Tag Archives: kombucha

  • 'Buch on Tap: Fall 2014


    As we dip into cooler temperatures and slip into warmer clothes, 'Buch on Tap has followed suit by providing our loyal customers delicious treats, both old and new.

     

    One of my favorite things is to see perennial flavors make their first appearance at new accounts. Just like the months differentiated by years, while the weather may be similar, the foliage is never exactly the same.

     

    Kombucha Brooklyn is in almost 50 accounts - Be sure to keep an eye on our Tap Map! It's constantly being updated as we continue to grow.

     

     

    Newest Accounts

     

     

    OG Perennial Flavors

     

    Big BlueCha leads the pack as a flavor to help carry you into fall. This recipe consists of blueberry and cinnamon. We have had it for over a month now and it has been turning heads like NYC models walking the streets after fashion week.

     

    Concord has made a big impression, and is currently the most popular flavor. Tannic and bright, yet leaving plenty of room for the Dragonwell Tea to come through. This flavor is going to be around for a while.

     

    T H E F U T U R E I S N O W H E R E

     

    We have returned with another installment of Kombucha with Premium Brewing Tea. This time, we are debuting Phoenix Mountain. It is made with a Dan Cong (meaning one bush) Oolong, heralding from the Guangdong province of China.

    Kombucha Brooklyn helps get you there Kombucha Brooklyn gets you there

    Phoenix Mountain is an exceptional showcase for the tea, which quite simply tastes like peach blossoms. On the surface, this is a delicious refreshing brew for customers. And just beneath, a story that tells itself with every sip.

     

    Dry Hop has been released into the wild! Featuring whole cone, Cascade hops from Wrobel Farms in Bridgewater, NY. The floral and citrus notes add a complementary body to this 'buch, with no bitterness from the long low temperature steep.

     

    KBBK's 'Buch on Tap is the non-alcoholic craft option for NYC. Ask for us on tap at your favorite spots - from beer halls, to cafes, or even at your office. We have a burgeoning corporate program to keep you fueled through the work day.

     

    Kombucha Brooklyn gets you there --

  • 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!

  • Watermelon Kombucha Salad with Ajo Blanco

     

     

    Watermelon Salad with Ajo Blanco (Spanish White Gaspacho) and kombucha

    Will Donnelly | June 2014
    Watermelon Salad with Kombucha Ajo Blanco

     

    Yield: 8

    This bountiful salad is a wonderful Spanish / American cuisine blend that I recently created and would love to share. Ajo Blanco is a very old-school Spanish chilled garlic and almond soup. It's rich and creamy, though inexpensive and dairy-free. Usually this Gaspacho is served with green grapes or melon, which gives this blended soup pops of crisp crunchy texture and ever-so sweet grape fragrance, which is what got me thinking about watermelon. Start by making your Ajo Blanco, as you will need to cool it in the fridge before serving. If you are up for it, let it stand overnight in the fridge to really get the flavors working

    Ingredients

    Ajo Blanco

    • 225 grams blanched almonds (roughly a cup)
    • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and cored
    • 75 grams good white bread or stale baguette soaked in water
    • 750ml (3+ Cups) Iced water
    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 3 tablespoons Sherry Vinegar
    • salt and pepper to taste

     

    Watermelon Salad

    • 1/8th large watermelon
    • 1 washed cucumber
    • 1 juicy tomato
    • 1/2 bunch cilantro
    • 2 tablespoons kombucha vinegar (long fermented kombucha)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Directions

    Start by making your Ajo Blanco, as you will need to cool it in the fridge before serving. If you are up for it, leave it in the fridge overnight  to really let the flavors meld.

    Ajo Blanco:

    1. Blend your almonds in a food processor until they are as quite fine (3-4 minutes). You may need to push them back into the bowl with a rubber spatula as they clump and climb up the sides.
    2. slowly add 1/3 cup of the iced water into the food processor.
    3. Squeeze the bread of excess water and add to the mix.
    4. At this point, add your garlic. If you have a mortar and pestle, use it! Mash your garlic with a bit of salt into a frothy pulp, then add to the soup.
    5. Add the vinegar and the olive oil, salt and pepper, and the rest of the water.
    6. If there is too much water for your mixer, you can transfer the soup into a large bowl and stir in the rest with your spatula there.
    7. Be aware that the bread may make the soup quite stodgy. If it is so, keep adding ice water until the soup is nappe consistency, or just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
    8. reserve and cool in the fridge.

