Really, I should have been posting more often about the kombucha. The thing is, it has gone so smoothly, so effortlessly that the posts would have been something like this:
Kombucha brewing, bottled, etc. No issues. Still brewing with Oolong tea.
That's really been about it. For all my trepidation at the start this has been amazingly easy and has me considering trying other home brewing as well (ginger beer). I've been easily coming up with 3 liters every 5-6 days and keeping both myself and my Mom in good supply.
There have been a few interesting things I've learned and they all have to do with brew time. The brewing is best at 5-7 days MAX. I did one batch at a 9 day brew and it was pretty vinegar-esque and required the addition of a lot of fruit juice to render palatable. A week is the most it should stay in, but at the 5-6 day mark it is still a light, effervescent, very slightly tart drink. In that time frame I've come to really enjoy a big pint glass of it.
Now where am I at?
Well, the mother has acquired strata - layers upon layers of new culture growing.
This has been so amazingly successful that I've reached out to my Portland friends to see who wants to brew at home. Even Christie has expressed a wee bit of interest through her absolute horror at the mother "tea mushroom".
I also want to start to branch out to adding flavors to the bottles when I pour off a batch. I'm doing some reading on using fresh juice (e.g., ginger) and perhaps some fruit pulp. Need to research this a bit.
In the meantime today I poured off a batch. Interesting to note that for the first time I didn't get a little over 3 liters. I would have, but I've been leaving about a liter of brewed kombucha in the jar when I add the new tea and I would have only had about half a liter left. That might not be so bad, I believe that's how much commercial kombucha I used to start the culture going.
What's curious is where the tea went? It has been warmer & dryer in Portland (finally), so perhaps it is evaporating a bit more quickly? Does the huge culture consume more of the tea? Not sure, we'll see how the next batch goes.
Today's excitement was separating off two of the top-most layers of the mother culture for friends. This is how I got going, with a piece off the culture tended up at Great Vow, and it feels really cool passing on this culture to new people.
And here's one more crazy close up of the 110 day old culture floating in kombucha.