A Kvass is a naturally fermented drink, using the naturally occurring yeasts and bacteria present on the fruit/ flowers you are using.
Traditionally beetroot was made into Kvass, this is a lactic acid fermentation, and is made with salt.
A fruit kvass is made with sugar, so the yeasts dominate, creating an effervescent and rather delicious drink!
I have made many different types of kvass, the process is the same whatever fruits/flowers you are using. The amount of sugar added depends on how sweet your fruit is, and how sweet you want your finished drink to taste.
Rhubarb is extremely sour and teamed with elderflowers, make a beautiful flavour, but with little natural sugar. I add between 100g to 125g sugar per litre of water for this combination.
A strawberry/rhubarb kvass I add around 65g, but its personal taste.
Bear in mind the sugar is a food source for the natural yeasts, and most of it will be metabolised into lovely fizzy bubbles, leaving the finished drink way less sweet.
You can also add a couple of tablespoons of raw organic honey, which add to the flavour and the health benefits of the finished drink.
I tend to use white sugar, but you can also use cane sugar, brown sugar or maple syrup. Darker sugars will result in a cloudy appearance in your finished drink, but again its personal taste. They also impart a different flavour, whereas white sugar is more neutral.
One of the best tips for making bubbly kvass is to stir it vigorously at least 2 or 3 times a day, with a long handled spoon, almost creating a vortex , this prevents mould spores getting a hold and evenly distributes the fruit, which tends to float to the top of the jar.
Also cover the jar with a cloth to keep fruit flies and dust out. Leave it somewhere warm and you should start to see bubbles forming, indicating that fermentation is underway. This can take a few days, depending on the temperature so just be patient.
So here is what you need for Rhubarb/Elderflower Kvass
1. Fill your glass jar 1/4 to 1/3 full with your fruit and flowers.
2. Add sugar, I added 125g then added filtered water to within an inch of the top of the jar.
Or you can dissolve the sugar in the water, then pour that over the fruit/flowers. It depends what size of jar you are using and how much water you are adding so the ratio is around 125g sugar PER litre.
3. Give it a good stir, cover with a cloth and put it somewhere warm.
4. Give it a really good stir, at least 2 or 3 times per day.
5. When you start to see active bubbling, which can take a few days, then strain the kvass, compost the rhubarb, and transfer the kvass into strong clip top or plastic bottles.
6. Leave at room temperature for another few days to develop some fizz, carefully opening the bottles over the sink to check for fizz.
7. Once you are happy with it, transfer the bottles to the fridge and drink within a week or so for the best flavour.
The yeast will continue to ferment the sugar, so if you leave it too long, your drink will taste less sweet.
This Kvass makes a great mixer with gin!!
Coffee kombucha has become very popular and its delicious! It tastes a bit like Tia Maria and looks all dark and brooding, like Guinness!
You can convert a normal kombucha scoby to coffee but then you can’t use it again for tea Since coffee is already acidic you don’t need any starter tea so you are good to go with just a scoby and some sweetened coffee.
You can buy a scoby from Happy Kombucha.co.uk, request one from the Facebook group UK Fermenting Friends or ask a kombucha brewer for a spare. I have a scoby hotel and give lots of baby scobys away. A Scoby is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts and keeps growing and multiplying, if you look after it properly, so you only need to acquire one once!
TO DO IT
As with everything else, the quality of the coffee beans massively affects the flavour of your kombucha. Coffee with sweet or chocolatey flavour notes gives the best flavour.
Dear Green Coffee are an award-winning local company and sell fabulous coffee.
I have used their Peruvian and Brazilian beans but the Peruvian beans are by far the most popular with everyone! It has notes of honey, toasted almond and toffee!
SECOND FERMENT FOR ADDED FLAVOUR
Since coffee is a strong flavour, you are a bit limited in what you can add to second ferment it!
So far, I have tried cardamom pods, mulled spice syrup, vanilla and maple syrup. Think of all the flavours which the coffee shops sell and try a few different ones to find your favourite!
Coffee Kombucha topped with coconut kefir and a sprinkle of cacao is utterly delicious!!
Coffee kombucha is fabulous in a cocktail, like an Espresso Martini! My favourite is a blend of frozen cherries, coffee kombucha and martini. I call it In the Pink!
If you don't fancy brewing your own Kombucha or Water Kefir then Swichel is a great alternative fermented drink, dating back to the Amish People.
It's a simple add everything to a jar and leave overnight type of drink. I contain some stellar ingredients, among them Apple Cider Vinegar, which is already naturally fermented and good for your gut health, grated ginger, maple syrup and lemon juice.
Switchel is a really detoxifying drink that you can add to your morning routine: It restores electrolytes, eases pain and inflammation, balances Ph, keeps blood sugar levels balanced and improve digestion.
Is a very refreshing drink especially when diluted with sparkling water!
🍃 Health educator🍃