Urban Brewing Circles

Two new groups: Mead Circle and Kombucha Circle

MEAD CIRCLE

Elderflower infused honey: A great ingredient for home made Mead.
Elderflower infused honey: A great ingredient for home made Mead.

I love to drink a little Mead (fermented honey based drink) now and then but find that most available options in Amsterdam are quite expensive and are not as exciting as I know they could be. I bought a 75cl bottle of De Traay Heather Honey Mead, from Ecoplaza this week. It tasted good but it set me back a cool 15 Euro!

I would like to start a free Mead Circle as a way to encourage myself and others to brew their own, here in Amsterdam (and elsewhere, if they fancy joining by VoIP). Some other people must already be doing this close by and it would be great to hear from them.

Making mead is quite simple. It is simply the alcoholic fermentation of the sugars in honey water. The yeast can be captured from the air or can be inoculated from a known culture. It is likely to have been the first alcoholic beverage that humankind enjoyed as it is made quite naturally, when water and honey mix and sit for a while in a yeast rich atmosphere. It is less complex than the home brewing of wine but requires similar apparatus for reliable results. We have a great resource close to Amsterdam: Brouwmarkt.nl in Almere, which sells all the fermenting apparatus you could wish for and delivers for a reasonable price. Mead making is fun and allows you to experiment with all sorts of herbal flavours. I really want to start experimenting more with it and would love to occasionally meet for a chat and tasting session with some other like minded people. As ever, I am interested in experimenting in a very small kitchen. I don’t have space for massive vats of bubbling concoctions but I do have space for a 2 liter container for example and that is enough for making mead!

If you would like to join the Urban Herbology Mead Circle then please email me (lynn.shore@gmail.com) or post a comment here. Let me know when the best meeting times and areas are for you. When a small group has emerged, I will set a date and we can start meeting and sharing.

KOMBUCHA CIRCLE

The amazing world of SCOBY fermentation, in a 2 litre pickling jar from Blokker.
The amazing world of SCOBY fermentation, in a 2 litre pickling jar from Blokker.

Years ago, I bought a 4cm x 4cm chunk of Kombucha SCOBY from a company in the UK (for 10 Pounds!). It arrived in a tiny package of Kombucha vinegar and I intrepidly set it up in a large jar of sweet green tea, nestled in a corner of a warm cupboard. Since then, that tiny SCOBY has provided me with gallons of tasty Kombucha drink and also useful Kombucha vinegar. The SCOBY is a symbiosis of a specific yeast and bacteria. They live in a sort of fermenting harmony, and their sole mission in life seems to be transforming the sugar in sweet tea into a mild effervescent very lightly alcoholic drink (resembling a green tea flavoured real Ginger beer). If you leave it to brew for longer it makes vinegar. A lot of people seem to like drinking real Kombucha. I receive a steady trickle of requests from people who want to exchange one of my SCOBYs for herbs, chocolate or other wonderful things! My original SCOBY quickly grew into what we call a Kombucha mother and she now doubles her size one a fortnight or so. When this happens she sheds another SCOBY and these can be shared with other people.

Here are my instructions on how to make it.

Many of the people who have received my baby SCOBYs, send me photos and questions about their development (or otherwise!). I would like to start a Kombucha Circle to help link up those people and so that we can meet once in a blue moon to share recipes, experiences and advice. Some of the people that I have met through Kombucha, live in other parts of the world. Anyone with an interest in Kombucha is welcome to join. we can try some VoIP time to help those in distant lands share with us here in Amsterdam.

If you would like to join the Urban Herbology Kombucha Circle then please email me (lynn.shore@gmail.com) or post a comment here. Let me know when the best meeting times and areas are for you. When a small group has emerged, I will set a date and we can start meeting and sharing.

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