Kombucha Brooklyn

  • Kombucha Cocktails - An Untapped Nexus

     by Billy Stewart

     

    We find ourselves in an interesting period of time. A time where information has become so prevalent that its inflated value is close to 0. The gap has been exponentially widening between information, knowledge and wisdom.

     

    As a result, many of us find ourselves turning to old traditions. Things that have survived the test of time. And thanks to this surge in information, once-lost processes are being reclaimed, dusted off and thrown into a new sea. And to float, it must be inflated with an air of enchantment, meaning, purpose.

     Kombucha cocktail

    What gets my oars rowing is consumable goods. I want to travel to distant lands with my palate, on the sails of fermentation, unlocking compounds hidden beneath the surface.

     

    Where so much is not real, I need something that I can taste, smell, feel, and vice versa. It should tell a story of the way things used to be; or the way things could still be, yet never were. I want to heighten my senses, and alter my perception. I am looking to experience a symphony of ethereal flavor.

     

    This is a call to those who craft such tangible commodities. People who have devoted a large portion of their professional life (discovered their vocation) to making something real, whether used for pleasure or health. But in my mind, that is a fine line not worth debating. Instead I would like to marry the two with Reverse Toxmosis. Change the future, because it is nothing; as it has not yet occurred. I cannot do it for you, but I will provide the platform. Kombucha cocktails. So backwards that it is upside down.

     

    Reverse Toxmosis

     

    4 oz straight up

    4 oz Kølsh

     

    mix, sip, repeat

     

    Bruchelada

     

    4 oz straight up

    4 oz gaffel kolsh

    2 oz kombucha breath of fire

    salt rim

    lime garnish

     

    rim, blend, garnish, sip at your own risk

     

    Jasmine Margarita

     

    2 oz tequila

    1 oz triple sec

    ½ oz simple syrup

    3 oz Jasmine Green Kombucha

    salt rim (optional)

    lime garnish

     

    a low calorie, delicious alternative to traditional margaritas

    You will be asking your local bartender for Kombucha in all of your Margaritas

     

    Hail Mary

     

    2 oz tequila

    2 oz kombucha breath of fire

    4 oz McClure’s Bloody Mary Mix

    kombucha vinegar pickled veg garnish

    *please enjoy all alcoholic cocktails at your own risk

    Non Alcoholic options

     

    Kombujito

     

    muddled mint, simple syrup, and lime zest

    6 oz Jasmine Green Kombucha

    strained over crushed ice

  • Kombucha! The Amazing Probiotic Tea That Cleanses, Heals, Energizes and Detoxifies

     

    Kombucha! Kombucha! will be released on November 5

     

    Our book has arrived and it is gorgeous! The colors, the drawings, the little section-header designs, the tiny Penguin-Avery icon on the spine, the foreword by Brendan Brazier…we are ecstatic. We will be shipping the pre-orders on Tuesday so the wait is almost over! And we’ll be partying like it’s our book party…oh wait, IT IS OUR BOOK PARTY! Nov. 9 – Book Court in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Come taste some kombucha kocktails and get your copy signed!

     

    Now let’s crack open a copy and see what’s inside. First, you’ll find a warm welcome into the healthy, energetic and inspired lifestyle of kombucha. In the intro, we share our personal stories with ‘buch and the story of our company and we give you a little map about what to expect in upcoming chapters.

     

    In Chapter 1, we answer all of the subquestions to the million dollar question:  “What Exactly Is Kombucha?” Questions like what’s in it, how much should I drink and where did it come from are answered in this section.

     

    Then, we get brewing! The next 4 chapters take an in-depth look at ingredients and materials and we go through the entire brewing and bottling process step-by-step. We even cover a wide variety of tried-and-true flavor combos that we think are spectacular!

     

    After we’ve brewed our ‘buch, what do we do with it? Well, you know you can drink kombucha, but did you know you can eat it too? Did you know you can detox while you toxify by mixing it up in your favorite kocktails? And lastly, learn all about how to use kombucha is beauty treatments so you glow on the outside like you do on the inside. The last three chapters of our book cover the multifarious nature of our favorite detox beverage. The Daily News recently photographed and wrote up some of our 'buch recipes here.

     

    Kombucha! Book Release Party November 9 @ Book Court in Brooklyn Come out and hang with the KBBK crew, meet the authors, and share a toast!

