Kombucha Brooklyn

Wide World of 'Buch

  • Steeping for Kombucha Brewing


    I've utilized many different methods of steeping for kombucha brewing, both at home and at Kombucha Brooklyn. Today I'm going to analyze the effectiveness of a few of those methods. I'll also suggest one that for the average home brewer may be the simplest, fastest and most efficient of those.

     

    Tea bags

     

    ... Tea bag of Earl Gray! Kombucha Brooklyn Steeping a tea bag of Earl Gray

    If there's one ubiquitous Western archetype of tea consumption, it involves the tea bag. Initially meant in the early 20th century to offer samples of loose leaf teas, the tea bag caught on and became very popular in use for making iced tea. My earliest memories of tea were of my dad using a dedicated coffee-maker to steep Lipton bags. He'd put the tea bags into the coffee carafe, pour water into the machine, and allow the hot water to flow down and immerse the bags for 3-5 minutes. After that, the tea was poured over lots of ice in a pitcher and thrown into the refrigerator.

     

    Fast and easy

     

    Some major advantages to the tea bag are simplicity and cost-effectiveness. It's very simple to toss some hot water on a tea bag, let it sit, remove, and enjoy. I can throw a bag of Earl Grey in my back pocket for consumption later in the day (which I've just done). Since tea bags usually have a string attached, it's very easy to control the steep time. For the producer, the bag is easily marketable as a simple way to drink tea, and it offers a way to utilize broken pieces of leaves like dust and fannings that are the by-product of loose leaf tea manufacture, thus reducing waste and making more tea available. Think "seconds" of apples or tomatoes at the farmer's market.

     

    Loose leaf?

     

    That's not to say there aren't loose leaf teas packaged in bags. My consideration for this lies in the effect this has on the tea, and how it's used by the consumer. On the whole, loose leaf teas are less dense than teas usually packed in bags. That means they will expand to a much greater size than will fine, broken pieces of tea leaf. As a result of the unbroken nature of the leaves, they will take up more space once steeping than will the tea generally packed in a tea bag. The more the leaves are allowed to unfurl and "give up" their flavor to the water in which they are steeped, the more flavorful will be your infusion. While this can be done with a large, reusable mesh bag, don't skimp on space - there's not much that's more depressing in the tea world than seeing a tea bag bulging with whole, unbroken leaves.
     

    Respect the leaf!

     

    So, tea bag or no, loose leaf teas have a lot to say and a ton of flavor to give up. Steeping them in the largest environment possible, unhindered by bag or walls will elicit the most flavor from the leaves. That is, to an extent - I wouldn't boil 10 gallons of water to make 10 gallons of kombucha, ever. Keep in mind also that loose-leaf teas should always be infused multiple times, with the longevity of flavor and color decided by the amount as well as the variety of tea.
     

    The multi-steep

     

    For a kombucha brewer this would take the form of adding boiling water to your tea and allowing it to steep for 20 minutes or so; then, pouring off that first infusion and adding more boiling water, and allowing another 20 minute steep. This can be done as many times as possible until it seems there is no more nutrient left in the tea, as can be told by the flavor or color. Be vigilant that you aren't creating more tea than your fermentation vessel will be able to hold.
     

    Respect and reciprocation

     

    This attention alludes to a respect for the earth in not wasting its products, but also in reverence for the producers of the tea. Plucking tea is no simple task, and often takes place in locations that require climbing and balancing, as well as a trained attention to detail. Where the biological makeup of kombucha is the result of the symbiotic pairing of bacteria and yeast, so intertwined also is the relationship of man with the tea plant in the cultivation and preparation of tea leaves for consumption. Since in this day and age it can be nearly impossible to give back directly to the producer, at least get as much out of the leaf as is possible, and send out some aloha for all of the labor that went into getting it to you. Your 'buch will be that much tastier because of the good intentions that were incorporated during the brewing process. (Such observance with your standard tea bag might be steeping it twice, or maybe three times, and giving it a hearty squeeze after the last steep).

