Kombucha is basically a fermented tea. It begins with a sweet tea, traditionally of a black variety, which is then transformed by the “mushroom”, which is actually a Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeasts (SCOBY). This may sound somewhat risque, but this happy marriage is robust and protects itself from outside contamination by producing a decent amount of acetic acid. The result (after five days or so) is a slightly tart, but balanced beverage that becomes slightly effervescent after it is decanted and left for a day in the fridge. We began to run our little zoogleal mat through the paces, first through herb teas that we had dried in house (verbena, woodruff, etc.) and then to vegetable and fruit juices.
All the teas and fruit juices were delicious, but nothing ground breaking until we fermented carrot juice- Really a pleasant surprise. The carrot kombucha still had a fresh quality, but tart and, well, best of the best. And the carrots we receive are naturally sweet enough that there was no added sugar, an extra bonus. Cucumber juice had mixed responses, some of us loved it, and others thought it was a little extreme, perhaps slightly savory in a way. Confident with the vegetable juices high in natural sugars, we dropped a scoby into beet juice; disaster, we lost that soldier. After one day the liquid had turned into crimson-purple ectoplasm, which did not taste…amazing-
I still have not had a chance to look into that particular phenomenon.
Still looking for more liquids to subject our earnest culture to, we made a tea out of juniper wood- quite good in itself, but after the slight sweet/sour kombucha treatment, actually something rather unique and delicious.