     

    Watermelon Salad:

    1. Peel stripes off your cucumber leaving some skin in tact.
    2. Cut the cucumber in half, and dice it as finely as possible. Add to a small mixing bowl.
    3. Take the other half, stand it up on your cutting board, and carefully cut a long, skinny, angular wedge. Then rotate the cucumber a bit and make the same angled cut. Continue to do this (imagine you are carving a large cucumber spear) until you have no more cucumber. This process is very similar to a roll cut or angled roll cut. Place this cucumber into separate medium mixing bowl.
    4. Wipe down your cutting board, then halve and core your tomato. Fine dice the entire thing and transfer into the small mixing bowl.
    5. Now cut the watermelon into 1.5 inch slices, and clean it of the rind and any white pith. take your end wedge (smallest piece), small dice and add to the rest of the finely diced mix.
    6. Add salt, pepper, 1 Tbsp 'buch vinegar (if you don't have 'buch vinegar you can use champagne or white vinegar) and 1Tbsp olive oil to the small mixing bowl and give it a quick toss.
    7. Take the remaining watermelon pieces and cut off long 'shingles', about a centimeter thick. This will give you a nice piece of watermelon where you can get to the seeds and remove them, and then cut it into long, angular wedges. Add this to the medium mixing bowl.
    8. Add the rest of the 'buch vinegar and olive oil to your medium mixing bowl and lightly toss with a bit of salt and pepper.

    Final Steps

    1. Wash, dry and pluck your cilantro into large plushes.
    2. Pour your Ajo Blanco into your serving bowl (s)
    3. Spoon on top your small dice mix, then arrange your large-cut mix ontop, vertically.
    4. Finish with sprinking your cilantro on top!
    5. Enjoy the taste of summer :)

     

  • Has my SCOBY gone bad? Correct Kombucha Brewing Temperatures and more

     

    For many first time brewers, receiving a warm SCOBY culture in the mail on a hot summers day can be disconcerting. “Shouldn’t live kombucha cultures be kept cold? How long has this been in the mail for? Is this SCOBY safe to brew with?”

     

    Propagating Kombucha Cultures KBBK's tried and true propagation system. No mold, no flies; no fuss, no muss!

    These understandable concerns can cause undue worry and frustration. You’ve patiently waited for your package to arrive, and are eager to start brewing – or you just got back from vacation to find out your kit has been sitting on the porch for days! What a shame it would be if your baby SCOBY had frittered away in your absence.

     

    Except in rare case of extreme weather conditions, SCOBYs will be totally OK to brew with if they have been out for a bit.

    The combination of the acidic nature of the nutritional liquid the SCOBY sits in and the bag’s airtight seal keeps mold and other ‘buch invaders at bay. The bigger issue at hand, as foreshadowed above, is extremely high or low temperatures that will either cook the culture (85º through 90ºF) or start to destroy its complex cell structure if it starts to freeze.

    SCOBY TEMPURA! Although Extremely hot temperatures are detrimental to your culture's health, they are also really tasty. Above is our SCOBY TEMPURA!!

     

    Remember! This is a living culture, and is not unlike humans in this way. Too hot and we sizzle up, too cold and the damage can be irreversible.

    KBBK propagation tent. KBBK's Propagation tent - kept warm with a mini-heater, and clear of dust or flies with a carbon air filter.

    Mid-70º’s to 80º's though, is the ticket. Give us a warm day and a nice breeze (SCOBYs love breezes, it keeps the flies away) and next thing you know we are all getting stuff done during the day and staying up all night. Just like the SCOBY.

     

    BETTER WARMER THAN COOLER:

    Kombucha is a stable beverage due to it's acidic nature, and its acidity is dependent on the plethora of pro-biotic bacteria having a warm environment to create acids like Glucaric and Gluconic acid, Acetic acid, Caprylic and Butyric acid.

    If your brew is below 70ºF, you run the risk of not maintaining a stable pH environment and expose your brew to mold!

     

    What the fridge is great for:

    Keeping your culture cold (~40ºF) when you are taking a brewers break.

