A tonic rich in active enzymes, polyphenols, vitamins, and acetic and lactic acids, kombucha is enjoyed worldwide these days, although not everyone knows that this lightly carbonated, fermented drink has nothing to do with kombu seaweed. At Oizumi Kojo, brewmaster Yuji Shimada uses a blend of green and black loose-leaf teas for the base (photo right below), and makes the SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast/photo left below) mother in-house.
Shimada starts with water that’s been filtered six times. He puts freshly brewed sweetened tea through a heat exchanger to drop its temperature to 26 to 28ºC, a comfortable range for the microbes to begin oxidation. Fermentation lasts for one to two weeks, and the alcohol strength is kept below 0.3 percent—no second fermentation is conducted. You can taste the result at the Saitama taproom and the Tokyo café in Nishi-Azabu.
5-4-1 Ryoke, Kawaguchi-shi, Saitama
(The Cuisine Magazine /May 2019)