    After all of that, we send you off as ‘buch brigadiers to spread the word about kombucha and Kombucha Brooklyn. Be prepared to feel empowered. Be prepared to feel the love. Be prepared to LIVE, SIP, THRIVE!

     

    Table of Contents:

     

    Foreward by Brendan Brazier

    Introduction: Kombucha Your New Hot Roommate

    I.            What Exactly Is Kombucha?

    II.           The Kombuchman’s Grimoire: Essential Hardware And Tools

    III.         ‘Buch Kamp I: Brewing and Fermentation

    IV.         ‘Buch Kamp II: Bottling and Secondary Fermentation

    V.           ‘Buch Kamp II: A Higher Level of Taste and Knowledge

    VI.          Dining On Kombucha and SCOBYs

    VII.         Kombucha Kocktails

    VIII.        Kosmetics and Kombeauty

     

    Reserve your copy at AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-Million, IndieBound, or iTunes!

     

    Kombucha-ly yours,

    Jessica Childs

  • Kombucha with a Kick - Brewing Kombucha Wine Pt. 1

     

    It's no secret that kombucha contains alcohol. Albeit usually in trace amounts that the body is able to metabolize quickly, and you are none the wiser. People will say to me, even after drinking a 1 oz. sample at a market, that they've received a "buzz" from my kombucha, insisting that I'm trying to get them drunk. It's definitely not from alcohol.

     

    Kombucha wine Brewing kombucha wine

    I find it hard to believe that any beverage artisan wants consumers to feel anything but fulfilled from drinking their product. Not to suppose that inebriation forfeits assessment of flavor (though we can all see how this can be possible in extreme circumstances), but getting hammered on a fine microbrew or expensive bottle of wine to an extent cheapens its value as a thing carefully-sourced and produced. Nuances and layers of flavor are best appreciated in careful consideration, and on the whole I'd say the ability to ascertain subtleties towards the end of a sizable run of alcohol consumption becomes difficult, possibly only overcome through diligent practice and variation (during the session) in the type/style of beer, wine, etc. Perhaps differences in many varieties, during a stint at a wine or beer festival, become relative to each other, making discrimination easier.

     

    I'll state for the record that I've never become drunk on kombucha; if anything, after a long day of working at the market selling kombucha, and the requisite consumption of it that accompanies the event, I feel energized and content, with acute senses, perception and mobility that would assist me in anything from writing a research paper to driving across the country. I won't encourage anyone to drink that much kombucha (sometimes up to a gallon a day), but I'm definitely an aberrance in the field; not because I think kombucha is bad for you, but because I believe (and don't always practice) the "less is more" and "everything in moderation" approaches to consumption. Maybe 32 oz. a day feels good for you, maybe 4 oz. feels right. Maybe I want 2 liters.

     

    That Being Said

     

    You can make kombucha that contains a sizable amount of alcohol, akin to that of a standard American lager, and perhaps more (do experiment, please).

     

    There are definitely kombucha companies out there who have chosen not to control the amount of alcohol in their kombucha, and they should be commended, be it for better or for worse.

     

    There are also companies that have produced hybrids of kombucha and beer, with results ranging from 5-10% alcohol by volume. Whoa! Experimentation is the spice of life, and I'm happy these boundaries have been pushed.

     

    However - I would be hard-pressed to say that I've completely enjoyed any of the marketed high-alcohol kombuchas available. Obvious merits are in the realm of a sour beer, of which I do count myself a fan, but something really different happens in kombucha - kombucha contains bacteria; beer excludes all but a certain strain of yeast (that's why extreme sanitation and an airlock are used during the production of beers).

     

    The only way I've found to make palatable and delicious (appreciably) alcoholic kombucha is in brewing kombucha wine; I've achieved about 5.5% alcohol, with only a few caveats in flavor based on a few different factors.

     

    Airlocked kombucha wine Kombucha wine ready to ferment, with airlocks

    In upcoming posts, I'll describe my process of making kombucha wine, complete with suggestions and recipes - in the meantime, do some experimentation yourself! Don't wait for me to spell it out. I'll give you a hint - airlock, champagne yeast. Go!

  • The Rookie - My Hand at Kombucha Brewing

    by Cody Cardarelli, Photos by Emily Heinz

     

    The rookie's Kombucha Brooklyn kombucha brewing kit contents

    It's kind of strange being the new guy at Kombucha Brooklyn. It's not the world of 'buch that's new -- au contraire--, like many health foods shining their new appeal for the mass market, it's been a known commodity in Northern California for years. It is, rather, how close I've been to fermentation my entire life - from having a beer-brewing stepfather, to literally working across the hall from KBBK for the past 12 months. As I'd been stopping by nearly every day for some of the best R&D brews (and enjoying more than a few other types of fermented beverages after hours), it only made sense to join the team when the opportunity arose.