    • Simply set your culture in a cup (depending on how big it is, you may want to add more or trim your SCOBY) of kombucha in a glass or ceramic bowl, cover it, and set it to the back of your fridge.
    • There it will hibernate, as its metabolic rate slows into a state of low activity.
    • You can keep it there for a couple months at a time, but it's best to give it a quick refresher every couple of weeks with a little jolt of fresh tea and sugar.

    Bottle Conditioning!

    You can also vintage your kombucha in the fridge for great lengths of time - the flavor can be as complex and delicious as great wine. Just remember:

    •  Use a bottle / cap with a good seal
    •  Label what your brew is, and what ingredients you used
    • Date it
    • Resist temptation! if you open it early on, you will loose some excellent fizz. Save it until you are ready to drink most of it.
    • Enjoy!

     

  • How to Brew Kombucha : A day by day Analysis

    Day 1:How to Brew Kombucha

    To the right is my fresh brew! The tea and sugar has steeped and dissolved, and we have added the culture (floating in the background). We will be following it over the next couple days to see how a typical kombucha brew progresses.

     

    As your brew ferments, you will notice changes in the nute (nutritional starter). Most notably will be the formation of the new "baby SCOBY on the surface. This process begins in most brews between twenty-four and seventy-two hours.

     

    Small white patches will begin to form on the surface of the liquid, independent of the SCOBY you put in there. The first few days are an uneasy time for new brewers, and the new growth of SCOBY is often misconstrued as mold. For more info about mold, check here at our Brew FAQ.

     

    Day 2:

    We are still at the dawn of our ferment and must be patient. My starter SCOBY has floated back up which is totally OK ( so is a sunken SCOBY). It is very important during these early stages not to disturb or otherwise agitate the kombucha; one small wave can sink new formations, which slows the primary acidification process and increases the risk of mold.

     

    At this point you may have some questions or just want to know more on how to brew kombucha. What better way to learn-and-brew than dive into a good read? See our selection of brewing books here.

     

    I highly suggest for beginners our company's co-founder written book Kombucha! It's where a good chunk of this blog's body comes from. And for people who would like to expand their know-how on all other things fermented, I suggest The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz; a Michael Pollan / Harold McGee scientific break-down on all that bubbles. True Brews by Emma Christensen, on the other hand, is a beautifully laid out guide on how to make and tastily enhance all that bubbles: cider, soda pop, beer, wine, sake, soda, mead, kefir, kombucha, and fruit wines.

     

     

    Days 3-4:

    SCOBY formation: As the culture matures, these spots of new growth will become thicker and wider, eventually joining together and becoming one whole party. Wheee! SCOBY Party! Give your brew a sniff - it is important to know the smells as well as the sights of your brew as it transforms.

     

     

    Day 5:

    Kombucha yeast Only Yeast! Nothing to worry about.

    See KBBK SCOBY-power in action! that's a lot of growth in just five days. Your brew may not be here just yet, so you may need to give it an extra day or two. So, it has formed it's signature celluloid patty, the SCOBY. If you do not see anything resembling the SCOBY in these pictures, you may be in trouble - ambient temperature could be too low and is slowing the culture's metabolism, or other brewing issues may have arisen. If you see dark patches or strange tentacle looking formations such as in the inset picture above, no need for alarm. This is just spent yeast, a natural bi-product of the fermentation process.  See our Brew FAQ for more info. Again, keep your brew covered! From the pictures it may seem that this is an open-air ferment, but it is just for visual reference.

     

     

     

    Day 6:

    Taste your Brew: When the new baby SCOBY has spread across the entire surface of your brew and started to thicken, you should give your 'buch a taste. This will usually be in the three- to six-day range but can take longer depending on the strength of your culture, how long you have been brewing in that location, the type of tea and sugar used, and the temperature. Lots of changes have already occurred in your brew at this point and the flavor will give you an idea of how much longer you will want to brew your ferment. Just make sure that if you dip something into your 'buch, it is clean.

    As long as your brew is healthy and progressing normally, it's always safe to drink from the nute stage all the way through to vinegar.

