I fear I might be the only kombucha maker on this board (hellooo? Anyone else out there?) Hm, I hear echoes.
But for those who are even vaguely interested, here's a great shot of some pink kombucha!
I infused my last batch with a few hibiscus blossoms and ended up with a gorgeous, fizzy, tangy drink. Perfect for summer, when water's gotten boring but sugary or alcoholic drinks don't really appeal.
What else is good in kombucha? And, being the broken record that I am, I'll say again that homemade kombucha is a million times better than that horrible stuff they sell in fancy food stores. Homemade is only as tangy as you want it to be, and incredibly fizzy.
I love to flavor mine with ginger. I grate a tablespoon per Grolsch bottle and also put in a few slices. So far, I've tried lemon, apricot and some strawberry puree. All good, but ginger is my favorite. I've considered using peach-flavored black tea, but I haven't found one with natural flavors; it's all artificially flavored. Must check the health-food store...
I get super-fizzy batches by bottling in Grolsch bottles and only filling them to the point that the neck begins. I had been using those French lemonade bottles with the stoppers, but the fizz isn't half as good as smaller bottles, like the Grolsch ones. My latest batches have been so fizzy, they overflow when opened, like a fine champagne!
Hibiscus sounds terrific - will try that next. Thanks for the good idea!
And lastly, I concur with everyone else - homemade is the BEST. There's no comparison.
I know I'm coming into this board so late, but I have a question. I just have my first batch(s) of kombucha fermenting in the pantry and saw the comment about adding hibiscus blossoms. Are you talking about the ornamental flower hibiscus or the the "hibiscus "sabdafaria" (sic?) which is what red zinger tea is made of....called jamaica in Mexico and roselle in the Caribbean. I buy it out of the barrel at the Mexican market and make a red tea with it from the calcyxes. Actually, even if this is not jamaica that you are using, that might be a great idea to use. Thanks for the idea.
I have just started to brew my own kombucha and am still learning, but I do like it much better than the store-bought! Pei, yours looks wonderful!
For the fizziness, what I understand is that (after initial fermentation) you bottle it in a bottles that seal. Leave it at room temp for a few more days to continue fermenting and it will fizz as a result of the fermentation.
Getting the kombucha culture (the "baby" is what kombucha growers call it) is the hard part. You have to find a store near you that carries them, get one from a friend, or buy one on line.
The "baby" is a culture composed of bacteria and yeast. It takes on the shame of its container, but is basically a thick off white slab that really sort of looks and feels like a large slab of squid or jellyfish.
After that, all you'll need each time is:
-enough tea to make 8 strong cups of tea
-1 cup sugar
-your culture (which will create a clone of itself every time you make a batch)
-1 cup of old kombucha tea
Much cheaper than buying bottles at the store! The biggest hassle for me of making kombucha has been timing it so that I don't have either too much or run out. But a little scheduling would fix that; I'm just scatter brained.
Having more cultures than I know what to do with is also an annoyance. No one wants them, but sometimes I make one that's so perfectly formed it's a shame to toss.
A full report is here: http://www.chezpei.com/2006/03/kombuc...