limited, anyone who has brewed a beer kit will have all that is necessary. Since I wanted my batch to be 15 litres I chose a simple 16 litre plastic fermenter, importantly I added a tap close to the bottom, this will be handy later.
Ingredients required for a 15 litre batch:-
42 tea bags. No need to use anything special at this stage, it will be an experiment for another batch.
2.5kg of sugar, we have dextrose to hand so this is what I used, it does have the advantage of dissolving very easily.
Muslin cloth / straining bag to cover.
Place the teabags into the fermenter along with the sugar.
Top up with 10 litres of water at 90c and steep for 10 minutes. Then fish out your tea bags
Top up to your final volume using cold water. Your SCOBY can be added when the temperature is at about 20c.
Finally make sure that the vessel is covered, it is important that the SCOBY has full Oxygen / air coverage so muslin or a straining bag is much better than a lid, it needs to breath but you don’t want nasties getting in.
I will now leave for 5 days at about 20c, at which point I will start tasting. The idea is that the longer it is left the more tangy or acetic it becomes. This is completely down to personal taste. If keeping the temperature at 20c is a problem think about investing in something like our heat plate, these are a really simple solution and cost just pennies to run per week.
In part 2 we will discuss how the fermentation progressed and flavours used, I plan to split the batch into 3 x 5 litres and flavour each one differently.