     

    rookie2

    I've had my hand in homebrew kit production for the last couple of months, so it was only natural when SCOBY Wizard Chris handed me a SCOBY and like a wise sage uttered, "It is time." While homework hasn't been in vogue for the years following my bachelor's, it became clear that if I was going to maintain the homebrew department of our business, I was going to have to take the plunge. I went home full of purpose and then… procrastinated for the next three weeks.

     

    Probiotic Date Night: Kombucha Brewing Part 1

     

    The other night, my girlfriend and I were homebound due to a full-scale manhunt in the neighborhood - hey, it gets hairy in the big city sometimes! While in desperate need of an activity, I found my poor unbrewed SCOBY sitting forlorn in the fridge. Well, there's no time like the present. I don't know if it was the romance in the air or the sound of a chopper flying overhead, but I was going to brew the hell out of this 'buch. So, I followed the kombucha brewing instructions on our site, and started to put the wheels in motion. Between twenty minutes of steeping our special blend, hunting for a reasonably-sized pot, and releasing the SCOBY into the smorgasbord of nutrients, our brew was soon finished. And honestly, it was pretty fun.

     

    The rookie's SCOBY and kombucha home brew

    Our box flatly states "If you can make a cup of tea, you can make kombucha," and that's absolutely true. Wish me luck for the fermentation process, and I'll let you all know how it goes.

     

    Happy brewing to all of my fellow 'buchfolk!

     

    Kombucha home brew ready to ferment

     

  • Sugar, Alcohol, and Kombucha Part 1

     

    All day long we tell people that kombucha is a “fermented tea,” but what does that really mean? I ask this question because there are a lot of assumptions that are made when the word “fermented” is used.

     

    Sugar Without sugar, there would be no kombucha!

    In reality, while kombucha is definitely a fermented beverage, it’s not only a fermented beverage. There are various other biological activities that take place inside your humble brew vessel.

     

    But when it comes down to it, regarding fermentation, most people want to know two things: the alcohol content and the amount of sugar in kombucha. These two facets of the drink are intertwined. In fermentation, the higher the initial (pre-fermentation) sugar content, the greater the potential for alcohol content. Fermentation is responsible for turning kombucha from super-sweet tea into the slightly sour, low-sugar beverage we all love - that’s because there are micro-organisms at work consuming and converting those initial sugars, among other things. That’s why your brew will become more acidic and less sweet as it progresses.

     

    Not only that, but every brew is different, and some of the various reasons why this is true would be laborious to measure. ‘Buch fermented on the East coast will be different than one fermented on the West coast, in different homes of the same city, etc., based on subtle differences - the spontaneous contributions of “wild yeasts” that will come into contact with your brew during preparation, pouring, or transference, variations in temperature, minute differences in microbe population of your SCOBY or starter, and the many qualities of the nutrient (or “nute,” the sweet tea that becomes kombucha). Those are just a handful, but it’s easy to consider even more - temperature, atmospheric pressure, available oxygen in your brewing area, ventilation, interrupted respiration from moving the vessel, proximity to magnetism, playing Mozart to your brew, and many others.

     

    When it comes down to it, considerations of sugar and alcohol in kombucha, while correlated, are still based on a number of other variables. This also makes it difficult to come to an across-the-board average on caloric content in kombucha when it’s not produced in absolutely consistent conditions, such as in a brewery or laboratory. But don’t let these considerations scare you away from brewing, it’s still as simple as ever.

     

    In subsequent blogs, I’ll flesh out more of the intricacies of sugar metabolism and inversion during kombucha production. In the meantime, throw back a homebrew, and consider becoming your own ‘buch researcher, and of course be sure to let us know what you find (easy to do with our ‘Buch Brewers’ Group on Facebook).

     

    Happy brewing!

  • 'Buching and Bending - KBBK at Wanderlust, VT


    Kombucha BrooklynTo me, one of the beautiful aspects of kombucha as a living and volatile being can be found in a basic biological inspection. Kombucha is the product of micro-organisms, a culture that produces the beverage seen bottled in grocery stores and natural markets, that results from the action of bacteria and yeasts. The acronym that’s been created for this type of biological phenomena is SCOBY - symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. Yeast and bacteria are involved in a symbiotic relationship, or long-term interaction, with each other, in which both benefit and thrive.

