Below is the result of two previous experiments, and two new ones. Since I only get 2-3 cups of finished product, I’m not planning to add any additional flavoring when I bottle.
I bottled my quart of cocoa kombucha. The ferment seemed to run out well, despite having steeped the cocoa powder in tap water. After two weeks the scoby was around 1/2 inch thick, though the bottom 1/8 inch was unusually porous, resembling a crumpet. It ended up light yellow despite starting out looking like hot chocolate. Next time I need to remember to use a paper filter so that I can avoid the cocoa-silt that settled on the bottom of the jar.
It tasted like a kombucha-flavored hard cider. It tasted less vinegary than usual, but was very refreshing. I wish I had more.
When I started my cocoa kombucha, I also started a quart of what I’m calling water kombucha. It’s simply 1/4 cup each of sugar and kombucha added in a quart jar that’s topped off with distilled water. Essentially, it’s kombucha without the tea. Since it didn’t contain anything to nourish the yeast and bacteria, I wasn’t expecting anything drinkable out of this; I just wanted to see what would happen. I wasn’t disappointed.
A cloudy mass slowly formed in the middle of the jar, gradually getting more distinct. I didn’t see anything else in the jar. After two weeks I decided to try it, and was surprised to have my straw stopped by a thick clear film on the top. Could this be some sort of clear scoby? A normal scoby is made of cellulose, which is not clear, but I see no reason that this film might not be a symbiotic combination of yeast and bacteria. After working around the “scoby”, I found that the water kombucha has no hint of tartness, but also not much sweetness. I decided to put it back, and we’ll see how it progresses.
A smaller version of my last batch. I plan to let this ferment a long time so that I can see what happens.
In the same way that the water kombucha was kombucha without tea, this is kombucha without sugar. Although the yeast and bacteria have nourishment available, they don’t have much to act on. As before, I’m not expecting anything drinkable out of this; I just want to see what happens.
This is a quart of “normal” kombucha except that the white sugar has been replaced with xylitol. I’ve read that xylitol doesn’t work in kombucha, so this has the same expected minimal fermentation as the “unsweet kombucha”, except sweetened by all of the starting unfermentable xylitol. In other words, I may end up with plain sweet tea. However, there are a few yeast or bacteria that can use the xylitol, and perhaps some are in my culture. We’ll see!