A few nights ago I bottled a double batch of Kombucha Tea. One was an experiment I’ll describe in another post. The other was a batch made with long-steep oolong tea. I held back a pint plain, and flavored a quart each with Lemon Ginger (Stash), Blueberry Bliss (London Fruit & Herb), and Strawberry & Vanilla Fool (also LF&H).
The flavor of the oolong kombucha surprised me in two ways. First it was very mild. Maybe I bottled it earlier than I have bottled other batches, but the pH was ~3, and it tasted done when I sampled by straw-dropper. The second is that the plain kombucha actually had a detectable taste of tea. Normally, I don’t get any tea flavor, which is fine with me since I don’t especially like tea. It was also a little sweet, which leads me to believe that I really didn’t let it brew long enough.
The mildness also makes me wonder if I used enough tea. It was my first foray into loose-leaf, and I’m thinking that 2 TB wasn’t enough. When I was planning for my next batch I looked up the recommended tea portions for a gallon using either gunpowder (4 TB ) and hojicha (8 TB). The gunpowder is pretty dense, and takes a lower volume of tea than the hojicha. Since the oolong is more like the hojicha and my oolong portion was half what I would need for gunpowder, I suspect I should try again with four times what I used the first time. If that’s the case, I probably underfed the bacteria in relation to the yeast. We’ll see how it goes next time.
The upside to the mild Kombucha is that it takes flavors very well, and I’ve now had a chance to drink 8oz of each flavor (and all the plain). The strawberry was pretty mainstream and while my oldest didn’t like it, my youngest said it was “pretty good”. Even if I prefer the flavors of a longer ferment, I foresee mild, strawberry steeped kombucha in my future rotation. I didn’t especially care for the blueberry. It was okay, and I’ll finish it, but it just didn’t seem to work all that well. The Lemon Ginger was intriguing, and I’m looking forward to trying more of that.
Back when I started making kombucha, I got some pH strips from the home-brew section of Friar Tuck. Unfortunately, they were yellowed (with age?) and didn’t register anything. I recently received acid-scaled pH strips, and they appear to work just fine. I’ll include pH values for each batch until I run out.
After bottling the oolong, I started a batch with long-steep tea made from Gunpowder leaves (1/4 cup tea to 1 quart water).