< Back to all posts
  • The Second Brew: Ginger and Goji Berry!

    So, I am really, really loving the whole kombucha-brewing-at-home thing. I can't describe it, but it is really putting joy into my days. Waking up, seeing the bottles of booch on my counter. Checking on my brew and scoby a few times throughout the day, just because I can. Smelling the complex aromas rising from my gallon brewing jar...it makes me happy. 

    Isn't it amazing how something so seemingly simple, is really so complex? I do want to learn more about the science and microbiology of kombucha...the inner scientist and food nerd in me is calling...but for right now, I want to enjoy the simplicy of it. Go by the tastes, the colors, the smells, the sounds. Be present, and enjoy the process. Becuase isn't that the whole point?

    So here is what I did for my second batch of home brewed kombucha! LIke last time, I am going to recall with some level of certainty parameters for the brew, and also share what I did at bottling time (i.e. for the second fermentation). I'll also share some notes about the taste, fizzy factor, and other qualitative observations as I see fit/can remember.

    My Second 'Booch Brew // Brew Date: March 29, 2016 // 

    Tea: Rishi Tea Company, Golden Yunnan and Iron Goddess of Mercy Oolong, using 1.5 TB of each for a total of 3 TB tea, brewed for 6-7 minutes

    Sugar: Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, purchased in bulk from the Regent Street Coop

    Water: PUR filtered water from our faucet

    Days Brewed: 7 days

    Temperature Notes: I made sure our heat was ON for the entire brewing process this time, and I really did notice a difference in aroma and flavor. I would guess that the average temperature was around 78F for this batch. When I taste tested at day 7, the brew was so flavorful, more acidic tasting (but still sweet), and more carbonated than my first batch. The tea combination I used really shined through as well. 

    Second Fermentation: as with my first brew, I bottled into the same liter flip-top bottles, using a funnel, with all the tools I used cleaned in warm vinegar water. I got about 2 and 1/2 liters total, filling the bottles almost up to the top of the bottles, leaving very little headspace. Like the last batch, I reserved 2 cups of the top-most kombucha with the scoby for the next batch (this is called the "starter tea"). As an fun experiment, I combined the 1/2 liter of this second brew with about 1/3 of a liter of my previous mango-infused kombucha. I tasted some after a day of being in the bottle, and it was very tasty, but a bit sweet. After letting it sit for 4 days, it was more yeasty (cream layer at the bottom of the bottle was prominent, and the kombucha was slightly cloudy), and much more carbonated! The taste grew less sweet, and more complex as well during this time. 

    pH at Bottling: 3.0

    Bottling Recipes: for this batch, I chose to use larger pieces of ginger and whole goji berries, allowing for them to be easily removed when drinking the kombucha, as opposed to straining to get smaller pieces of grated ginger and pureed fruit out. I also did not use any lemon juice, or additional sugar at bottling this time. Random Fact: read about how too much sugar can actually inhibit yeast, and reduce carbonation in kombucha. 

    Goji-Ginger Infusion // 1 liter // 

    • 2 tsp chopped organic ginger root, chopping to the size similar to goji berries
    • 2 tsp dried organic goji berries

    Ginger Infusion // 1 liter //

    • 2 TB 1/3" to 1/2" chopped organic ginger root

    Simply add the ingredients to the bottles before adding kombucha. Tightly seal or close the flip-top lids, and allow the kombucha to sit in a warm, dark place. How long to allow the second fermentation to go is up to you! I let the bottles sit for 3 days total until I taste them again, and started to enjoy them. For my first and second batches, I allowed the liters to sit at room temperature on my counter (out of direct sun light and drastic temperture changes) over the entire duraion of drinking them, and this was about 1 week total. I really enjoyed tasting them throughout the process to experience how the flavors changed. Since I was drinking the kombucha every day (about 8 to 12 oz per day), the bottles were burped (released of excess carbonation) in this process each day. I would say that burping your bottles once a day is a good idea to prevent explosions, as is not storing the bottles in a really warm location!

    As for that, I am still learning what the ideal conditions are in the second fermentation, but not stressing too much about it. As I said before, I have let the bottles during the second fermentation sit in the same spot for both batches, so in doing this, I think it is safe to say that the bottles have been exposed to similar temperatures. The fizz-factor in this second batch was about the same with my first batch, but the flavors of the infusions were notably weaker owing to the fact that I used large chunks and not fruit puree/grated ginger. The goji-ginger infusion was *slightly* more carbonated than the liter with only ginger pieces, I am guessing due to the presence of addtional sugars in the dried goji berries. The goji berries imparted a very light tart-berry flavor, very subtle, and the berries themselves were kombucha-flavored berry bombs!! Very fun to eat (could also be put into a smoothie, if you wish). 

    In the qualitative comparison of my first two batches (i.e. I added 1/2 tsp sugar to my liters in my first batch), I do NOT think adding additional sugar to the liters for the second fermentation significantly influenced my carbonation levels, so for now, I am going to omit addition of sugar during bottling. 

    As for the chunks of ginger and berries, they WERE easier to pick out when pouring a glass of kombucha to drink, and the flavor was very mild. And, the bottling process was very simple: no grating, no puree-ing, no additional mess. However, for a stronger infusion flavor, I would recommend grating the fresh ginger and using fruit puree. For my next batch, I plan on juicing fresh ginger, and whatever fruit I decide to use. I'll decide that when I get to that point, and share my results here! 

    Love the color of the goji berries!Fun and fizzy stuff!!