     

    The big steep

     

    You can always just dump your loose tea into a pot of boiling water, stir it around, and worry about straining later. Really this is the ideal, as far as the leaves are concerned, but really it makes more work than is necessary. You can use a strainer, but a strainer that will pull out all particulate will likely be difficult to clean - especially if it's made of metal (I have spent a lot of time cleaning metal strainers in my 'buch brewing days). So, you may choose to use a mesh filter bag to achieve the same end. The same issue arises, though, in that you're going to have to clean the filter bag, that while small can provide a bit of a challenge, if only by being slightly time consuming.

     

    Steeping black tea, rooibos and clove in my French press Kombucha Brooklyn Steeping black tea, rooibos and clove in my French press

     

    That's why my favorite way to steep tea for smaller home brews involves a French press. It's very easy to clean, efficient at keeping the steeping water hot, and easy to quickly empty and refill. Also, it allows me to get the most out of my tea leaves. For a one gallon brew, I'll add 12 grams of a nice loose leaf tea, and fill the 34 oz. French press 1/3 of the way with boiling water. I'll let that sit for 20 minutes, pour off the hot liquid, add the same amount of boiling water, and allow another 20 minutes.

     

    Repeat one more time, and you've got 34 ounces of steeped tea ready and hot enough to dissolve your sweetener. This is a simple model for a triple steep, but you could easily draw it out over 10 steeps - you'll just want to make sure you aren't steeping too much tea so you've overfilled your brew jar. After stirring in the sweetener, add cool water to bring the temperature down, add your starter and SCOBY, and you're ready to let your 'buch fly. Always keep in mind your final volume - if you've steeped so much tea there isn't room for the starter and SCOBY, you'll have to pour some out - but keep that in mind for your next brew.

    Steeping loose leaf tea with my French press - Kombucha Brooklyn Steeping loose leaf tea with my French press

    So, if you're brewing a lot of 'buch, using tasty loose leaf teas and herbal blends, invest in a French press. Your 'buch will be tastier and more robust, and that can't be a bad thing!

     

    Happy brewing!

  • Cooking with Kombucha - Probiotic Salsa with Grilled Pineapple

    Probiotic Salsa with Grilled Pineapple

     

    Feed this to your guests at your next summer party and watch how well everyone gets along. This recipe is truly delicious in its simple form, but if you want to have a thrilling night, throw in some grilled corn or pineapple and watch your party blossom!

     

    Ingredients

    5 Tomatoes, 4 of them chopped*

    2 Tomatillos, halved (optional, but highly suggested)

    ½ cup Pineapple or 1 ear of Corn (optional, but highly suggested)

    1 Onion, chopped

    1 clove Garlic, finely chopped

    ½ bunch Cilantro, chopped

    ½ cup probiotic kombucha culture, chopped

    1 Lime

    2 whole Jalapeno peppers

    Salt

    Pepper

     

     

    Probiotic Salsa Directions

    1)   Roast the jalapeno. It’s the end of summer, so you might still have a grill going. If so, plop your peppers (and if you have it the pineapple and tomatillo) on your hot grill and rotate until all sides are charred. If you are doing this on your stove, find a way to safely and securely hold your pepper either by skewering it, or holding it with a pair of tongs. Hold the pepper close to the burner / flame or cook it in a cast iron (no oil, just chuck 'em in) and rotate as necessary until all sides are charred.

    Probiotic Salsa with Grilled Pineapple Mid-way through charring - let them go nice and black on each side for best results.

     

    Once your pepper cools down, it will be easy to peel off most of the charred skin leaving behind the soft and smoky pepper flesh. Remove the seeds and finely chop the flesh.

     

    2)   Cut your tomatoes, onion, garlic, seared pineapple and tomatillo and pop them into a nice bowl. Grab your tasitest looking culture, dry it with a bit of paper towel and slice them into small bits. This can be tricky as SCOBY is a bit tough - just make sure to have a sharp knife and to take your time. Once this salsa is complete, you won’t have time to transfer it to your serving dish before it starts getting gobbled up--it’s that awesome. Taste. Adjust any of these ingredients as needed.

