Kombucha! Koming at Yer!

Yes I know it’s trendy and and seen as yet another middle class “must have” but that doesn’t mean it’s bad or should be dismissed. On that basis we’d have to say goodbye to yoga, almond milk and blogging. No I’m going to put potential ridicule to one side and embrace the fact that I am a Kombucha convert. Now, I’ve come to Kombucha the long way, having heard of it years ago but never really having enough interest to find out more let alone brew the stuff. Going sober and reading numerous Sunday supplement articles changed that.

After years of experimenting with various gins (way before gin became the go to drink it seems to have become today) and various mixers, I was a keen sampler of distinctive drinks. Alcohol carries taste and the range of great drinks you can create is limitless and fairly easy. But after 40 odd years of making and shaking I give up the alcohol. Suddenly making an interesting complex drink became a challenge. I tried the exorbitantly priced “spirit” alternatives of which my favourite is everleaf. It’s a complex non alcoholic base for mixers but costs £18 for just 50cl – in other words more than most gins, working out at a staggering £36 per litre. Then I looked again at Kombucha. It ticked a lot of boxes; it was made by brewing, it was simple tea transformed by fermentation into something quite unlike tea, the process reminded me of when I used to make my own wine and beer, it involved a magical process with new magical elements such as SCOBYs, it had limitless possibilities in terms of flavourings, it was relatively easy to set up and get the equipment and it was cheap. Importantly it was something I could create myself and learn to make better and better as time went on. Yep, Kombucha ticked a lot of boxes and humble Jim could be transformed from the saddo that doesn’t drink alcohol any more into …. The Alchemist, The Kombucha King, The Creator of Magical Elixirs.

https://happykombucha.co.uk/pages/how-to-make-kombucha

Without delay I ordered my SCOBY(look it up if you want to know more), my glass jars and stoppered bottles and finally I was ready for brewing! Now, brewing and fermentation when making Kombucha does produce some alcohol but most of this becomes transformed in the process and if there is any alcohol it’s around 0.5% the same as some of the “AF” beers I drink and ripe bananas. For me, with a keen nose and brain for alcohol I have honestly not sensed any in all the Kombucha I have made. I do realise that for some though this could be an issue.

Moving on- I’ve now completed two brews and have to say I have fallen in love with Kombucha. Like a lot of fermented foods, its full of the healthy bacteria your gut needs and I’ve been drinking small amounts everyday to get my body used to the influx of goodness. It really is a magical drink. The secondary fermentation in bottles gives rise to a natural carbonation and there’s something really wonderful about pouring out this frothy drink that started life as a humble drink of tea. Then there’s the taste- well never having tried Kombucha before it’s fantastic to experience a wholly new taste, tart, fruity hard to describe. What’s great is you can brew it for longer or shorter and this will affect the acidity and sweetness- in other words each time you brew you are creating a drink that’s truly unique and which costs pennies. Once you are up and running the SCOBYs grow and can be used for the next batch and you are left with tea bags and sugar as your only costs.

Oh, one more small cost, the flavourings. Ah the flavourings. This is what makes me most excited. When you bottle your Kombucha you can add flavourings and this is when things really open up. Basically use your imagination. I’ve already experimented with things like chillis and ginger and then on the sweet side with strawberries, grapes and cherries. My favourites so far? Well the strawberry Kombucha is delicious and I also flavoured one bottle with just cut up root ginger. That’s quickly become my morning staple.

Enough! You can tell I love the stuff. I love the alchemy of it and the acquiring of knowledge around it. Like bread making, it’s simple but you need to work at it to get it just as it should be. Us non alcohol drinkers deserve a rich array of drinks which we can enjoy and for what it’s worth I’m putting Kombucha out there as something well worth a try. You can buy it ready made, but come on, where’s the fun in that!

Jim X

25 thoughts on “Kombucha! Koming at Yer!