    Some ideas on how to get a sip:

    • Stick a straw under the surface of the SCOBY
    • Use a clean shot glass to gently push the SCOBY down and scoop a little from the surface
    • Use a Thief! These are the professional brewers sampler. (Available here)

    A pH indicator measures the activity of hydrogen ions in a solution. The more free-floating hydrogen ions there are, the lower pH will be, indicating a higher acid profile. For the kombrewer with pH indicator strips, your buch will be ready on the sweet side at a pH of 3.1 and on the sour side at a pH of 2.7.

     

     

    Days 7-9:

    Behold, the magic of fermentation! You have just learned how to make kombucha. Millions of microorganisms in the SCOBY are happily feeding off of sugars and tea nutrients, breaking down alcohols, and multiplying. This pro-biotic adventure has come full circle.

    Unfortunately due to an accident, the jar broke before I could take a side shot. The second photo above is from a different brew, but is a similar and healthy SCOBY.

    When to bottle: Your brew, although young, is complete. Most one-gallon brews kept around 78ºF will have a nice balance of sweet and sour flavors at nine days. I like to bottle at about seven days in my kitchen when there is a little more sweetness than I would want to drink. This ensures that there will be enough sugar to produce effervescence in secondary fermentation after bottling. If you haven't yet picked up bottling equipment, I highly suggest our Pro-Bottler Package, it's six 32oz Amber Growlers, a brewers must-have Auto-siphon, and a mixed flavor pack with enough goodies to flavor all six of those Growlers.

    DSC_5824

    Whether you bottle your 'buch for some extra bubble or just pour out a cup straight-up, it's time to enjoy the pro-biotic and fizzy goodness that is home-brew kombucha. Feel it's not complete without a snazzy Kombucha Brooklyn Highball glass? Go ahead and deck out your glassware collection.

    Happy Brewing!

    Will

  • Re-Thinking Kombucha Flavoring, pt. 2: Pu-erh, Caviar of Teas

     

    In Part 1, I discussed the use of teas alone as a basic and powerful method of kombucha flavoring. Now, I'd like to take a look at one variety of tea that often gets overlooked in the West...

     

    Among the most alluring aspects of tea is its ability to elicit the sensation of feeling like you are somewhere else, in time or space. It can, beyond words, call forth a sort of sensory tableau, akin to déjà vu.

     

    The sensory details of each day's occurrences are connected by our experience, and accrue as a sort of personal encyclopedia. These details inform and even alter the manner with which we perceive our world and recall our personal history. And in the same way our minds build perceptions and experiences into memory, so can our minds retrieve memory (or illusion) from similar sensations and events. These can include cues such as sights, smells, sounds, feelings etc.

     

    Chinese pu-erh - kombucha flavoring Chinese pu-erh

    Not only is the flavor, body and aroma of a tea an immediate sensory experience, but it also can call forth recollection and imagination. Consider this as I talk about one of the most alluring, evocative and enigmatic of them all - pu-erh.

     

    Pu-Erh, Caviar of Teas

     

    When you drink a pu-erh, a (dry) fermented, aged, tea, a whole host of impressions can be stimulated in striking fashion. You might re-experience acute sensations you’ve had in the forest -  the smell of sweet notes of earth, tree bark and mushrooms - along with a little stimulation, possibly from the surprise nature of revelatory sensation, like a rush of adrenaline. These flavors sound strange to find in a tea - but pu-erhs are as complex and nuanced as a fine scotch whiskey - as a memory itself. And like caviar, pu-erhs are highly revered - but can also be polarizing.

     

    What’s this have to do with kombucha?

     

    In fermenting a fine tea, you’re supercharging its nutritive potential, contributing to its flavor, and of course making it additionally refreshing (with refrigeration and carbonation from a nice bottle conditioning). Pu-erhs are considered highly medicinal - supposedly helpful in weight loss, cholesterol reduction and cleansing the blood. At KBBK, we love to drink pu-erh kombucha to give us a great boost of energy, detoxify our bodies, and provide a very unique and conversational experience.

     

     Types of Pu-erh

     

    Imperial Pu-erh Imperial Pu-erh

    Pu-Er was the name of a Chinese town of antiquity which was known for being a center of commerce from which this type of tea was regularly exported. Of pu-erhs there are two distinct categories - the one photographed above is a "shu," or ripe pu-erh. Specially conditioned to recreate long-aged teas, it is "cooked" - tea handlers essentially compost the leaves in a very controlled environment. Tea producers began to utilize this process to attempt to satisfy the high demand for aged pu-erhs - the original, singular style of pu-erh - until the "cooking" process was developed in the late 20th century. While in cooking the result isn't exactly the same as you would achieve through aging, it creates, no less, a very distinct and unique product that isn't really so far off from "sheng" pu-erhs.

