Monthly Archives: March 2015
There are a few things about kombucha that may keep people from achieving total brewing mastery, which is why we've compiled a list of the top kombucha brewing questions we receive.
- Is this mold?
A few rules of thumb apply with mold:
- Mold will always be dry and fuzzy (never dry and bubbly)
- Mold will never form below the surface of the liquid in your brew jar
- Low temperatures and weak nutrient can invite mold proliferation
Check out this blog post that covers all of the aspects of mold speculation!
- How can I store SCOBY? How long can I keep it there?
You can store a SCOBY for 3-months in the refrigerator. You will want to make sure the culture is completely submerged in kombucha and covered. Ideally, you should store it in glass, but any vessel that seals and keeps out refrigerator odors will work well. The longer you store a SCOBY, the longer it will take to ferment the first brew.
It is possible to resuscitate a frozen SCOBY. Simply allow it to thaw, and brew with it as you would normally. Be sure to speak softly to it, playing lilting ukulele music.
- My kombucha isn’t fizzy. What am I doing wrong?
There are a few things to take note of when you want to carbonate your kombucha:
- Kombucha will not be inherently effervescent (bubbly) right out of primary fermentation
- The simplest carbonation method for a homebrewer is to bottle your kombucha and allow it to continue fermenting, with the lid on, at room temperature
- The sugar content of the kombucha you are bottling will play a huge role in your resulting effervescence. Sugar is contributed in either primary fermentation (and will be residual when you bottle) or it is added as a flavoring when you bottle. This is usually juiced or dried fruit, but can also be more sugar, a couple of raisins, honey, maple syrup, etc.
- The temperature of the environment in which you are doing secondary fermentation plays a large role as well. Just like during primary fermentation, higher temperatures will result in quicker fermentation and lower temperatures will result in slower fermentation
Check out this blog post to read up on carbonating your kombucha.
- My kombucha is too sweet. What am I doing wrong?
That’s a good problem to have, as it means that your brew hasn't fermented too far yet. You will just need to wait a little bit longer for your brew to reach a nice balance of sweetness and acidity or rase the temperature to increase fermentation speed. It’s better to find that it’s sweet, because at the other end of the spectrum you could be finding your ‘buch to be too vinegary.
After day 5 of primary fermentation, taste your brew daily. Use a spoon, straw, sample thief, etc. This will help to acclimate you to the changes your brew is experiencing, giving you a good foresight on when it will be completed and ready to drink or bottle!
- My kombucha is too vinegary. What am I doing wrong?
You simply need end primary fermentation sooner. All kombucha, left at room temperature, will eventually become vinegar. Start tasting it daily after 5 days, and when you find it to have a nice balance of sweetness and acidity, it’s ready to drink!
But if you go too far, don't fret! Simply blend in some unfermented tea and/or sugar before you bottle. This will balance out your brew and make nice bubbles in secondary! High temperatures will also give you a vinegary brew. Try to be as close to 78F as possible and never go above 86F although at 86F your brew will get sour quickly. