Kitchen chemistry

I have a new obsession. Kombucha.

I tried kombucha for the first time a little over a week ago, and it was love at first sip. I bought my second bottle this weekend, and confirmed my abiding devotion. Trouble is, kombucha is a bit spendy. Upwards of $3 per 16-ounce bottle, at least for the good stuff.

There’s only one thing to be done. I need to brew my own. I’ve done a fair big of research online, and it doesn’t look hard. A starter (a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, a.k.a. a SCOBY), attention to good kitchen hygiene, some basic supplies…that’s all you need.

It seems a perfect project to take on, given:

  1. My recently accelerated interest in beneficial bacteria. I’m taking microbiology right now, and one of the very first things you learn is that most bacteria are totally harmless, a few are quite dangerous, and a few others are quite beneficial and even essential to the human body.
  2. The online class I will be taking this summer. Molecular Gastronomy, a.k.a. kitchen chemistry. I’m totally looking forward to this class. It’s going to be a fun summer in the kitchen!

Kombucha was immediately delicious to my tastebuds, although I know not everyone enjoys the taste. As for the purported health benefits? They are lengthy and anecdotal, although actual research studies are few and inconclusive. But if quality yogurt can boost the natural, healthy microbal flora in our intestines, it seems logical that kombucha could do the same.

I’m interested in experimenting with making other fermented foods, such as yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut, but kombucha seems like a good place to start. So stay tuned!