Kombucha Now At Casa Oro

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Brewing your own Kombucha & Kombucha as a Model for Regeneration

 

Many of us have either heard of kombucha or actively enjoy this effervescent, living beverage. Believed to have originated in China, 221 BC and later in Japan, 415 AD, (Source: www.seedsofhealth.co.uk/fermenting/kombucha.shtml) Kombucha is widely enjoyed by the many- and now being brewed and served here, at Casa Oro! How exciting!!!

 

Kombucha is created by fermenting black tea, dulce (a pre-refinement version of granulated sugar), purified water and a scoby (more on this later) together initially in a large glass vat (open- air) and proceeding to later bottle this fermented liquid within air-tight containers to produce a delicious carbonated finish.

 

“Scoby”, also sometimes known as “the mother” for its reproductive qualities, is an acronym for “Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast”. It is the scoby that makes fermentation happen; along with the correct proportions or sugar, tea and water, of course. It is also the symbiotic qualities of this culture that makes it so sought after and purported to offer awesome health benefits to those who drink of it’s tea. The quick explanation of this is that much of our immune system is hosted in our guts. By adding probiotics such as those within a kombucha brew, we strengthen our immune systems and improve our overall well-being. The gut is also being discovered as having more brain cells that the brain itself… So, what was first understood as “the second brain” may be more valuable that just that… There is truth in listening “to one’s gut” and too, reason to treat it well.

 

So, let us explain here how you too can produce your own amazing kombucha at home!

(So long as you promise to come in for a glass here at Casa Oro! 😉)

 

What you will need (per gallon/4 liters)

  • Purified water (13 cups)
  • Sugar (1 cup)
  • Black tea bags (8) or Loose leaf (2 tablespoons)
  • Vinegar from the “mother jar” or leftover kombucha from the most recent batch (2 cups)
  • A big glass jar with the “scoby” in it
  • Cheesecloth
  • Elastic bands
  • Bottles and lids (for secondary fermentation)

Note: Brewing your kombucha will happen in two major steps. If you need to make a scoby from scratch, you can read up on how to do so here: https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-your-own-kombucha-scoby-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-202596

 

 

Step 1: Primary Fermentation

  • Ensure that the jar containing the scoby is ready for use. Always keep some vinegar in the jar to keep the scoby hydrated. This vinegar will contribute to the total volume of vinegar of kombucha that gets added to the present batch.
  • Combine clean, boiling water with the sugar. Use 1 cup of boiling hot water per gallon of tea intended to be produced.
  • Steep tea, making a strong extraction. The tea bags must be left in for at least 10 minutes.
  • Let the tea cool down and proceed to remove the bags.
  • Add the required amount mother jar vinegar AND/OR kombucha from the last jar into the tea ONLY once it has cooled (considering that which is already present in the jar we are using)
  • Pour into that jar. Follow up by gently pouring the required amount of water into the jar.
  • Cover with a cheesecloth and let set for 4-5 days. Because of the size of our scoby, the tea should be fermented by then.

 

Step 2: Secondary Fermentation

 

  • Much in the same manner that we achieve carbonation for the ginger beer, we will send the kombucha through a bottling phase with tightly closed lids to create carbonation.
  • It is at this stage that the kombucha can be flavoured with any fruit, herb or spice that we want (e.g.: ginger and turmeric, or pineapple & passionfruit). Get creative!
  • Follow the same steps that were followed for carbonating the ginger beer, being sure to “burp” (releasing carbonation build up) the bottles every few days to avoid breaking.
  • Refrigerate when we wish to cease the carbonation process.

 

Currently we are serving up ginger, passionfruit, green mango and cinnamon flavours of our kombucha brewed using the above method. How delicious! The possibilities of flavour infusions are virtually unlimited, so get creative!

A fascinating fact about kombucha and scoby cultures is that they serve as an excellent model and example for regeneration; which is exactly what Casa Oro and Rancho Regeneration are all about! The kombucha culture goes beyond sustainability and reproduces itself with every new batch. (If your about to start brewing your own at home, be prepared for a growing mother and many new offspring. If you cannot give your scoby away, you will be happy to know that it makes for an excellent addition to your compost!)