     

    3)   Add 1/4 of the jalapenos you’ve chopped. They can be sneaky so add them slowly. Once you have settled on the right heat, add lime squeezes until you acquire the perfect balance.

     

    4)   Devour with chips or soft warm tortillas.

     

     

  • 'Buch on Tap - Summer's End 2014

     

    I am stoked to announce a new facet of the 'Buch on Tap Program, as well as old favorites to the lineup.

     

    Wild Jungle Green is our first foray into commercially producing kombucha with our Premium Brewing Teas. This kombucha is made with tea leaves plucked from trees growing wild in the jungle, in the Provence of Yunnan China. The finished product is an excellent expression of the tea. It brings 'Buch on Tap full circle with our Home Brew Program and is our first Pu-Erh brew.

    Kombucha Brooklyn - Wild Jungle Green The Non-Alcoholic Craft Option

    Rich and robust, Wild Jungle Green starts smokey and melts into a round butterscotch flavor. We recently served it at a TED event to kombucha novices, and they absolutely loved it! Very high in Qi, this  complex 'buch is universally delicious and comfortably energizing!

     

    For those of you that have been with us for a while, you will recognize the return of our favorite refreshing late summer brews - Big BlueCha (organic blueberries and cinnamon), and Lemon Drop (organic lemon blended kombucha).

     

    To follow up on last month's post:

    • We have depleted our stock of El Jefe - it will be at accounts into September, but it's moving fast. Grab a growler before it's gone.
    • The initial release of Big BlueCha was overwhelmingly well received, and we just released another batch. Be sure to get a cup if you see it at your favorite account!
    • Kevin Bacon is on the way out! we won't be running this flavor again for a while, so grab a couple growlers if you're a fan.
    Kombucha Brooklyn's El Jefe Say goodbye to El Jefe!

    Current Flavors -

     

    Wild Jungle Green-

    KBBK is pushing the envelop with this new Premium Tea Blend. Rich, and smokey, yet perfectly balanced. This 'buch brings our mission full circle. The non alcoholic craft option.

    El Jefe -

    Papaya puree dashed with Lime, over a bounty of acids formed during fermentation. The result is a complex explosion of tropical flavors.

    Big BlueCha

    Summertime isn't the same without it. Dawn kissed mornings and a big glass of this 'buch will help carry you into fall.

    Lemon Drop -

    Organic Lemons dancing with our signature blend of 'buch. Arnold Palmer wasn't a millennial, and neither is this kombucha

    Jasmine -

    Smooth, light, and floral - this is the 'buch everyone asks for by name

    Straight Up -

    Our signature blend of black, green and white teas

    Kevin Bacon -

    Orange and Rose comprise this seasonal blend. Light, balanced, and very refreshing

  • Cleaning Your Kombucha Growler Caps


    We've found that as far as bottling your kombucha goes, there are some important things to take into account (see the earlier blog post about bottling and carbonation here). Our favorite vessel to bottle our homebrew is a 32 oz amber bottle. Not only does it keep the 'buch free from UV light (reducing the possibility of spoilage), it is great for effectively containing our kombucha to contribute carbonation during secondary fermentation.

     

    Arguably the most important part of your bottling vessel is the cap. You may have purchased a bottle at the store that has no carbonation whatsoever - this can sometimes be due to a faulty seal. The caps we distribute with our growlers for our 'Buch on Tap program are the best you will find - comparable to EZ cap in their ability to hold a tight seal, but not nearly so permanently affixed to the bottle. The internal cone conforms to the mouth of the bottle, creating an airtight seal.

     

    The interchangeability of these caps, as opposed to flip-tops, does make cleaning bottles easy, though due to the physical characteristics of our caps there is a trick to properly cleaning them, which is fine considering they're reusable. Cleaning your caps is important especially when you are inevitably finding bits of yeast and tea stuck in them.

