Noma’s Coffee Kombucha

Coffee kombucha offers a second life to used coffee grounds, which still have plenty of flavor to give up. If you prefer, you can use new grounds, but note that you’ll use much less of the fresh stuff. Look for coffee that hasn’t been roasted too dark, which can turn it quite bitter—a lighter roast will allow the complex fruitiness of a good coffee to shine through.

Coffee Kombucha

Excerpted from "The Noma Guide to Fermentation by René Redzepi and David Zilber" (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2018. Photographs by Evan Sung. Illustrations by Paula Troxler.

  • 240 grams sugar
  • 1.76 kilograms water
  • 730 grams leftover coffee grounds, or 200 grams freshly ground coffee
  • 200 grams unpasteurized kombucha (or the liquid that comes with a packaged SCOBY)
  • 1 SCOBY
  1. Bring the sugar and 240 grams of the water to a boil in a medium pot, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Meanwhile, put the coffee grounds in a nonreactive heatproof container. Pour the hot syrup over the coffee, then add the remaining 1.52 kilograms water. Let the coffee mixture cool to room temperature, cover, and transfer to the fridge to infuse overnight.
  2. The following day, strain the coffee liquid through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth into the fermentation vessel. Backslop the infusion by stirring in the 200 grams unpasteurized kombucha. Wearing gloves, carefully place the SCOBY into the liquid. Cover the top of the fermentation vessel with cheesecloth or a breathable kitchen towel and secure it with a rubber band. Label the kombucha and set it in a warm place.
  3. Leave the kombucha to ferment, tracking its progress each day. Make sure the top of the SCOBY doesn’t dry out; use a ladle to moisten it with some of the liquid, if necessary. Once you’re happy with the flavor of your kombucha—probably between 7 and 10 days from the start—transfer the SCOBY to a container for storage and strain the kombucha. Consume immediately or refrigerate, freeze, or bottle it.
  4. Suggested Uses
  5. Coffee-Kombucha Tiramisu: The next time you’re having a dinner party, make a tiramisu, using coffee kombucha in place of coffee to soak your ladyfingers. Tiramisu is quite rich and sweet with custard, and the pleasantly vibrant bite of coffee kombucha acts as a perfect counterpoint.
  6. Parsnips Glazed with Coffee Kombucha: Let’s say you’ve got a pan of peeled and quartered parsnips, caramelizing gently in foaming butter on the stove. Two minutes before removing them from the pan, throw in a sprig each of sage and thyme, turn up the heat a bit, and deglaze with about 120 milliliters coffee kombucha. Swirl the pan, paying attention as the mixture thickens and begins to stick to the parsnips. At the last minute, add a big spoonful of butter and allow it to melt and glaze the parsnips. Remove from the pan and finish with a sprinkling of smoked salt.

Copyright © 2018.