 

Given the right circumstances, the kombucha culture can reproduce indefinitely. Furthermore, in our brewing trials, we watch one of our monolithic sized mothers reconstruct herself back together. Regeneration at its best and a shining example at that.

 

We will continue to write some more about fermentation as our ginger beer approaches readiness. We hope you ca n take the instructions above into practice and get around to appreciating your own, virtually endless supply of kombucha, a fantastic example of regeneration that keeps on giving. Be sure to come by Casa Oro and try one of our freshly brewed flavours by the glass!

Thanks for reading!

Fabian & Jade

DIY RUM INFUSIONS & Sexy Cocktails!

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Having written about making and flavouring kombucha in our last post, we thought it would be appropriate to introduce to you our house-made rum infusions and brand-spanking new cocktail list now being served at Goldie’s, the in-house Casa Oro bar!

 

Coffee, passionfruit, watermelon, pineapple, ginger & lime, ginger dark rum, orange, coconut & jalapeño flavours are only just a start with some many fresh fruits readily available in Nicaragua, this kind of experimentation is bound to yield good results!

 

Most of our infusions are now being served as parts of our newly developed cocktail list or served straight up and over rocks. Thirsty yet? Not to worry if you don’t yet enjoy straight up spirits. Our cocktail list is sure to please.

 

As classics are a staple to any cocktail list, we’ve made sure to keep a few such as:

 

  • Banana daquiri
  • Pina Colada
  • Margarita
  • Mojito

 

We’ve shaken up some unique flavours for you using all Nicaraguan ingredients, such as:

 

  • The Almost White-Russian: A combination of house-made coffee liquor, Flor de Cana rum, house-made coconut milk and a slice of banana.
  • The Nica martini: Jalapeño infused flor de cana with fresh pressed lime juice shaken and strained.
  • The Espresso martini: Matagalpa-sourced beans to extract two ounces of true espresso, house made coffee liquor & flor de cana rum.

 

Happy hour is on each day, between the hours of 6-8pm. We offer 2 for 1 cocktails at this time, meaning you and a friend (or just you) can enjoy two of Casa Oro’s delicious cocktails for only $5!

 

We are also pleased to announce that none of our cocktails contain refined sugar! All cocktails have been designed with ecological and health related wellness in mind. When it comes to making our liquors, some sweet is needed, so we’ve used the least amount of dulce possible- the step after raw and real cane juice, offering a deep, molasse flavour that you will get to enjoy in our coffee and ginger liquors. Otherwise rest easy and enjoy knowing that your beverage of choice at Casa Oro is free of all refined sugars!

 

As our ginger beer approaches its completion, we will be happily serving it by the glass and in our Dark N’ Stormy cocktail too, so stay tuned and if you happen to be in San Juan del Sur, we hope to see you at Goldie’s tonight!

 

Cheers!!

Fabian and Jade

Cold Brew Coffee… So Delicious It Might Make You Cry

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For many of us, coffee comes first

 

As those who have stayed with us will know, we are serving up potent and true espresso and white top coffees (latte, cappuccino, mocha) using a professional 3 group espresso machine by Rancilio & beautiful dark roast beans prepared by Los Flores & sourced from the Matagalpa region of Nicaragua- one of the world’s finest.

 

As a former working barista, coffee and eco-enthusiast, I am happy to report that our choice of beans is rainforest alliance certified, reflecting Casa Oro’s on-going commitment to regeneration and repair- taking sustainability to a whole other level. Coffee is an essential crop for many families here in Nicaragua and a staple amongst people worldwide. Hence, approaching the coffee scene from whichever angle should be done with awareness of eco-friendly and regenerative crops for all generations to enjoy.