     

    Sheng pu-erh from 1992, kombucha flavoring Sheng pu-erh from 1992

    Sheng pu-erhs are considered raw - the tea is not composted or fermented quickly, but over time and through closely-guarded methods. This is a style of the old days, long pre-dating the Mongol invasion of China, and it is still considered an integral part of the culture. It is well known among enthusiasts that the best pu-erhs are consumed after decades of aging. The one pictured above has seen nearly a quarter of a century pass.

     

    In our experience, longer-aged sheng pu-erhs are much mellower and less astringent than are younger examples of the style (though still remaining enigmatic, startling, and delicious).

     

    Bamboo-aged pu-erh, pu-erh knife, and a pu-erh cake Bamboo-aged pu-erh, pu-erh knife, and a pu-erh cake

     

    Pu-erh Kombucha

     

    However, when we are brewing our pu-erh teas into kombucha, we need not worry about bitterness. This is due to the unique ability of the culture to eliminate the tannic bitterness you might notice in a tea before fermentation. So, out of a pu-erh kombucha you are left with a complex, highly medicinal and refreshing beverage, a giant and healthy SCOBY; not to mention a chance to step into a distant memory or illusion elicited by the tea's terroir, processing, and especially in the case of pu-erhs, age.

     

    Silver Bud Pu-Erh Silver Bud White Pu-Erh

    If this sounds enticing, you simply must taste for yourself. A great place to start exploring pu-erh kombucha is with our office favorite, the sheng Silver Bud White Pu-erh. While usually made from older leaves, this unique variety has been made with the buds of the tea tree. And while only aged for 11 years, you'll notice a distinct fruitiness in this tea that is strongly reminiscent of sweet prunes, tobacco and honeydew. For a convincing pu-erh brew, look no further, and remember - this is kombucha flavoring at its simplest and most effective. So, brew up some pu-erh kombucha, sip with your eyes closed, and see where the tea and your imagination can take you!

  • Pomegranate-Kombucha Apple Sauce

    Afternoon y'alls! It's been blowing a two-foot-deep tundra sideways here, and it's time to offset this bone biting chill with some GOOD FOOD! So lets get started on some mind blowing Pomegranate-Kombucha Apple Sauce, perfect with cracked oatmeal and homemade yogurt.

    DSC_5367

     

     

     

    Time required: 3-4 Hours (pot watching mostly)

    Other requirements: Pomegranate-Kombucha (see below)

    Difficulty: Easy / Medium

     

    Note- you can start your apple sauce with the pomegranate kombucha first, and then add the caramel later when you've finished it. This may shorten the time required.

    Ingredients:

    • 12-15 Apples, preferably Honey Crisps
    • 2 Cups of Pomegranate-Kombucha (optional until you try it with. :)
    • 1 Cup White Sugar
    • 3 Cups Water
    • 1 tsp (teaspoon) Salt
    • 1 tbsp Cinnamon
    • 1 tbsp Ground ginger
    • 1 tbsp Allspice
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    •  1/2 tsp clove
    • love

    Instructions:

     

    Pomegranate-Kombucha: Makes  2 Quarts +

    Follow our instructions here for 1/2 Gallon our Basic, Straight-Up Kombucha.

    Depending on your judgement on their flavor, and final amount of juice, add either 1.6 fluid ounces of Pomegranate Concentrate (found at health food stores, organic is best) OR  juice from a freshly squeezed pomegranate, to your now finished kombucha. Reserve 2 cups of Pom-'Buch for this recipe.