     

    Last week, driving towards Vermont’s Wanderlust Festival, as my kombucha cohort and I traversed winding mountain roads, appreciating shades of green we were sure were long absent from Brooklyn, something struck me about our journey and the days to follow. Something wholly fractal was happening. We, having been sent to distribute hundreds of gallons of fresh kombucha, were a minor part of the sustenance that thousands of festival-goers would receive during the 4-day fest. Others also brought their wares for trade and exchange - whether they be crystals, music, jewelry, tapestries, pizza, or knowledge.

     

    I would say generally that all festivals are gatherings which are hubs for the transformation and trade of energies, en masse. There are of course strong and lasting connections made in observance of the most basic of human necessities, such as food, drink, and social interaction - these create the lasting bonds that are the basis of a healthy organism. In having fortified this base of relative bounty and satiety, people flocked to yoga courses all across Stratton Mountain to contort their bodies, often painfully, for 90 minutes at a time, multiple times a day.

     

    It goes without saying that there’s some sort of irony afoot. The baseline at the festival was very easily set, the basic necessities of existence met. So, after the second day of the festival (and the dynamics of joy, gluttony and pain were successfully assimilated), I was left wondering - what’s the big picture? Is it enough for us to simply rekindle a too-long archaic sense of community and rejoice in calculated comforts and blessings of humanity? Is Wanderlust a reaction to a possibly more retracted existence, the Grand Daily Drudgery? Or is the hallmark of the festival, yoga, indicative of some other, less easily-defined facet of human desire and evolution?

     

    Brain Massage Didjeridoo artist Tyler Sussman of Didge Project heals a festival goer with a brain massage

    I came to somewhat of a conclusion after hours of serene meditation, body-straining poses and nigh-impossible stretches. In focusing our minds and bodies strictly on physical sensation, the clearing of the mind and the sharp awareness of our bodies, we achieve a clarity very difficult to achieve under normal circumstances. It became clear that yoga is not a practice whose sole purpose is in bodily health, toned appearance, or peer validation.

     

    The truest form of yogic effect is in the experiences that come when the mind-chatter of terrestrial existence is silent, when we are able to parlay the undistracted mind. As practitioners of yoga and as members of the human race, I realized we have a duty to explore and relay the discoveries of the subconscious mind; whether it be a profound realization of the absolute necessity of love, the ever-present flow and balance of subtle universal energies, or the observation and dissolution of boundaries. And, of course, this knowledge issues into appropriate action.

     

    We, like the culture of our beloved beverage, had acted out an exchange of energy and sustenance, for the wellness of the whole. Kombucha played a small but integral role, and like the other energies, set a standard of operation from which yoga-fied minds could catapult into the subtler, more imperceptible realms to attain clarity, enlightenment, or whatever was sought.

     

    As we packed up our booth at Wanderlust Vermont, finishing the last sips of Green River Ambrosia’s Liquid Sunshine, the sky darkened and it began to rain. Enlightened and now cleansed by the warm summer rain, our mission complete, I pondered the changes our collective experience would affect.

  • Alterna-tea-ves - Yerba Mate

    By Chris Strait

    It’s common practice today to associate all plant-based infusions with the word “tea,” leaving clarification to come from context. It is especially important, however, to delineate between the varieties of tea when speaking of kombucha brewing.

    mate_blog Yerba mate guampa alongside some yerba mate leaf

    Historically, the most common (and original) practice has been to use the evergreen Camellia sinensis (which is comprised of 3 main varieties I won’t explore now) in kombucha production. It’s responsible for the classics - teas like English breakfast, Earl Grey, Darjeeling, and Gunpowder green come immediately to mind. That is not to say, however, that the incredibly adaptable SCOBY is unable to grow from feeding upon certain herbal teas, some with homeopathic resonance, some with cultural lineage, some with both.

     

    Today I’d like to briefly explore yerba mate. A Holly-related tree grown predominantly in South American nations (Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil...), it was under cultivation prior to European contact and has maintained status as a daily staple for millions. In recent years, the popularity of mate has been spreading north, and it’s easy to understand why.