     

    Growler Cap Disassembly Disassembling your growler caps

    So, to get all parts of your growler caps nice and clean, you'll just need to separate the inner cone from the outer, threaded lid. I like to use a butter knife. Once you've done this, you can easily put them through the dishwasher (if that's how you swing), but we like to scrub them and let them soak in diluted bleach or soap, allow them to dry and then reassemble.

     

    Soaking growler caps Soaking growler caps

    It's a simple process, but important to know - your set of growlers can last you for years to come. Additional lids can be found here. Happy brewing!

  • Jun, a Honey-based Kombucha


    Jun, Kombucha Brooklyn

    If you’re into kombucha, you’ve likely heard of a type of brew that utilizes honey rather than granulated sugar as the sweetener. You may also have been privy to some of the smoke and mirrors surrounding jun, a honey-based kombucha.

     

    I’ve been brewing jun for about a year and a half, and have become enamored - it’s quick to brew, forgiving when it ferments too long, and retains the aromatic characteristics of the honey that was used. And with the numerous medicinal benefits of honey, it’s hard not to gravitate towards this tenacious, bacteria-heavy ferment.

     

    Being accustomed to the taste of sugar-brewed kombucha, one of its fun aspects is how mercurial the culture can be. The range of desirable as well as undesirable notes that can develop is immense; for example, some can be lumped into a category often considered by us to be “barnyard,” and whether or not you can attribute this to the sweetener used, I can say this aspect is across the board much less prevalent in jun. On the whole, I would say jun tastes more clean than a sugar ferment.

     

    So when I started brewing jun it was pretty eye-opening. In using honey instead of sugar, brewing takes on a new level of complexity. Sugar really doesn’t provide much of a flavor characteristic other than sweetness. Honey, however, is very complex and contains a multitude of different compounds including yeasts, acids, vitamins and antioxidants. And clearly, there’s an alluring quality to the flavor and aroma of honey that can’t necessarily be ascribed to the primary utility of honey in a ‘buch brew, that being a source of sugar(s).

     

    Raw vs. Processed Honey

    Many people have asked me whether or not to use raw honey as opposed to commercially-processed honey, and really you can use either (I do use less honey, by volume, than sugar - 3/4 cup of honey to each gallon of kombucha). Raw honey will have more “stuff” in it - pollen, bits of honeycomb, propolis, sometimes even bee parts. The contribution of unwanted bacteria here is possible, but not assured. My experience hasn’t brought any folly in this regard.

     

    Bee pollen, goldenrod honey, and a jun SCOBY Bee pollen, goldenrod honey, and a jun SCOBY

     

    My thought, however, is that the more basic the source of sugar, the easier it is for the culture to consume and create kombucha. An example of this would be, when using granulated sugar, white vs. brown. While brown sugar may have additional aspects to contribute in terms of flavor, I’ve heard people say they’ve had trouble getting their culture to feed on it. A red flag here is the presence of molasses in brown sugar. As a byproduct of the refining of sugarcane, it inherently houses impurities undesirable in table sugar, and the darker the molasses (or brown sugar), the more of these will be present. Nutritive for humans, for sure, but not the best for your SCOBY - many have reported the difficulty a kombucha culture has in utilizing brown sugar.

     

    As for the honey, processing doesn’t appear to negatively affect the presence of some of its health-beneficial constituents such as vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, but I would be concerned for the aromatic and untested-for elements that otherwise may contribute desirably to your brew.

     

    Fructose and Glucose

     

    Purified, enriched sugar (i.e., table sugar) is stripped down to the most basic elements and is essentially pure sucrose (a disaccharide of fructose and glucose). It’s ready to be first inverted (broken down into fructose and glucose) and consumed by the culture.

