Valkyrie’s Log – Getting our Kombucha to Fizz

Location: Home, Colorado.
Status: Fermenting.

Disclaimer, this post is almost entirely Kombucha geeking out, if you have no interest, feel free to skip on to tomorrows post.

On a day where not a lot happened, I got to enjoy the fruits of previous weeks work. As my daughter worked hard to catch up on some work she overlooked from last week, I sipped away at our first batch of Kombucha (there is some debate in our house about the pronunciation of Kombucha, I pronounce it with a “cha” and my husband pronounces it with a “ka”, how do YOU say it? The pleasant fizzy tingle from a successful (eventually!) 2nd ferment was a lovely little uplift on a day that was neither great nor bad.

Having made it once before, I had chosen to do a Green Tea Kombucha, it had worked out great previously and even our then 7 year old had loved it. I had hoped to have it ready before my husband left, but it only decided to achieve it’s light fizz immediately after he departed. He has never enjoyed Kombucha although he admits that his previous attempts never achieved a fizz and it sounds like it was over fermented to a vinegar like state. He is not one to let taste get in the way of healthy food consumption and we regularly witness him drinking what look like strawberry milk shakes over Skype that are in fact beets, cucumbers, celery and whatever vegetable they have left at work that most would throw away. So having in the past forced down something closer to apple cider vinegar than Kombucha, I was excited to show him how delicious it could really be.

The temperature in our apartment was fluctuating pretty widely through September. With no air conditioning and Colorado’s infamous sunny days, the afternoons were in the high 80’s and nights down to below 70ºF (from 26ºC to below 21ºC for those like me to whom Fahrenheit is illogical gobbledygook) . This made keeping our Kombucha at a stable temperature pretty tricky. We put it down in the gym where, although cooler than the ideal fermenting temperature, it was at least more stable. Averaging out at 72ºF and not going below 70 as far as we knew (although we weren’t checking it at night). I tried bringing it up to the apartment and wrapping it in a sweater to help maintain a stable warmer temp. But that didn’t help. Eventually it started to get less sweet and as it was over 10 days I went ahead and bottled it up. Then I bottled it up again after forgetting that I was supposed to stir it first! Don’t forget your stir!

I stored them in a cupboard and checked a different bottle every few days. I had read that I should put it in the fridge each time to cool before testing. But I think that may have actually been counter productive. When there was still no sign of a fizz after nearly 2 weeks, I took to google. I found what I was looking for here. The only possible answer on the list was No.9… I needed to add more sugar. Also after all the tests it could be that there was a little too much air space left in the bottles at this stage. As I brought out my 5 bottles (I had gifted one bottle to our friend and neighbour, I have yet to ask if he waited long enough for it to fizz of if he just drank it flat) to add a little honey to, low and behold I detected a hint of fizz! I went ahead and added a little honey to 4 of the bottles and decanted most of the 5th bottle into the other 4 to reduce the air space. We polished of the 5th bottle with great pleasure and the remaining 4 went down to the gym which is much warmer these days as outside temperatures have dropped enough to activate the heating.

After a couple of days we cracked open one of the bottles and voila! delicious Kombucha. There are now 2 bottles left and my next batch, my first ever Black Tea Kombucha, looks ready to be bottled (small bubbles appearing on the surface)!

Grateful for:

  1. End of ‘radio silence’ morning Skype chat with my love
  2. Delicious healthy homemade Kombucha
  3. Card games with a friend to end the day

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