I’ve been doing science at home.

In addition to working from home recently due to a great deal of writing I need to accomplish in the next couple of months (manuscript, fellowship applications, preliminary exam prep, etc.), I’ve also been doing science experiments in my kitchen.

For the past month or so I’ve been developing a fermenting hobby – starting with kombucha. For me, kombucha was an acquired taste and ginger-lemon is still the only flavor I really like. And I really like it. Unfortunately it’s not cheap enough to drink it every day. On a graduate student budget, I try to prioritize other things first. That’s part of the reason I decided to get into fermenting, the other being that I just really enjoy working in the kitchen.

Store-bought: $3 / bottle
Homemade: $3 / 3-4 gallons

General Timeline
Note 1: our apartment has been around 68 C during the day due to some extreme cold weather. This resulted in increased fermentation time. 
Note 2: I’m pretty paranoid about kahm yeast (or other) contamination so all of the passaging and bottling was done under our range vent with one of the gas burners on. This is probably overkill, but hey why not?

  1. First SCOBY from bottle of plain, store-bought kombucha – 3-4 weeks
  2. First passage from 2 cups of original, well-fermented kombucha – 2 weeks. This was then bottled and passaged.
  3. Second ferment (carbonation) – 3 days at room temperature.
    1. 1/2 tsp added sugar
    2. 1 tbsp squeezed lemon juice
    3. 3/4 tbsp chopped ginger

I’m currently enjoying the first bottle as I’m typing this and I’m really enjoying it. I probably could have let the second ferment go another day because I like the extra carbonation and vinegar flavor, but we were out of town and I didn’t want an explosion on our hands while we were away. I had a friend come in a refrigerate the bottles. Overall, the kombucha took up the lemon and ginger flavors very well!


Published by

Andrew Lynch

Andrew Lynch has a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Pathology at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He studies the role of chromosomal instability and anueploidy in the progression of cancer.

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