Kombucha Blooper #1: No Mother, No Cry

I love kombucha.  Its tart fizziness feels wonderful in my mouth and on my tongue.  The microbes send signals of health and happiness to my cells.

I was breaking the bank, buying kombucha by the bottle, and when I tried buying it on tap the kombucha went flat and got acidic quickly.  Making my own seemed like an economically intelligent decision, and I am never one to pass up a fermentation adventure when it falls in my lap.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have easy access to a kombucha mother, so I decided to try to make my own.

The short version is:  this particular fermentation adventure was a bust.  It started out okay, but then I overheated the whole thing and killed my microbes. Our house was cold at that time of year, and our basement was warm. We have a little surface on the furnace between some metal pipes where a one gallon jar fits nicely. I thought that kombucha wanted to be close to 90 degrees Fahrenheit in order to properly ferment, but I was wrong. I think it really wants to be more like 70-73 degrees, and the contents of my jar on the furnace got up to about 88 degrees.

I moved the jar after my “Fermentation Goddess” (also known as the little voice inside of me that helps me tend to my various ferments) told me over and over that it was too hot. But it was too late. It grew a very thin mother, and the tea became quite acidic.

After I gave up on it forming a mother, I still bottled it with unsweetened cranberry juice for flavor and 1/4 teaspoon sugar for the primer in each bottle, and I drank it. Initially it seemed super sour, acidic and flat. So, I added a little maple syrup and a little cut up crystallized ginger which helped make it more palatable.

This was my first kombucha blooper of many, and the good news is:  eventually, I got it right.

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