I had a scare today when I went off to do my Kombucha bottling. I took the cover from the brewing jar and saw a lovely new baby SCOBY had formed but it was covered in little dark dots. I thought it must have caught an illness and it was dying. I felt very sad as I’m enjoying this elixir of life… we can hope that’s what it is.
I checked online, read a bit, looked for pictures but nothing. The rotten, dying and dead SCOBY’s on Google images were all far worse than mine and I couldn’t find anything about little dots. All indications were if your SCOBY has reproduced then it’s usually a good sign that all is well in your fermenting jar and if it goes mouldy it does so in the same way bread does, little circular, grey/blue furry patches which grow and eventually cover the SCOBY.
I decided to investigate (wish I’d taken photos now in case anyone else has this problem). It looked almost like within the SCOBY there were tiny specks, smaller than grains of rice, tiny, tiny specs dotted around randomly. I cleaned my hands, had a good sniff of the jar and all seemed well, the smell’s not the most pleasant in the world, it’s yeasty and a bit sour but the same smell it’s always been so I thought there was nothing wrong there.
Then I delved in and picked the SCOBY out, it felt healthy and looked healthy, I pulled the baby away from the mother and then I realised what had happened. When I strain my tea into my brewing jar I do it through a sieve and I’ve noticed that tiny flecks of tea leaves end up in the jar. I don’t worry about them. But this time what had happened was the flecks of tea had risen to the top of the liquid and then become sandwiched between the mother and baby SCOBY. All I had to do was swish each of the two around a little in the fermented tea and they came up nice and clean and very healthy looking.
So I bottled through a funnel with a filter and this time I used some muslin cloth secured with an elastic band on top of that to get all of the little specks out then I poured it back into the brewing jar to give the SCOBY’s another swish around and then I bottled it filtering again and this time when I made the new tea for this week’s ferment I strained it first using a sieve and then poured it into the fermenting jar passing it through muslin first. It’s much better, no tea floating about and the whole thing is looking really healthy and happy.
I got a much darker brew this time, I used 3 tablespoons of Green Organic Loose Leaf tea and 1 tablespoon of White Organic Loose Leaf tea. It’s important not to use teas that have been fragranced or have had fruit flavours added as these can damage the SCOBY or prevent optimum brewing.
I didn’t add flavours at the bottling stage this week, I’m going to do that when I drink it, add a little fruit juice or some freshly pureed fruit or some squeezed orange/lemon juice. I want to taste it as it comes as I’ve not done that yet.
Another friend tried some the other day and remarked on how zingy and fresh it tastes and how it just tastes good for you. I have to agree, it really does taste fresh, there is no other way to describe it. It’s like breathing a deep breathe of sea air after being cooped up in a city for months, it’s that kind of good for you feeling.
I only realised this past week that you don’t have to do the fermenting in bottles thing, but I like to as it really makes it fizzy.