By Day 9, the kombucha had been bottled for 2 days and was ready to drink. I moved all my bottles to the fridge to stop/drastically slow down the fermentation process.
My first batch of kombucha was really tasty! I would describe the flavor of kombucha as a cross between a wine and apple cider. There is a unique component to the flavor, kind of a tartness. For some it might be somewhat of an acquired taste, but I don’t think it would be completely off-putting to anyone. I would say this first batch was a surprising success, for my first time out anyways!
Here are some things I learned from making my first batch of kombucha:
- Don’t burp the bottles continuously – I was so paranoid about the bottles exploding that, between my husband and I, we probably burped the bottles 4 or 5 times in 2 days. This did nothing but let out much of that refreshing fizziness and carbonation. In the future, I am vowing to only burp them one time a day MAX. Maybe none. We’ll see how brave I get.
- Be careful of the containers I use – As you probably saw in my last post, I didn’t have great bottles. Two of them were recycled salsa containers. Well guess what… when I opened one and had a drink, I thought, “Hmmm. This one tastes different than the last. It tastes kind of like… tomatoes??” Oh yes, that would be because it was bottled in a salsa jar. The glass jar was completely clean and sanitized, but even with vigorous washing, the lid still smelled like salsa. In turn, my kombucha tasted like salsa. My hubby said it tasted like V-8. Not what I was going for! I’m now collecting recycled store-bought kombucha bottles for bottling my next batch!
- Pour the kombucha into the bottles slowly – Part of the ‘fun’ of kombucha is the carbonation! When I was bottling it, it was coming so fast out of the jug into the bottles that they were overflowing with foam (think beer). I should have poured it much slower, because in addition to the obsessive burping as noted above, I think I lost a lot of carbonation in the bottling process. It was much more carbonated straight out of the jug on day 7 than it was after day 9 (it should have been more carbonated with the addition of the fruit sugar in the bottling process!)
- Get creative with flavors! – I used strawberries and lemon juice to flavor this batch, and in reality, those flavors didn’t come through at all. I either need to add more next time or choose stronger flavors.
You live and learn, right?!
So what’s next?? As I mentioned in a previous post, every time you brew a batch of kombucha, a new SCOBY is formed. You can brew your next batch with more than one SCOBY, or you can make a SCOBY Hotel. You did not read that wrong – a SCOBY Hotel. I am not making this stuff up, folks. You basically get a glass container, put your extra SCOBY(s) in there with some kombucha, and they can stay in there pretty much indefinitely. It’s their hotel. :)
The advantage of a SCOBY Hotel is that if you have a batch go bad, you kill your SCOBY somehow, or you want to share a SCOBY with a friend, you have some in the reserves. Oh yes, I will have my very own Hotel here soon.
But first, I decided to make my next batch using 2 SCOBYs, the one I purchased and the one that was created with my first batch. We’re already in the middle of the brewing process, so hopefully by the time we finish drinking our current bottles, we will have new ones ready to go.
At this point, I can definitely see the advantage of Continuous Brewing compared to Batch Brewing (I’ve been doing the batch method so far). In Continuous Brewing, you use a glass vessel with a plastic spigot (think sun tea container!), and you have kombucha continuously on tap. You simply dispense it as you like, into bottles for continued fermentation or straight into your glass to drink. Then when it gets low, you simply add more of the sweet tea mixture into the top of the vessel.
With continuous brewing, your kombucha brews much quicker and is pretty much always ready to go. In addition, you don’t have the messy bottling process with the funnels. If you want to flavor your kombucha, you simply add your flavorings to the bottle and hold the bottle right under the spigot to dispense. Apparently there are health benefits of continuous brewing as well, in terms of the different beneficial acids, etc. that are created.
If we continue drinking kombucha regularly, I will probably switch over to continuous brewing. I need to read a little more about it, but it can’t be scarier than the process I’ve already done, right?!
Thanks for reading!
Update: I started doing the continuous brew method!! It’s quicker and less messy if you want to make kombucha regularly!