     

    In honey, fructose and glucose have already been cleaved and separated by enzymes within the bees’ stomachs, so there is one less step the culture needs to go through in order to consume them. I think this is one of the reasons a jun ferment is generally faster than the standard sugar ferment.

     

    Lore and Contemporary Jun

     

    Upon looking at some of the existing information about jun, it can be difficult to ascertain much in the way of solid evidence, especially when it comes its origins. You’ll find anecdotes regarding the sacred maintenance and ancient transference of the culture, which usually alludes to Tibetans in some regard.

     

    These suppositions lack solid sources, so I’ll steer clear of the derivative speculation and create one of my own - perhaps jun is the original kombucha culture (and was delivered to Tutankhamun by almond-eyed star voyagers).

     

    To an extent, for kombucha brewing, it makes sense that honey be the original sweetener of choice over sugarcane, if only due to the fact that straight out of the hive, it's ready to be used. Sugar, however, requires processing to remove it from the woody grass, sugarcane, that comprises its natural form. So, it’s almost logical that the most basic, unrefined sweetener would be used in the original brew.

     

    Sugar SCOBY, left two images; Honey SCOBY, right two images Kombucha Brooklyn Sugar SCOBY, left two images (1000x); Honey SCOBY, right two images (1000x)

     

    Tea for a Jun Brew

     

    The nutritional requirements for the jun culture are a little bit different than for the sugar brew. My experiences have indicated that green tea is consumed much more readily by this culture than are oxidized teas like white, oolong, black or pu-erh tea. While I've made jun with a blend of black, green and white teas, the flavor was not found desirable and further experimentation halted. I have been ever since delighted with the results of green tea-based jun.

     

    That's not to say I've not brewed with herbs in addition to the green tea. I found pretty quickly that my favorite green tea to use with jun is simply jasmine green tea. The delightful, floral aspects of this tea pair very well with honey. In using other herbs with this culture as well, I've found no faults in terms of flavor or speed with which a final product was achieved. I would say if anything, the jun culture is more forgiving of non-camellia sinensis ingredients - I've had success with chamomile, lavender, and holy basil, to name a few.

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    Had I the opportunity to live out the rest of my kombucha brewing days fermenting only with honey rather than granulated sugar, I would. It's faster, more forgiving, amazingly fresh and smooth, and more sustainable. It's pretty easy to find local honey, which has great implications in alleviating allergies, to which our keg master Billy can attest. There are still many experiments and test brews to be made to more clearly discern the limits of the jun kombucha ferment, but given what I've discovered so far, I don't think any time soon that I'll be short of new ideas to test.

     

    Two 5-gallon jun brews, Kombucha Brooklyn Two 5-gallon jun brews

     

    So, if you're already making kombucha and haven't tried your hand at using this amazing culture, you're missing out on the next big thing in home brewing. You can use the same fermentation vessel and equipment, on the whole. Just remember that if you're brewing both a standard kombucha and a jun kombucha, keep your cultures segregated so the flavor of each brew is as specific as possible.

     

    After you have your first sip of jun, you'll never forget that flavor, and I can almost guarantee you'll never want to.

  • Making Coffee Kombucha - Not Wrong, Just Not Right

     

    Long speculated upon and feared even in anecdotes, a week ago I had the perfect opportunity to embark upon the storied nostrum that is... komffee? Coffbucha? Joebucha? Coffee kombucha. Perfect...

     

    Coffee kombucha Making coffee kombucha; after 6 days of primary fermentation

    While open-minded, I didn't think there was any way this could be tasty. Enough people had asked about it, rumors circulated, and it came to the point that this brew couldn't be avoided; of this fact the new office-tap acquisition of Stumptown cold-brewed coffee was the ultimate indicator.

     

    So, I opened up the tap, poured 32 ounces of the polarizing blackness, and added 1/4 cup of sugar to the joe after warming it on the stove. I added a bit of SCOBY, some distilled white vinegar as a starter (1 tbsp), cringed, covered and dated the jar, and set it out to ferment.

