Sincerely, Kombucha – Part 5
Over the nine days that the scoby happily sat in its bath of tea and sugar, it doubled in size every 24 hours. And to my amazement, the dark amber liquid had turned into a lovely honey-coloured tea that looks a lot like a honey pale ale.
And when no moldy bits appeared, I felt a nerdy sense of accomplishment in being able to brew it all by myself.
Everyday I peered at it (several times a day, actually), and many times with Stephen hanging over my shoulder, still making a sour fish-faced look and scrunching his shoulders. Funny that he kept on leaning in for a closer look.
“I saw it move!” he once exclaimed with a fascinated fear rippling across his face.
I told him it was merely gases from the ferment. Every now and then a few edges of the scoby to lift slightly and make it look as if it were having a teeny belch. He looked very dubious, glancing at the jar on the counter as if he expected it to leap forth and whisper “Boo!”
With much fanfare, in my mind anyway, the day came that I finally got to bottle my first batch of home-brewed kombucha.
I felt a kind of excitement that most vegans reserve for a really gooey icing-slathered cinnamon bun.
I proudly surveyed my 10 bottles – yes, 10! – and reminded myself not to snarf them all down and find myself between batches and bereft of kombucha.
As my friend Michelle would say, I am such an addict. But Michelle is also in line for the first of the scoby babies. My subversive plan has worked, heh heh!
The morning after I’d bottled my treasure, I proudly waved a bit of it in front of Stephen, who was a lot less excited than I was about it.
“Look hon, I have kombucha!”
Que another dubious look.
“Come on, have a tiny sip,” I crooned, slinking ever closer with the bottle.
“Not right now, hon,” he replied as he glanced sideways between me and the bottle. His look of revulsion was priceless.
“Just a little one? Please?” I laughed.
His voice rose and he squeaked “No, hon! Not this morning!”
He leaned away out of his desk chair with an expression that I imagined would be akin to the one I’d get if I’d told him I dropped his toothbrush in the toilet.
This morning, I tried again. I waved another bottle in front of Stephen and asked him to try just the tiniest sip.
“Just one sip. It’s really not that bad.”
He turned to me, examined the bottle, took it from my hand and said, “Can you get a glass of water ready?”
I returned with the water.
He sniffed at the kombucha.
“It smells like rotting food.”
It’s pungent, yes, but like apple cider, not like something truly gone bad.
Careful to put his lips only on the edge of the bottle’s opening, he raised it and took a sip. I watched with a grin plastered across my face.
The sip was so small he could have filled thimble with it.
As I knew he would, he scrunched up his face, and leaped for the water. He needed two glasses of water to wash it down.
“I’m done,” he gasped, “You can’t bug me about this ever again.” The sour fishy-face was back.
Smacking his lips slightly, he admitted, “That stuff’s nasty, but it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. I’m still not drinking it though.”
“You know what would be funny?” I mused, “If you wanted to play a trick on someone when they’re asleep, you could put a scoby on their face.”
“That would be awful! That person would wake up thinking they were in one of the Alien movies,” he replied.
I have seven more bottles left in my fridge. The taste is a fruity, tangy sweet-sour with a slight effervescence, and it’s a much nicer taste than any of the store-bought kombucha I’ve had. There’s even a wee beer-like scent and flavour. There’s another jar of it on my counter, the scoby happily fermenting and bubbling away.
If for no other reason, brew some of your own kombucha just for the silly conversations that will ensue. I promise it will make for some very entertaining morning banter.