     

    Caramel Syrup: Read through before starting

    DSC_5358DSC_5361DSC_5362DSC_5365

    • Please: take any and all necessary precaution with any syrup production, as this stuff gets really hot.
    • Add 1 cup of sugar to a (very important) SQUEAKY CLEAN and DRY sauce pot.
    • Boil 2 Cups water in a kettle or separate pot while you ...
    • Turn heat to Med-High, and let your sugar start to melt.
    • Once your sugar melts, with a metal whisk (or spoon as I forgot mine), whisk any left over sugar clumps to make a uniform syrup.
    • You will now cook the syrup until it goes a medium orange / brown, and then turn off the heat so that after cooling, your syrup will be a lovely and deep caramel color.
    • As its still bubbling and cooling off, add your 2 Cups of boiling water all at once and WHISK! Beware: this is hot enough to scald you so be careful! Do not add the water too slowly because the sugar will vaporize a small amount of water and splatter it on you, where as if it all goes in at once, it will cool down the sugar much quicker and make this a safer operation.
    • Did you do it? Well Done! Pat yourself on the back. Now onto..

    The Apple Sauce

    • Quickly rinse and peel any stickers off your Apples, then pat dry with a cloth.
    • Cut the Apples in half vertically, then vertically half again.
    • with a small pairing knife, core out the quarter slices.DSC_5366
    • Small dice your apples.
    • Place your Apple dice into a pot with at least 2-3 inches space at the top.
    • Add all your spices and salt, Caramel Syrup, and 2 Cups of Pomegranate Kombucha to the pot and give a good stir.
    • Cook on Medium Heat until soft, then low for as long as it takes to cook the residual liquid off.

     

    You've finished your Pomegranate-Kombucha Apple Sauce! Well done. I love it on its own, or as pictured above on top of cracked oatmeal porridge with a dollop of yogurt and sliced apple.

    -Will Donnelly

     

  • An Introduction to Cooking with Kombucha

     

    As this is the first of many posts I will write about food, cooking and kombucha, I thought it may be enriching for the reader to understand more about what food is and has made us, where what we know has come from, and why we eat what we eat now.

     

    Food, in its simplicity is what nourishes our biological needs, stoking the fire so that we may be so lucky as to spend our time pursuing dreams and attending other needs. What we now enjoy as food comes a long way from its wild, dangerous and unmapped origins. A Chicken-Parm Hero really is haute cuisine when you think about it, but times have changed and along with it our palates, our expectations.

     

    When cooking, one manipulates food so we can either enjoy it or digest it better. It quickly becomes apparent that knowledge of chemistry, biology and technique is going to help you greatly in this vast world of crafting a meal. Attempting to put out an oil fire with water, eating the wrong mushroom, rubbing an eye after cutting peppers are mistakes not soon made again. And although edible, over seasoning, under cooking and burning your food are all roads best not taken. So, we have to understand our food; a process that has happened at times only long after we have made it. Ceviche, dried meats, curing onions or smoked salmon are all things that worked, and only later when we had the time after a lush meal to think why, did we figure it out.

     

    Over hundreds of thousands of years our bodies have adapted to cooked food. It has been evolutionarily advantageous not to spend your energy chewing and digesting, but changing what you eat so that it may better feed you. When you marinate a steak, acids help break down the fats and proteins. As you place it on a seasoned grill, the intense heat denatures the protein further. It also helps make the food safer, killing off surface bacteria.  This allows us to get the most out of our food as we absorb nutrition from broken down proteins or fibers much, much better. It is why we cook, and why we have to cook.

     

    Kombucha, among many things, is an acid.

                                                              Cook your Kombucha!

     

    Generally it is a tart and slightly fizzy, not much unlike a cider or champagne. Fermenting different teas, for different periods of time, and finishing the process with fruits or other flavorings all alter the unique flavor. The range of terroirs, ambient temperatures, water composition, and handling techniques of Chinese and Japanese tea gives kombucha a large palette to paint with. If you can take all that into consideration, the kombucha you can brew is vast. What you can do with that brew is even more varied – why not marinate your favorite grilled goods with a rich and tangy black tea kombucha vinegar reduction? Or let a mango slaw sit in a peachy white tea kombucha overnight? This light ferment will alter the flavors just a bit, and may impart just the right fragrance. Yum!

     

    I've cooked for many years, and with most things, it is easiest to start simple. Don't worry about the above mentioned terroirs or water composition of where your tea comes from. Most palates don't ever even taste the difference, and if you are cooking it later, that nuance may not even be apparent. Instead, start with kombucha vinegar! Most of us end up making it because we forget to tend to our brew - so instead of throwing it away, substitute your apple cider or white vinegars with your new tea vinegar. Again, kombucha can be a great component for a marinade, or even a ceviçhe. Once you feel comfortable with that, why not reduce it, touch it up with sugar and drizzle it over green tea ice cream? There are many, many possibilities for an adventurous cook when it comes to cooking with kombucha. And we haven't even begun to talk about working with the culture itself!

