Inge Magdalena Harmsen mUm
All kombucha starts with a mother. This is an ode to ours. Inge grew up in post-war Germany but moved to Detroit at 16, where she lived with civil rights activist and feminist Ms. Sophia Ellis, who inspired her to pursue a medical career and join Doctors Without Borders. The ST1 tank is named after Inge. Here, the essence of our kombucha takes shape — the starter culture. Our kombucha starter culture is attained through a two-phased system, in which we work exclusively with our custom-made liquid SCOBY culture.
The components are, as is the case of our kombucha base, green tea, lemon verbena and cane sugar. All organic. The starter culture is, in short, a more intense version of our kombucha that triggers the fermentation process. This forms the very basis of the acid profile and contains a high amount of bacteria and yeast cultures. The yeast begins to process the sugar into alcohol, and to control and cater to this, the first phase takes place in a customised, closed fermentation tank at a temperature of 34°. We are able to maintain a constant and precise temperature inside the tank.
A consistent, reliable atmosphere that is easily regulated is implemented, where oxygen can be added into the system as needed. Thermal regulation helps us speed up or slow down fermentation, and can be adjusted through the steel tank’s jacket. In the ongoing process of fermentation, alcohol is converted into organic acids, which, in our kombucha, means a high amount of gluconic acid and tartaric acid, contributing to a smooth, citrus acidity. In the second phase of fermentation, the temperature is lowered to 23°, and sterile aeration is added to support the conversion of alcohol into organic acids. This takes 3 weeks of fermentation in total. The result is a starter culture that is strong and rich on yeast and bacteria to start the fermentation and making the kombucha base.