Kombucha: Important Things to Note


The first batch will take the longest, while you get your system up and running. It takes a few batches to get the SCOBY up and running at full strength, so don’t get discouraged if the first couple batches don’t taste quite right. Also, brew time is going to vary from season to season. When the weather is cooler, the batches take much longer to ferment. During the summer, things speed up dramatically, so you can adjust your schedule as needed.

What is the best temperature for my brew?

The ideal temp is between 72-84 degrees – if it is much hotter you may consider placing it in a dark, cool cupboard. Much cooler may require insulation (in the form of an old blanket or sweater) or a heating pad.

 

How long should I ferment my brew? Can I ruin a brew or my SCOBY if I let it ferment too long?

You should brew as long as it takes to reach the flavor you most prefer. This may take a couple of brewing cycles to determine.  Follow your taste buds.  And no, you cannot “ruin” a SCOBY through long brewing cycles, though your brew will grow quite tart and eventually turn into Kombucha vinegar, which can be used in many ways if it is no longer drinkable. Even if this happens your SCOBY is still fine to use.


Does it matter if my SCOBY sinks?

The culture can float on top or sink to the bottom, it is perfectly fine. The new culture will always grow on the top of your brew, but the mother can be anywhere in the vessel.


What should I know about bottling my kombucha?

Before using, check the bottles carefully for cracks or imperfections, which can weaken the integrity of the bottle and lead to explosions. We also recommend “burping” the bottles occasionally during the second fermentation to release excess pressure.

You might notice some sediment in your jar of tea or some stingy like substances hanging off your ladle. If this bothers you, simply run your Kombucha through a sieve or sifter before bottling/drinking and this will remove all of your floating objects from you Kombucha.

Fill the bottle almost to the top, leaving a maximum headspace of 1″ or less.  The less you have the more carbonation that you will have. Please note, NEVER shake Kombucha it can explode.  The higher you fill the bottle, the more likely you are going to need to burp your Kombucha to relieve the gas bubbles a bit.


What are these brown strands and bits I am seeing?

Those brown strands are the yeast. They are a part of the SCOBY – symbiotic culture of bacteria & YEAST!  They consume the sugar and convert it to alcohol and also help create carbonation.  The dead, spent yeast collect at the bottom the brewing vessel.  Be sure to wash it out with some purified water, vinegar or a little kombucha.


 

What if my Kombucha gets mold?

Are you sure it is mold? First time or novice brewers often mistake the first growing layer of SCOBY for mold. Compare your brew to pictures online. If you are sure it’s mold, throw everything away, sanitize your equipment and start all over. SCOBYs are not salvageable once mold strikes, this is why it’s a good idea to keep extra SCOBYs in a hotel. Mold looks like it does on food, black/brown/blue.


 


Will my Kombucha be alcoholic?

When you brew at home, primary fermentation (pre-flavors) alcohol content will likely be less than .5%. Should you decide to add flavors, the level could elevate due to the naturally occurring sugars reactivating the yeast. To test your ABV – alcohol by volume – you can purchase a hydrometer at your local brewing supply store.

DO – Sanitize the kitchen. DON’T – Use chlorine.  It kills bacteria
& we ♥ the bacteria in our SCOBYs!
DO – Wash your hands with
filtered water or vinegar.
DON’T – Use soap. See above.
DO – Brew with filtered water. DON’T – Brew with tap water.
DO – Cover with a brewer’s cap, cloth cover, or
coffee filter w/rubber band.
DON’T – Cover w/cheesecloth.
The weave is too loose and will allow in
wild bacteria/yeast or fruit flies.
DO – Select a warm location w/good airflow (on top of the fridge or on a countertop) DON’T – Store in direct sunlight, in a
closed cupboard or in a cool location.
DO – Give the culture time
to ferment and develop.
DON’T – Disturb the vessel.
Too much movement will prevent
the culture from forming properly.
DO – Pull new starter liquid
from the TOP of the KT.
DON’T – Pull new starter liquid
from the bottom of the batch.
DO – Make a SCOBY Hotel. DON’T – Store all of your SCOBYs
in your brewing vessel.

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