     

    The leaves of the yerba mate tree possess numerous benefits in health and practicality. It is, I’ll posit, a “comprehensive” stimulant; while providing modest amounts of caffeine, it also contains the stimulant alkaloids theobromine and theophylline, most commonly associated with cacao and coffee, respectively. What’s the result? Consistent stimulation without the jitters. This herb is downright powerful, without the almost requisite crash that comes from a coffee binge. It’s is a tea you can drink all day long - to no ill physical effect - while promoting clarity and balanced energy.

     

    Yerba mate’s health benefits are even more astounding. It’s useful to compare mate with green tea, its healthful counterpart among infused beverages. Mate is a great source for antioxidants like polyphenols, which are indicated to have immune-boosting and cell-strengthening properties. Paramount are the incredible number of minerals provided by the plant - potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, zinc - check out your daily multivitamin, do any of these ring a bell? Let’s not forget the ever-touted importance of naturally occurring sources of vitamins - mate contains A, B1, B2, B3, B5, C, and E, to name a few. In addition, yerba mate is a fantastic source of amino acids, flavanols, chlorophyll and fatty acids.

     

    That’s enough to have me interested. But there’s even more to consider. While it’s not hard to find yerba mate in tea bags, doling out 3-5 grams per cup,  traditional measurement and consumption is something much less quantifiable. Enter the gourd, a hollowed-out calabash, that is methodically filled and shared communally. The gourd, or guampa, or mate, is filled 2/3 full, which amounts easily to 20+ grams of material (in my fire gourd). After tempering the herb with cool water, the gourd is continually refilled with hot (not boiling) water, and consumed until the tea is too weak to continue. This method allows for much more of the nutrients to be passed on into the infusion, and allows you to control your nutrient/stimulant intake. Ahh, the freedom of loose-leaf. Combine loose-leaf mate with your stuffy old French press and you’ve got an incredibly simple, quick source of vitality and stimulation.


    That’s a basic introduction to the world of the yerba mate. One more thing. You can steep it with room-temperature water. In under 10 minutes. What are you waiting for?

  • Re-Thinking Kombucha Flavoring

    By Chris Strait

    Since my introduction to the world of fermented tea 7 years ago, it seems as if the “standard operating procedure” has been inclined towards post-fermentation flavoring. This has yielded a myriad of incredibly complex and delicious drinks, for sure. The creativity involved in such conjuration is one of the most enjoyable aspects of brewing kombucha.



    tea_blog An array of fine loose-leaf teas alongside a gaiwan

    But just like in food, the beverage world benefits greatly from the observance of simplicity. Every pot of chili, korma, etc. has its antipode in an onion, in kale, in almonds, etc. - unadulterated, unprocessed, additive-free - you get the picture. The equivalent impulse to simplify, in the realm of kombucha, involves an examination of the unavoidable essentials - sugar and tea.


    While I have extensive experience in brewing with relatively “standard” teas (English breakfast, white, gunpowder green, even yerba mate), the effects of kombucha fermentation on fine teas is relatively uncharted territory for me. What happens when you ferment a Dragonwell green tea, a fine oolong of Phoenix Mountain, the fine buds of Silver Needle white tea, or a Pu-erh? What I’m beginning to discover is a world of complexity and flavor I’ve never experienced in kombucha. Tastes of passionfruit, pineapple, coconut, chocolate - all flavors I would have added post-fermentation - and more - are completely attainable with careful tea choice, steeping and fermentation.

     

    This is just the beginning of a long road, paved with SCOBYs, with new discoveries at every turn. In upcoming posts I’ll examine the varieties of teas, their connection with the land (contributing terroir), the important influence of human processing, and their “kombuchatization.”

     

    So, stay tuned, get some ‘buch brewing, and let’s explore. It’s going to be an exciting journey.

  • Probiotic Salsa

     

    Feed this to your guests at your next summer party and watch how well every one 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 Komblossom.

     

     

    Ingredients for Jessica Child's Probiotic Salsa

     

    • 5 Tomatoes, 4 of them chopped*
    • ½ cup pineapple or 1 ear of corn (optional)
    • 1 Onions, chopped
    • 1 clove Garlic, finely chopped
    • ½ bunch Cilantro, chopped
    • ½ cup Kombucha Culture, chopped
    • 1 Lime
    • 2 Whole Jalapeno Peppers
    • Salt
    • Pepper

     

    Directions

     

      1. Roast the jalapeno. It’s summer, so you might have a grill going. If so, plop your peppers 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 or flame and rotate as necessary until all sides are charred. 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. Put the chopped tomatoes into a nice bowl. 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. Add three quarters of all ingredients except the jalapenos and limes. 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.
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