 

If you wish to know more about Café Los Flores and all things coffee, you can visit their website here: (https://cafelasflores.com/about-us/)

 

But what we’re really writing about in this entry is our new cold coffee here at Casa Oro, and we’ve brought it in full-force. Overnight we prepared our first 3 gallons of fine cold “brew” coffee, so easy and engagingly palatable that it might make you cry. Coffee enthusiasts rejoice! With this deceivingly easy to prepare a cup of coffee, one can enjoy the fullness and complexity of the coffee beans interactive constituents without the sometimes-undesirable acidity of espresso.

 

Selling for only $3/glass, this stuff is like rocket fuel, typically packing more of a punch than your standard double shot of espresso. And it’s incredibly refreshing, served over ice with a side of milk optional and a lingering unfolding presence on one’s palate.

 

A sip in and the staff, who are quite accustomed to drip brew and sometimes not fond of the strength of true espresso, were wide-eyed and happy to have been introduced to a new preparation method.

 

·       Prep time: An estimated 15 minutes

 

·       Extraction time:  A passive process, between 15-24 hours (this depends on the coffee bean and the desired character of your finished product. Note: Our extraction was complete at 18 hours when the acidic qualities of the bean only began to emerge. The strength and presence of your final product will change according to how long it is left to extract.

 

·       What you need:  A blender, coffee beans, purified water and a fridge and a container of choice… So simple it might make you cry!

 

 Instructions: 

(Note: The key ratio here is 1-part coffee to 4 parts water.)

·       Blend 2 handfuls of bean at a time so to obtain a coarse grind size.

·       Empty your ground beans into a measuring container (If making a small batch, you will want to use at least a cup of coffee, but you can truly make as you want. This stuff will stay fresh in your fridge for weeks in a sealed, airtight container).

·       Empty your ground beans into your container of choice (we used a large rectangular kitchen tub as to increase surface area and maximize extraction)

·       With clean hands, get into your grind, breaking apart any obviously larger bits of bean. Your grind should be uniform, but this is not a strict science.

·       Pour 4 times the amount of water to coffee in your container.

·       Seal and slide into the fridge. Take note of the time and taste your brew after 15 hours, and every hour subsequently until your desired character has emerged.

·       Strain grinds from extraction using a clean cheesecloth. Seal and leave in the fridge when not in use.

 

Super easy right?

 

This extraction can be used in baking recipes anywhere that call for coffee, behind your bar as the basis for a coffee liquor or straight up as your whatever time of the day cup.

 

We’ll be writing on how to brew kombucha and ginger beer in our next entries. Hope you enjoy.

Cheers!

Fabian

 

OUR JOURNEY from COSTA RICA to SAN JUAN DEL SUR NICARAGUA 

WE FOUND THE GOLD AT THE END OF THE RAINBOW!!

 

2 Days before we left freezing cold Canada to come to Central America for the winter season we had no plan. All that we knew was that we wanted to co create with other ‘movers and shakers’ who are making a difference on the planet with the intention to leave our earth better for future generations.  AND we wanted surf, teach yoga, offer our gifts in service & play in the sun!  We were already scheduled to fly to San Jose Costa Rica knowing that the whole of central and south america is accessible from there.   A few days before we left beautiful snowy Canada we went for lunch with our dear friend and yoga teacher Irum from the centre of natural living.  Over lunch she told us about her friend Muffadel and mentioned that he has some exciting projects on the burner that she thought we might be interested in.  Yaaayy universe, and Irum!! Hot travel tips apleanty!! This is what I love most about travelling, the way the universe guides us with the wind in our sails and lands us in situations sometimes better than we had hoped or imagined for. 

We decided to chill in the jungle near Domnical for a couple of weeks, before heading north to San Juan Del Sur Nicaragua, to see what’s up with this brother with a vision.  Costa Rica is such an incredible place, with rolling hills, jungle, cranking surf, beautiful people, tribe to boot & lots of fun!!! Our stay there with our beautiful friend Melissa and her son Allande was such a blessing, kick starting our trip with familiar faces, loads of laughter, new and old friends, ceremonies, collaboration, jungle, beach and organic farm fresh food.  But we had a mission in mind, so we stayed a couple of weeks and mozied off to Nicaragua to begin our working holiday exploration.

