Batch/Blooper #1 taught me about temperature control/moderation. Batch #2 headed in the right direction with a kombucha mother from my kombucha soul mate and life-long friend, Julia. Yet the end product was only okay. Batch #2 was an important step on my journey to kombucha nirvana, and I hope that reading about this new learning will help you on your way.
This time I down-sized, and I only made one quart instead of a gallon. I used a ceramic mixing bowl as the container for fermentation to maximize the surface area upon which the new mother, or baby, would form. After keeping the brew upstairs in our 60 degree Fahrenheit house for several days, I moved it to a warmer spot next to (not on, like in Blooper #1) our furnace.
Three days later, I began tasting this batch daily. It eventually got to the point where I thought it tasted just about right. My Fermentation Goddess was speaking up loud and clear, saying, “Bottle it! Bottle it!” And I wavered. I asked my husband to try it, and he said it seemed a little on the sweet side. Since I agreed with him– advice from the Fermentation Goddess aside– I let it sit another day or two, and then I bottled it. I had read about using jam as a primer for the bottles in the Kombucha Fuel blog, so I tried our homemade blueberry jam for this purpose. Our jam does contain pectin, but I figured that most jams probably do, so I didn’t factor in this ingredient into my thinking. Now, in retrospect, I wonder if the pectin ruined the brew.
I set the bottles in a warm spot on top of our upright freezer for about 3 or 4 days. After being graced with a little initial fizz, I was left with a very flat, acidic brew. Of course, I will not be deterred, so I again added a little maple syrup and crystallized ginger to make it palatable.
Some good things happened with this batch: I grew a new kombucha mother; I developed more experience with tasting the brew in the initial fermenting stage; I experimented with a different priming method. I gained more experience with a few aspects of home-brewing kombucha, and I still wasn’t getting it right.
Everyone’s gotta walk before they run.