Yesterday, I received this in the mail. This gelatinous substance floating in yellow liquid is called a SCOBY. It looks a bit like a calamari steak. The flip side of it (pictured at the end this post) has some stringy brown stuff attached to it. If you told me it looks phlegm, I wouldn't argue. But first, the backstory...
At the 2011 Organic Brewers Festival, I sampled plenty of beer. But for the first time, I tasted a fermented tea drink called Komboucha. It has a great tart flavor and contains very little alcohol (typically 0.5% - 1.5% ABV). It's also supposed to be full of probiotics.
You can buy Komboucha (in many varieties and flavors) at natural or specialty food stores. Priced between $3-$5 for a 16 oz. bottle, it's not cheap. However, with the help of our gelatinous little friend, SCOBY, it can be made at home for about $1 a gallon.
SCOBY is the acronym for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. To make Komboucha, you brew up a tea (black or green) sweetened with sugar and let SCOBY go for a swim. About 10-20 days later, you've got yourself some Komboucha.
Since I brew my own beer, I thought I'd brew my own Komboucha. I'll let you know how it turns out. In the meantime, click here to learn more about Komboucha.
Any Komboucha fans out there? Do you have a favorite recipe you can share?