bootleg brew - ferment-it-yourself kombucha

remember the viral lulu video that pokes fun at kombucha-loving yoginis?  well it's not far off from my reality.  i love me some kombucha and i don't know very many yogis who can't say the same.  but something i don't necessarily love is forking over the dollar bill$$$ to get it (true story:  i paid $5 for a bottle when i was in iowa.  thankfully, i usually get it for about $3.50 in nyc - who knew it'd be cheaper in the big apple?!). 

so what's a budget-conscious, kombucha-loving person to do? 
make your own, of course.

my twitter pal, mckinley (aka @ilovesweat), has been tweeting about his own 'ghetto brew' so i decided had to pick his brain.  apparently he makes a pretty mean knock-off version of gts (read on for the recipe).

the e-interview: (done over email, not twitter so his responses could be longer than 140 characters.)

jenn:  how much do you think your 'bottle' of ghetto brew costs?

mckinley: i'm not really sure how much each bottle of homebrew costs, that involves some complicated math because you have to figure in your bag of sugar and tea bags, both of which go a long way. and a bag of frozen fruit can be enough for 2-4 batches. i'd reckon it's pretty cheap or, i guess, economical would be the better way to put it.

not only do you save money by brewing your own kombucha, but it's so easy to do, it's silly not to. like, why would you go to taco bell when you can make better tacos at home?

[jenn/thoughts:  i do not eat taco bell and definitely do not condone ever eating it.]

jenn:  do you (willingly) eat/drink the phlegmy part of the 'buch?

mckinley:  when it comes to kombucha, unless you want to grow the culture, you have to swallow! i actually think that's the healthiest part of the drink! the culture is what makes it kombucha. as an experiment, i've taken a dried out, tiny sliver of culture left at the end of the bottle and grown it into a huge culture. so when you swallow, you're getting the best part of it, as far as i'm concerned.

[jenn/thoughts: *gulp* i think i can, i think i can....eeek.]

jenn:  now with the warmer months upon us and more fruit in season, are there any new flavor combos you love or are itching to try?

mckinley:  i prefer to use frozen fruit for brewing kombucha. fresh fruit is such a treat, i think it's almost wasteful to boil it and then toss it out. i can appreciate the argument for fresh, but frozen fruit is ideal for brewing because you boil the flavor out and never eat the actual fruit. i've had some really good flavors this way: jackfruit, mango, raspberry. right now i'm enjoying a peach/strawberry blend. my all-time favorite though is blueberry with a little bit of fresh ginger boiled in there to kick it up a notch (as it turns out this is what g.t. dave's gingerberry is). that being said, if i had a tree with plenty, i wouldn't mind trying a pluot-flavored kombucha.

[jenn/thoughts: i <3 the gingerberry - thanks for solving the mystery!]

jenn:  what are your thoughts on the new chia seed-kombucha concoction?

mckinley:  i've seen references to chia seed, but not in connection with kombucha. legend says they were brewing kombucha in china 5,000 years ago and in england, right until ww2 put a ration on sugar. can you imagine what it was like then? i bet there was a different flavor on every block! so i'm in the dark about the chia seed/kombucha connection, but whatever makes you happy is cool with me.

[jenn/thoughts: i think i'll work with swallowing the culture before i add any more slimy stuff to the my 'buch.]

...now for the recipes!!!!

for mckinley's original take on homemade kombucha, visit his blog.

for the upgraded, wannabe gts recipe, check out kombuchakamp.com (they also have kits to start making your own - phlegmy, slimy culture included! even though it skiives me out, i do love kombucha).