 

Although the actual distance from our jungle stay near Dominical, Costa Rica to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua was not particularly far, it was never the less A LOT of fun.  It began at a bus stop outside the church in Tinamastes, a sleepy little town about 30 km inland from Dominical Costa Rica. We had just been at the farmers market that happens every Tuesday morning, where there had been a fine mix of local and alternative/expat type characters.  After eating a deliciously prepared breakfast and saying bye to our new-found friends from the nearby village of Fuente Verde, we boarded a large charter bus which, in the typical fashion of Costa Rica, was predictably late. Lucky for us, we were in no hurry to arrive into San Jose for our overnight stay.

 

So up the windy and narrow hill roads we drove, scoping breath-taking and amazing views of the mountains & valleys below. Costa Rica is such a lush and green country, even in the dry season. Probably because the “dry” season is not necessarily dry at all and more of a relative state to the otherwise soaking wet rainy season. I’m told that the Tico people can identify more shades of green than any other person in the world… Whether this is a true standing fact has yet to be tested, but nonetheless a testament to the abounding (and seemingly unlimited) variety of plant life that makes up Costa Rica’s landscapes.

 

Arriving in San Jose was a familiar scene. A bustling place and we were particularly fine-tuned to the well-organized commotion around us, having spent the better part of the previous two weeks in relative quiet. Our friend with whom we had boarded the bus was due at the airport in less time than the local buses could promise, so we came to an agreement with a willing taxi driver instead. The ride was considerably quicker and again, we got to enjoy some sweet sights. What perspective it is to be driving at cloud level!

 

 

Our stay in San Jose was pleasant and we woke refreshed and well rested the following day. The guys at Finca Escalante are most hospitable, super welcoming and serve complementary breakfast each morning. We had a cab called for us and within minutes we were being whisked away to the Caribbean- Bound bus station, which also happens to service buses headed to the boarder town on Penas Blancas. If there is any sense in the way that San Jose’s bus stations are planned, it has so far eluded me.

 

 

Driving through Costa Rica is always a sensational experience for the landscapes are each beautiful in their own way. The land north of San Jose hosts volcanos and drier landscapes which pleasantly contrast the lusher jungles of the south. Several hours later found us at the beginning of the boarder walk. Immediately, we are being met by revving individuals offering to convert our colones for cordobas, provide cab rides or assist us through the boarder walk. We connected with one particularly collected woman who pointed us to the Costa Rican tax shack where we would pay our $8 departure tax (Step 1). Subsequently, we would walk to the immigration office (which is visible from the bus drop off and the departure tax shack) and be “stamped out” of Costa Rica (Step 2).

 

Then begins the walk. This boarder cross involves a long stretch between offices, marked by (on this day) hundreds of long-haul trucks waiting to cross, as well as several security/passports (Step 3) checks along the way. I was asked to play my drum at a certain check point, to which we shared some laughs and a small jig. I really had to concentrate to make sure I was understanding our conversation. This officer even called over her superior and I was asked to play yet again. Some more laughs were had and small talk exchanged before we were again on our way.  Further down the road we arrived at the Nicaraguan immigration office where we payed the typical $1 municipal tax (Step 4) and proceeded to wait in line to get stamped in (Step 5). This process involves an entry tax of $12 and a few questions about intended whereabouts and intended time to be spent in Nicaragua.

  

What a raw, pleasant and welcome vibe it was to emerge into Nicaragua. Immediately we felt this liveliness and presence in the people that we hadn’t quite experienced this round in Costa Rica. It was an awesome feeling, paired with the feeling of “we’re here!”. We grounded in by purchasing some delicious local fruit, chatting with a few of the locals and hopping on board an infamous “chicken bus” designated for Managua. Although it is typically the bus to Rivas that drops travellers off at the road to San Juan, these guys were happy to make the stop for us.