  1. clairei47

    The Kombucha sounds like a dance! Jim giving it large, doing the Kombucha. Looks great though and very well researched. The labelled bottles are extremely organised and I’m seeing potential for a small business here. What could you call it?
    Well done Jim. The enjoyment you’ve had from brewing it is clear and I’m loving that
    Claire x

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Oh it’s organised alrightClaire! Business? Can’t see that, there’ll never be enough left over to sell. Did you want to put in an order?- special rates for fellow bloggers😉
      I’ve certainly enjoyed the process and today I’m moving on to sourdough. I’ll keep you updated. X

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  2. limetwiste

    You have piqued my interest in kombucha. I spotted a lime in one of your drinks. I have two lime trees that I planted five years ago to go with my corona beer. The fruit takes years to appear and this is my year. The limes are finally growing. Now I don’t drink. Rubbish timing, I know. I was actually wondering today of ways to use my limes when they ripen. I am toying with the idea of making AF ginger beer too. Will look for a scoby. Thanks for including the photos.

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      The limes were Actually from the previous contents of that bottle but you could certainly try limes with Kombucha, might give that a go myself. You’re lucky being able to grow limes where you are. I imagine AF ginger beer with lime would be great and limes are great pickled as well. But if you like making stuff Kombucha is great fun and relatively easy and cheap. If you give it a go let me know how you get on. 😀 X

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      1. limetwiste

        I checked out scoby last night, I can buy them online locally.
        So true about growing limes. I have a mandarin tree too. It’s a baby still.
        We let you know how it goes.

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  3. gr8ful_collette

    Very cool! Sounds like a fun hobby as well. Definitely more rewarding to brew than buy. I’m going to have to try it. I’m a kombucha virgin! 🤣

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  4. nomorebeer

    So happy you finally got into it ! Ginger is one of my favorites too, and I LOVE a very carbonated brew… Ahhhh the joys of exploding bottles and big messes. So much fun. 🙂 Also, your post is showing me how time flies by: I remember you commented one of my very early posts saying you’d give it a go, and that was almost a year ago! Fast forward 9 months and I’ll take a kombucha over sour beer 100% with ZERO hesitation. Love the stuff xxx Anne

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Hi Anne, I’d completely forgotten about that. You might have been the person that sowed the seed in that case.Getting round to something after 9 months is pretty good going for me. But glad I did, I’m loving the taste and variety and my second batch is much more carbonated. No exploding bottles- yet! So come on then, plant another seed. X

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      1. Jim Simmonds Post author

        I like it! Tried doing the yoghurt but cant get the enthusiasm for that. My son did give me some of his sourdough starter on Friday so cultivating that is now also on the go! Ginger beer also on the horizon. X

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      2. nomorebeer

        OOoooo Ginger beer sounds lovely! Also let us know how sourdough goes… I’ve never EVER managed to bake anything worth trying again. But then I’m French so the competiton is fierce:)

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      3. Jim Simmonds Post author

        Like you Ive not managed to bake a decent loaf of bread but my son’s sourdough was wonderful, as good as any Ive eaten. It’s my favourite style of bread so cant wait until the starter has finished “growing” and I can give it a go. I’ll keep you posted! X

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  5. Red (RedRecovers)

    Ooh, been waiting for this post! I nearly bought some kit last night. Are you continuous- brewing or batch? I was reading up a LOT yesterday.
    I’ve only tried premade stuff before, but it reminds me of a sour craft beer and seems a cracking AF alternative instead of the sugary nonsense I’ve been trying.. which has mostly been making my teeth furry, bleuch!

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Don’t hesitate. I started with one jar which in hindsight was too big. I’m now using that as my SCOBY hotel and have two 5Ltr jars for brewing. So yes continual brewing and what’s nice is as you get more SCOBY you can either increase the amount you make or give some to a friend so they can get started too. Saw my son yesterday and he gave me some of his sourdough “baby” so I can get started making my own sourdough bread and next time I see him I’ll hand him over some SCOBY so he can start brewing his own Kombucha. Good Luck 👍🏻 X

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  6. Untipsyteacher

    I once drank an entire bottle down, and got heartburn so bad and that lasted a week, I have stayed away from it!
    But I guess I’ll try it again, just sip it!
    🤦🏻‍♀️😂😂😂😂
    Wendy

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Drank the whole bottle- old habits eh Wendy😉. I was told you have to become accustomed to the good bacteria SLOWLY! That means small amounts and build up. Moderation Wendy- that’s the key! 😀x

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