     

    After 6 days in primary fermentation, there was a pretty gnarly SCOBY growing:

     

    SCOBY of Coffee SCOBY of coffee

    Having a pretty adventurous palate still does not issue into passive consumption. The creation of what essentially is sour coffee made me reticent to attempt making this beast, though I'd thought about it many times before.

     

    Well, I wasn't proven wrong. Sour, acidic, vinegary coffee was the result - I considered the brew complete when I saw the SCOBY and smelled it - pretty awful, on both fronts. I let a couple of people in the office try it before me, still highly skeptical and protective of my taste buds' fortitude.

     

    KBBK employees investigating the coffee 'buch KBBK employees investigating the coffee 'buch

     

    The result of our tasting left us sure that the experiment had worked - coffee kombucha was assuredly the result - but in no way could this be construed by any of us as being something drinkable. Even the small cup we poured and passed around went unfinished.

     

    I bottled it, so as to preserve the train wreck that would in the future be sure to elicit fascination and disgust among unsuspecting subjects - a little carbonation should attract a completely new level of repulsion. Kind of like the time I made apricot-peppermint kombucha.

     

    *We did discover the SCOBY created from this brew was much more palatable than the brew itself.

     

     

     

    This experiment behind me, I look forward to better and brighter days. I will try not to forget what happened, only the taste. Be skeptical. It's not wrong, just not right.

     

    SCOBY can't live on beans alone SCOBY can't live on beans alone

     

  • KBBK Work Culture, pt. 1 - Field Trips and Office Life

    DSC_6205 KBBK on Fire Island

     

    Our lives are split in to two areas, work life and home life. The gap between these two areas is usually large. Most of us can’t wait until Friday comes along because it brings a weekend of self-guidance on what we do and where we go. Unfortunately, when it comes to work culture, most companies just don’t get it right.

     

    Since our formation, KBBK has always tried to be a place where people want to be. God knows I'm at KBBK more then I'm at home. Why on Earth would I or anyone else want to be there if it doesn't provide a way of life that is comfortable, with breaks to pad it?  With the little resources we have, KBBK has tried to create a work culture that makes people thrive and excited to return.

     

    The ‘Buch Bar fully loaded with three lines of kombucha, one Stumptown cold brew, and two beers.

     

    photo (11) 'Buch Bar

     

    Our gym, located in storage and under the inspiring eyes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, is available for a quick gun blast session anytime of the day.

     

    photo (10) KBBK gym

     

    Local yoga/mediation teacher Jessa Messina comes in once or twice a month to give us an hour of meditation and “corporate yoga.”

     

    BZC8s8wCEAAtWtR Yoga at the Lab

     

    In June, the entire crew (minus Keg Master Billy, “we missed you Billy!”) took the short ride to Fire Island for the weekend.  Good food, sun, and beach cricket were some of the many things we enjoyed.

     

    DSC_6177 The beach!

     

    Inherently NYC, the US Open was one of our first field trips.  A remarkable event and great venue to unwind to as a group.

     

    IMG_6777 US Open

     

    We all love beer, so this year's first field trip was to Bitter and Esters. NYC’s only brew- on-premise beer shop. 19 gallons later we had a delicious, barnyardy saison.

     

    IMG_8430 Brewing at Bitter and Esters

     

    As KBBK grows I hope to explore the idea of Work Culture more and push the boundaries of what people know as their “work life.” If you find yourself in one of the many jobs that don’t offer such activities, create them yourself. Find the time in the day to give your mind and body a break from the stress that is put on all of us while we carve our way through life. If that is not possible leave! Find a place that allows you to thrive.

     

    Inspiration to find that sweet spot:

     

    Google

    Zappos

  • Caffeine and Kombucha, pt. 2 - Brewing Kombucha with High Caffeine

     

    Guayusa and yerba Guayusa and Yerba Mate, while not technically tea, are both traditionally consumed from a gourd

    If you've been following our blog series, you may have read my post about the highly energizing yerba mate. It's a tasty herb that makes excellent kombucha, and I usually blend it with white tea. Check it out here if you haven't already. Now, on to Brewing Kombucha with High Caffeine ...
     