     

    For some recipes to get you started, take a look here - http://www.kombuchabrooklyn.com/cooking-with-kombucha

     

    If you have any suggestions or questions please drop us a comment and I'll try to answer as best I can. - Will

  • My First Brew - Lessons Learned by a Kombucha Brewer

    by Cody Cardarelli

    Hey folks!

     

    Last time we chatted, the police were chasing a suspect across my roof in Bushwick, and my first brew was being steeped. After waiting for my SCOBY to form, thicken and fully ferment, I can safely say that I had a brew's worth of probiotic… well, vinegar.

     

     

    This first-time kombucha brewer was devastated. I had just spent an hour trying to tip my jar into appropriate sized-funnels and spilling the lab experiment gone wrong all over the floor. And there I was, trying to convince myself and my girlfriend that the kombucha wasn't an unmitigated disaster, while my roommates gave the familiar and equally reassuring notion that it wasn't, "that bad." I followed our instructions to the letter, and I came into work asking the usual questions such as "Why hasn't my baby SCOBY started forming yet?" or "What's that strand hanging off of my baby?" How could I have gone wrong?

     

     

    The truth was, I was in the throes of what I like to call: New Brewer's Syndrome, or NBS. After spending so much time fretting about the specifics of my brew, I'd forgotten that SCOBYs themselves are weird, resilient, alien little things that only need time and a bit of attention.

     

     

    So the next time around, I knew the score. My big healthy vinegar SCOBY mocked and cackled, while I whipped up its sugar slurry of a dinner. I placed my antagonist in its jar of broken dreams and waited. This time, however, I avoided NBS and made a well-balanced brew. For all of my fretting from before, I wasn't paying attention to the taste during the fermentation process!

     

     

    After 4 days when I started noticing activity in my jar, I used a thief to monitor the taste of my brew. After 7 days, it was finally perfect and the road to victory was within reach. This time around, I also avoided the joke that was my previous bottling process and used an auto siphon. This simple instrument saved me a massive headache, and made my brew move like a dream.

     

    Thief and auto-siphon Thief, left; Auto-siphon, right.

     

    With pride I returned to the KBBK office with a growler of my homebrew. The  flavor was even, it wasn't too sweet, and it lacked the funk of some homebrew I've had in the past. This wasn't my first cup of 'buch by a longshot, but it was far and away the most satisfying. My sensei, Chris, nodded with acknowledgment.
     

    Probiotic Date Night Pt. 2

     

    When life hands you probiotic vinegar, you make probiotic vinegarade, or salad dressing! After failing to convert my brew with secondary fermentation containing primarily crystalized ginger, Emily and I used the final bottle of vinegar with a nice Spanish olive oil and some minced garlic in a salad. The vinegar has a nice bite-y tart, and at least we were able to reap the 'buch benefits from this wayward brew.

     

    Happy brewing!

  • Kombucha Brooklyn Community

    By Kim M.

     

    In my short time at KBBK I have been impressed with the strong sense of community there is here.  I am interested in nurturing those relationships and furthering the reach of our community to include an even wider array of wonderfully talented people and amazing companies to become part of the Kombucha Brooklyn family.  We have added Rolling Press, a fabulous Brooklyn-based, eco-friendly printer, who printed our beautiful book party invites and valued customer cards.  Not to mention the lovely people at Book Court who hosted our book launch and made it an evening to remember.

    Kombucha! Launch event at Book Court Kombucha! Launch event at Book Court

    The after party was amazing and wouldn't have been possible without the generosity of our good friends at 61 Local, thank you!!!

     

    KBBK After-party at 61 Local After-party at 61 Local

    We are also very excited about the start of our monthly in-house yoga sessions, taught by the fabulous Ms. Jessa Messina, founder of Yoga for the Average Jo.

     

    Yoga at KBBK Yoga at KBBK

    And last but not least we are thankful for the strong ties we have right here at home in the Pfizer building where we host our monthly happy hour (1st Tuesday monthly, come one come all!).

     

    Happy Hour at KBBK Happy Hour at KBBK
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