I have been intrigued with kombucha for quite a while. This symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast has been all the rage in the past few years on this side of the Atlantic. Kombucha tea is a fermented drink containing tea, water, sugar, and a kombucha culture (also called “mother” or SCOBY – symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). As with all fermented foods (sauerkraut, yogurt, etc.), kombucha tea is known to be full of good stuff including probiotics which are renowned for its health benefits. At the same time some researchers warn that too much kombucha or homebrew kombucha can be toxic, especially for people with weak immune systems.
One interesting thing about a kombucha culture is that during fermentation it produces a kombucha “baby”, which can be separated from the original kombucha culture once it’s substantially grown. This kombucha “baby” can be transferred to a new glass container and become the “mother” of a new kombucha tea fermentation.
A few months ago my friend Carol-Ann, mentioned that her roommate was overwhelmed with the number of SCOBYs she had at home and if I wanted to take one of them. Once the SCOBY arrived, I was a startled by its looks and texture. A gelatinous and brown disc which I doubted could brew any type of tasty drink. I decided to follow the continuous brew method and after a few weeks I had this tart smelling and fizzy concoction. I warily tried a few sips of my first batch of kombucha tea. The flavour reminded me of cider but a bit too tart and sweet for my personal taste so I started diluting it in water for a milder but still refreshing brew.
Once you do kombucha tea a few times your SCOBBY starts getting huge and the tea has a sharper flavour, similar to apple cider vinegar. That was when I decided to separate the “babies” from my kombucha “mother” and make some kombucha candy. I bought some organic cane sugar and used the dehydrator of a friend (although it seems you can do it in the oven as well). Although the looks were once again terrible, as the photos can attest, the end result was delicious. Kombucha candy has a texture similar to gummy-bears with an ideal balance of sweetness and tartness. Samuel went nuts for it!
My next stage will be to play with different flavours, such has honey, ginger, and berries, but will need to get a few larger glass jars before taking that step. I also wonder if the flavour of the batch will be taken by the SCOBY and eventually if I would have flavoured kombucha candy (Yum!).