Thursday, November 30, 2017

Teaology 101: ‘Booch brewing part 2!

Did you read part 1? Did you? If you didn’t, you might want to check it out for a little general information on Kombucha, otherwise keep reading!

I enrolled in my Kombucha workshop offered by Nancy, self-proclaimed “Kombucha Queen”. You can look her up @KombuchaQueenNancy if you’re interested in contacting her.

To create the first fermentation, you will need a few items. In this case, we will be making a litre of Kombucha. You will need the following:

  • 1 L Mason jar
  • 2 cups boiled water
  • 2 teabags or 1 ½ teaspoons loose leaf tea
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 1 cup distilled water at room temperature
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 1 SCOBY 
  • 1 coffee filter
  • 1 elastic band

With the exception of the SCOBY, Most of the stuff on the list are standard kitchen items. The best way to acquire SCOBY is through a friend who makes Kombucha. You can also search online for a supplier, and even check out your local health food stores, some of which are now shelving SCOBY. I got mine from Nancy at my workshop. During fermentation, a new “baby” SCOBY will be created from the “mother” which you can use for future batches. The “mother” will keep for about another month, so continue using that if you wish.


SCOBY!


Process:

  • Pour the boiled water into the Mason jar, and add the tea of your choice. Let steep for 10 minutes.
  • Discard the tea and add the sugar. Stir the mixture to dissolve the sugar.
  • Pour the distilled water and the vinegar into the jar and give it another stir. 
  • Allow the mixture to cool down to room temperature.
  • Drop the SCOBY disk into the jar. Cover the jar by attaching it with the coffee filter and elastic band.
  • Lightly spritz the coffee filter with vinegar daily if possible. This will prevent the growth of any bad bacteria.
  • Place the jar in a dark area  at room temperature for 7 – 14 days.

Over the fermentation period, you may taste test your Kombucha. Do so with a straw rather than pouring it into a cup and disturbing the SCOBY. You’ll know it’s done when it tastes good. This, of course, sounds ambiguous. Everyone’s taste buds are different. However, you’ll know because you wouldn’t want to consume something that just doesn’t taste right to you. So, trust your judgement!

That’s the first fermentation. Not so bad, huh? Stay tuned for the second fermentation in our ‘booch brewing journey!


Round 1!


Notes:

  • The use of the coffee filter allows for the Kombucha to release carbon dioxide and to prevent outside items from dropping into the jar. 
  • The distilled vinegar is needed as a substitute in case you do not have a starter tea. Another option would be to use store bought, raw, unflavoured Kombucha.
  • Ensure that you use a pure tea. Any type of tea is fine be it black, white, green, etc... A blended tea like Earl Grey is not ideal due to the oils that can be released and destroy the SCOBY.





Monday, November 27, 2017

Teaology 101: ‘Booch brewing part 1!

A few months back, I had posted an article on my first drinking experience with Kombucha. I had meant to do a follow-up article on what this beverage was along with its health benefits. Through my research, I came across many workshops dedicated to making your very own Kombucha at home. Awesome! I took a course and learned quite a bit. Now I have a whole new interest in this wonder drink. Since Kombucha is made over time, I’m going to break my write-ups into a few posts so as not to overwhelm you with non-stop reading and information overload.

Kombucha is a fermented beverage of black tea or green tea. It is lightly carbonated, usually sweet, and contains a colony of bacteria and yeast. Though the exact origins of this super elixir are unknown, it is said to have originated in the Far East around 220 BCE. There are many health benefits to consuming Kombucha, but like anything else, more studies need to be conducted to confirm these claims. Some of these benefits include:

  • Assisting in digestion
  • Proper functioning of the cardiovascular system
  • Providing an boost in energy 
  • Promoting a healthy state of mind
  • Protecting cellular damage
  • Helping to manage diabetes
  • Detoxifying the liver

Exactly what is contained in Kombucha involves some science. You have the tea of your choice and a sweetener. You will also need something called SCOBY, which stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. This SCOBY is also referred to as the "Mother" or "Kombucha Culture". When the SCOBY comes in contact with the nutrients in the tea and the sugar that acts as food, the initial fermentation process is underway. After the second fermentation, the Kombucha becomes an effervescent concoction of vinegar, vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and various acids. Everything needed to help you stay healthy!

Now, you're probably wondering what SCOBY is made of. Well, it’s basically a culture of specialized cells. The bacteria portion consists of the following:

  • Gluconacetobacter 
  • Acetobacter 
  • Lactobacillus 
  • Zygosaccharomyces 

The yeast component includes Saccharomyces and a few other species. A lot to digest, and definitely beyond the scope of this humble post. However, know that this culture works together with the tea and sugar to create Kombucha. It's a "symbiotic" relationship and it’s all good!

Now that you have an idea of what Kombucha is and some understanding of what it’s made of, it’s time to make your very own Kombucha! Hey, why not? The beverages sold in the stores are not cheap and it’s actually super easy to make. It just involves a little nurturing and patience. I’ll take you through the first phase next time!




Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tea Readings: A picture is worth a thousand words!

I really like posting tea quotes. Some are funny, others are deep thinkers, and occasionally you’ll get something that’s just plain silly. Here are some of my favourites in colour and graphics:


















































Monday, November 20, 2017

The Terrific Turmeric!

Turmeric is nothing new to me. It’s a staple in my diet. I’ve noticed for quite some time, the increasing popularity of turmeric. So in demand now, it even comes as a vitamin pill supplement. I’ll stick with the real thing!

Part of the ginger family, turmeric’s botanical name is Curcuma longa. Normally, it is purchased in the form of a golden coloured powder. It has a bitter, earthy flavour, sort of like mustard. Though you will find it used mainly in Indian cuisine, there are many other uses for turmeric besides food consumption. It’s used as a dye for fabric, food colouring, and is even found in certain cosmetics.

There are many, many benefits to including this prized spice into your diet. Though still being tested, these are some of the reasons why you should include turmeric in your diet:

  • It is an antioxidant
  • Fights inflammation
  • May reduce arthritic pain
  • Fights diabetes
  • Helps boost brain power
  • May lower certain types of cancers
  • Reduce bloating and gas

I remember reading an article many years ago indicating that there were no known cases of Alzheimer’s disease in India. Research indicated that this was due to the high intake of turmeric in India. I don’t know if this has been verified, but it does make you wonder about the extraordinary wonders of Earth’s resources.

I bet you’re wondering why I’m writing an article about turmeric on a tea blog. Well, turmeric makes a great tisane. It’s very popular right now, and very tasty too. You can easily swing by your favourite cafĂ© for a turmeric hot beverage, but why not make your own? You’ll find many recipes online that are quick and simple. I’ll share one my recipes in an upcoming post. Stay tuned!