Boocha Babe Kombucha

Brewer's Log

3 months

This week marks our third month of business. We’re hovering around 10 accounts with more in the works. Our first two kombuchas were a Peach Blossom and Jasmine. They both changed dramatically over the summer with the additional heat and humidity which we were able to work with better just as the weather changed again to fall. We built the fermentation room to withstand chilly temperatures but were unprepared for the rise in heat and humidity which cut fermentation time down to less than a week. It was a challenge we’re already prepared for next year to tackle. The jasmine became a lovely white grape flavor but the peach lost its lacto, peaches n’ cream taste I’d honed in on. Hoping to coax it out again with the cooler temperatures of the season upon us.

A few weeks ago we released our third flavor, cascara kombucha using a local coffee roaster’s sourced cascara. Cascara is the coffee cherry surrounding the beloved bean that is dried and used as a drink itself. Naturally, we tackled fermenting it. I first began fermenting with cascara back in 2016 while managing a local third-wave coffee shop with beautiful results. However, it could have been the new environment or the new cascara, but it fermented entirely different this whole year and we finally nailed down a recipe that gives a nod to its roots as a coffee cherry. Light, white cherry profile; really nice and unique. I believe we are the only company in New York state offering a cascara and one of the only in the United States.

Our extra attention to a fermentation room has been worth the effort as we are the only naturally carbonated kombucha selling commercially in the area. And by area, we don’t know of anyone else within a few states away. It’s not easy, sometimes batches are lost, but we’re always honing in on the process. We have unusually smooth, white, well-formed SCOBYs that produce enough natural CO2 to go from glass fermentor straight to the bottle. Our kombucha is unfiltered, raw, almost all the teas are organic and fair trade, brewed in glass only, and naturally effervescent. It’s a unique mouthfeel, and enhances instead of detracts from the denouement of fermentation. You can taste the batch as we halt it from transitioning being a sweet tea into kombucha before hitting a caustic vinegar state.

Looking ahead, we’ll be adding another new flavor soon, our first house-blend that jumps right on the hoppy train everyone is on in our area currently. We’re also working on recipes for seasonal releases next year that feature the rich local terroir of food we have here in western New York. Right now I have a half a bushel of the heirloom fruit quince in the refrigerator, some local, organic ginger on order, and a few miscellaneous mason jars of linden flowers, elderflowers, and lavender. I just tossed this year’s micro batch experiments that were kombuchas created using Deep Root Farm fennel, carrots, badger flame beets, and foraged mulberries. The idea will be to work with local farms to create a unique, seasonal brew that’s specific to our region.

Lastly, we finally found amazing honey that met all of our standards to create a jun. The honey is local, unpasteurized, no harsh chemicals are used on the bees; it’s regenerative beekeeping, and Mike and Judy of Under the Sun Honey seem like great people. Their bees live in a wildflower field and drink mountain spring water, which sounds like a solid retirement plan to me. I brewed three micro batches with three kinds of tea so we’ll see which one makes the cut. It will be a specialty item, one tea is more expensive and very floral- unlike anything I’ve ever had.

Looking forward to the cooler temperatures and the new projects in the works. I also went back to my old job full time as a laborer on heavy highway construction. We build bridges, highways, tunnels, etc. and are wrapping up a big job before beginning a new 3 year fly-over highway that will make another can of worms. The best way to see what we’re up to is on Instagram.

-Jesse

Jesse Horning