 

You know that you’ve got to move fast when riding with these guys. Time is money and they hustle. 30 seconds before drop off, one of the buss dudes strides to the back where we were sitting, chivalrously takes some of our bags and prompts us into action while the bus is still in motion. It all happened so fast and comically that writing about it now is still leaving me chuckling.

 

Directly across the road we were met by a self-operated “taxi” driver, Jose, who offered to take us into town for $6. Though one can also hitch into town easily, we decided we’d support him and the family and entertain some conversation while we were at it.   Fifteen minutes later and we arrive in the bustling town center of San Juan del Sur.  It was full of sass and smells, laughter, music, kids playing on the beach, people drinking coctails for sunset and culture! We were in heaven!! 

 

It was not until a few days later, while sitting in Casa Oro, having some of the best food in town, did we meet Muffadal. In the days that followed we chatted, shared stories and his vision for creating an echo tourism hub that is not only sustainable but regenerative!  That gives back to the earth and the community!!  We received an extensive tour of his current projects, which are HUGE and incredible!

 

 

Casa Oro:  Echo friendly hostel right in town which houses 100 guests and boasts some of the the best tours in San Juan del Sur.  Daily shuttles to the many pumping surf beaches,  surf lessons and tours, snorkling, scooba diving, fishing, horse back riding, spear fishing, booze cruises, turtle tours and more!  The restaurant offers an incredible variety of vegan, seafood and chicken dishes, all prepared in house with fresh organic cuisine & love! Casa Oro has a beautiful bar & coffee shop which is open daily until 11pm.  The overall vibe of Casa Oro is fun and relaxing.  The entire place has been renovated using recycles building materials put together beautifully to create a bohemian eclectic vibe that makes you feel so at home that you want to stay for weeks and weeks on end. 

 

 

Casa Andalucia: An exquisite yoga retreat space & bnb that overlooks the entire bay of San Juan Del Sur, this space is next level and is the perfect environment to host teacher trainings, retreats and group get aways.  Casa Andalucia has the capacity for 15-20 people and has all of the utilities one would desire to host a high end retreat that is both affordable and private.

 

 

El Pacifico:  15 minutes walk along the beach outside of town, this beautiful little resort has a combination of dorm rooms and private accommodation, its own gorgeous pool, hammock, restaurant, bar and wifi.  Free shuttles into town make coming in and out of San Juan’s excitement really easy and fun!

 

 

Nuestra Casa: A beautiful guesthouse in town that hosts incredible views of the bay and provides a private homely escape for guests to come and replenish or work.  Art and flare is strewn all over this gorgeous little get away and it has one of the best sunset spots in town! 

 

 

Rancho Regeneration:  Woaw! What a vision and a view!  This exquisite 80 acre property, to-be retreat centre, with stunning jungle/ocean views.  Casa Regeneration’s vision is to provide organic, fresh food for 1000 people per day!  With the intention of giving back to the local community, taking sustainability several steps further into the realm of regeneration and eventually creating another hub where permaculture and sustainable building, education & collaboration takes place!

 

 

This is the vision that we journeyed to San Juan for; and we immediately had a big fat yessss to help make it happen!

 

In just a few days after creating some initial goals to kick and timelines through which to operate, we have initiated a 3 gallon batch of kombucha; started a ginger bug; “brewed” several gallons of cold coffee; set up a volunteer kitchen & work space; fine-tuned the hostel’s espresso bar to produce an excellent cup using beans from the Matagalpa region;  renovated the bar, refining it for quality service purposes and put together a whole new cocktail list to be complemented with house-made liquors; managed the hostel’s social media platforms; taught yoga classes twice daily and have updated the  information boards in the hostel.. The project is coming alive and it feels so good to be a part of it!  Next is making natural cleaning products for the guests and in house cleaning!

 

We will be writing some more on our experiences here, so stay tuned. Upcoming: On “brewing” the most delicious ice coffee you will ever taste; On making kombucha using double fermentation methods & flavouring; and, Kombucha as a model for Regeneration.

 

Thanks for reading!

Fabian & Jade