Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Review: The Country Grind and Kombucha

I've been in love with The Country Grind since the first issue and even funded their kickstarter. I love the concept behind this quarterly paper and the content is usually superb. (In fact I'll soon be writing a complete review for my other-other blog Farm Dreams.)  

However, Issue #3 has a full page article on kombucha entitled "Kombucha A What, Why and How-To" that includes some information that is contrary to my personal kombucha brewing experience. (Browse the kombucha tag for more of my experiences) 

For example, the author states that one should "be sure not to use brown sugar or honey." However, it is my understanding that a jun is a kombucha that is fed entirely and solely on honey and green tea. All of my reading on kombucha states that you can use any type of sweetener including brown sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup ect. 

Additionally, the author states that one should "never leave your mother out in the air. You want it to always be hydrated as it will die if it's dried out." Later on in the article she writes "Never allow your mother to sit dry; it can be in the air for short periods of time but leave it too long and the mother will die and you will have to get a new one." However, my experience with drying and then resuscitating a SCOBY opposes this viewpoint.

The actual brewing steps are presented in a clean, concise and easy to follow manner so I'm positive that a newbie brewer would have no problems brewing a basic batch of kombucha by following the directions presented. 

I really don't like the advice about mold as the author states "I have never experienced mold on my mother but it is known to happen. Just dunk the mother in some vinegar and rinse with water. Some molds can be dangerous, so using your judgement, decide if you should go get a new one or not." I always tell others to throw away a SCOBY if it presents with mold as I feel this is the safest and most responsible choice of action, especially given that SCOBY's are usually cheap/free.

Overall this is a good basic primer for a newbie kombucha brewer but I would suggest taking her points regarding drying and mold with a grain of salt. 

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