    Misinformation abounds regarding the concentrations of caffeine in the various traditional tea varieties. Among the most prominently circulated holds that "lighter" teas, such as white and green teas, contain moderate amounts, whereas darker teas such as black, oolong and pu-erh will generally contain a greater amount of caffeine.

     
    The sheer complexity of the tea plant prevents anything but generalizations from being made. That said, if you have been privy to most of the data circulating regarding caffeine and teas, you likely have a different story than what closer inspection will reveal. I'll admit to acceptance of some of these thoughts as well - white tea is low in caffeine, right? And greens have much less than black tea? Wrong - for the most part.

     

    Young leaves mean higher caffeine

     

    Jade Dewdrops, Mao Feng, Black Iron Goddess Left to right: Jade Dewdrops (green), Mao Feng (green), Black Iron Goddess (black)

    The younger a tea leaf is when it is plucked, the higher the concentration of caffeine there will be. So, since green and white teas are made from the youngest parts of the plant, on the whole these leaves will be highest in caffeine. This will, then, be especially true of silver bud white tea, or any tea that contains buds, for that matter. This doesn't necessarily exclude black teas.

     

    This blog written by Nigel Melican was extremely helpful when I was trying to find out more regarding my favorite beverage and the caffeine therein. In it, Nigel debunks caffeine content myths and discusses the early pour-off method, thought (falsely) by many to decrease caffeine.

     

    Guayusa - cousin to yerba mate

     

    Another great tea-like herb that provides a lot of energy from caffeine is guayusa. Primarily grown in Ecuador, it is said to be consumed before and during hunting. Like yerba mate, it provides a clean energy boost without risk of "crashing" after the boost wears off.

     

    Guayusa, yerba mate, silver bud Left to right: Guayusa, yerba mate, silver bud white tea

    I love to make kombucha with it not only because of the physiological effects, but it also has a great flavor, not unlike rooibos. You could almost look at guayusa as a caffeinated rooibos, one I often describe as having an herbal cherry flavor.

     

    So, definitely consider this one when concocting your 'buch energy drink! Think probiotic coffee substitute. Many thanks to our friends at Runa for all the knowledge and tea.

     

    Remember pu-erh?

     

    Another tea to consider when making a high energy kombucha is a style called pu-erh. You may have read my blog post on pu-erhs posted back in March. If not, check it out here.

     

    Mi Lan Xiang Phoenix Mountain Oolong, and a Tibetan mushroom pu-erh Mi Lan Xiang Phoenix Mountain Oolong, and a Tibetan mushroom pu-erh

    While pu-erhs may not have the highest caffeine content, there's definitely a strength and energy that is really noted across the board with this style. So these make a great, boosting kombucha that also will be very medicinal and also have a unique taste.

     

    When endeavoring to make high-energy kombucha, look no further than yerba mate, guayusa, white and green (check out Jade Dewdrops - it's outstanding) teas, and pu-erhs. Of course other styles will still provide you with caffeine, but if you're looking to maximize, it's useful to look at these types.

     

    KBBK is making it easy to do this with our selection of teas, which now includes bulk yerba mate for 2, 4, or 6 brews.

     

    Until next time - consider brewing up a little something to get you jacked in the morning - that won't make your stomach writhe and your body crash. A healthier part of waking up ;-).

     

    An array of (mostly) teas arranged left to right, higher to lower caffeine An array of (mostly) teas arranged left to right, higher to lower caffeine
  • 'Buch on Tap July 2014

     

    Some quick updates from our 'Buch on Tap program -

     

    • After a long drought, Jasmine is back!
    • There was a short lapse in El Jefe, but it is available again.
    • In collaboration with Gotham GreensWatermelon is being reinvented - the next batch of this 'Buch on Tap will be available on 8/6. Get excited.
    • The next several batches of 'buch are set to be BOSS.

