I once used roasted chicory to flavor a sweet kombucha. I mostly picked the chicory because I sometimes enjoy the flavor of chicory, and it seems like a great way to offset a kombucha was was overly sweet. It was okay, kind of intriguing, but probably not something I’d try again. This is different.
This is sippin’ kombucha.
In this 1 quart experiment, I combined 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup kombucha, an extract from 1 pint of distilled water and 2 tablespoons of roasted chicory, and topped it off with more distilled water.
As with some of my other experiments, I seems to have lost some of my notes. I sampled it every two weeks, and each time the fresh 1mm scoby sank, and a new one would grow. Unsurprisingly, the scobys were very dark.
- 2 weeks: It’s not particularly sweet, without any sourness, and the chicory flavor is softer than I expected. I think the pH is 3.6, but its hard to tell because the chicory is so dark and staining.
- 8 weeks: There’s a slight sweetness, a slight sourness, and some chicory flavor. I think pH is 3.2, but its hard to tell because the chicory is so dark and staining.
- 12 weeks: It’s lightly sweet with a subtle sourness and mild-chicory flavor. I think the pH is 3.0, but its hard to tell because the chicory is so dark and staining. At this point 2 inches has evaporated from the quart jar. This is worth drinking.
I have three cups remaining. I’ll keep one plain. I’ll try one with dried elderberry to see if I end up with something port-like. The other was flavored with coffee.
- Plain: The overall flavor starts starts out lightly sweet with an almost subtle sourness, progressing to a fuller mild-chicory flavor, turning into a slight acetic bite in the back of the throat with a mild chicory bitterness in the aftertaste. It’s well-rounded, but not in a boring “balanced” way. Instead, it has several flavors that are strong enough to contrast, but mild enough to play nicely together and not overwhelm your tastebuds.
- Elderberry: This takes the basic profile, and bends it towards a more complex dried-fruit sweetness. It’s a little like a dry port.
- Coffee: This was pretty amazing. I tried it because chicory and coffee are a classic pairing, and I’m surprised by how it turned out. The coffee added a slight coffee bitterness to the tip of the tongue, and it was present from the beginning until the last of the aftertaste. The chicory flavor was present, but completely melded with the coffee, and the chicory bitterness had disappeared from the aftertaste. I sipped 8oz over the course of an hour.
I might just have to make a full gallon of this. I won’t go through it very quickly, but it appears to age well.