     

    In other news, we have new tin signs! They are absolutely gorgeous, and we are thrilled to be offering them to our accounts. Keep your eyes out for them!

    The Non-alcoholic Craft Option The Non-alcoholic Craft Option

    Current Flavors:

     

    • Jasmine - She's back! Smooth, light, and floral, this batch has minimal acidity. This is the 'buch everyone asks for by name.
    • Straight Up - Our signature blend of black, green and white teas
    • Kevin Bacon - Orange and Rose comprise this seasonal blend. Light, balanced, and very refreshing.
    • Watermelon - Fruit forward and delicious. Always a favorite.
    • El Jefe - Papaya puree dashed with lime, over a bounty of acids formed during fermentation. The result is a complex explosion of tropical flavors.

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  • Cooking with Kombucha: Bananas Brûlée with Mulberry Kombucha and Toasted Hazelnuts

     

     

    Cooking with Kombucha: Banana's Brûlée with Mulberry Kombucha

    This dish is fast becoming one of my favorite Cooking with Kombucha dishes. I first made it for Eric and Jessica Childs for their Kombucha! book launch at Book Court, back in November of 2013. It was really my first experience cooking with kombucha! I decided to revert to this recipe today, as it is the season for such light but really indulgent dishes. Texturally, its a delight. The banana is creamy maybe with a hint of starch, the burnt sugar and toasted hazelnuts good and crunchy, and the reduction permeates everything with a slightly cleansing astringency.

    Time needed: 30-45min

    Equipment needed:

    1 sharp, small knife and cutting board

    1 brûlée torch or other blowtorch

    1 hand-crafted banana leaf platter by Brooklyn artist Georgea Snyder; or something else presentable

    an oven, turned up high

    1 small metal sheet tray

    a couple of bowls, measuring equipment, and a spoon or two

     

    Cooking with Kombucha: Banana's Brûlée with Mulberry Kombucha

    Ingredients:

    2 bananas

    1/4 c white sugar

    1/4 c hazelnuts

    2 c M-Train (Mulberry Kombucha)*

    *you can substitute with your favorite kombucha, I find it works best with black-tea based 'buch. Feel free to add a packet of our Blueberry Ginger to your 'buch for that fruity excellence.

     

    Directions:

    First things to get a jump on are toasting your hazelnuts on a small sheet tray in the oven and reducing that mulberry kombucha in a sauce pot on high heat. Roast your nuts at around 400º-450ºF for 4-5 minutes, til light brown and the skins start to flake.

     

    Cooking with Kombucha: Banana's Brûlée with Mulberry Kombucha Peeling hazelnuts after roasting

     

    Remove any excess hazelnut skin by rolling them in a clean kitchen towel, or in your hands. Then crush them with the side of a knife, and chop 'em to Ice cream Sundae chunky sprinkle size, as shown below:

     

    Cooking with Kombucha: Banana's Brûlée with Mulberry Kombucha

     

    Remember to stir your reduction! You are looking for a good syrupy consistency, something good for drizzling.

    Next Step: Brûlée Bananas!

    At this point it is important not to start the brûléed bananas if your reduction is not ready, as the sugar will slowly soften if you wait too long. Once your reduction is ready, continue with the recipe.

     

    Slice your bananas in half, lay them out on something heat resistant, like the back of a sheet tray. Then liberally sprinkle white sugar on top. Some will sink in, but re-apply more to create a great crust.

     

    May I say oh la la ! We are close - but need to focus now - the next step is important as it makes getting them out later much much easier. Free the bananas from their skins and segment them in while keeping the skin whole.

    Now all you have to do is plate! If your reduction is ready to go, so are you. Drizzle on your mulberry kombucha reduction, then hit it with the nuts - in fact go nuts, it is the only rational thing to do. Stop, smile, take a photo and post it to our Facebook and eat! Tell us what you think. :)

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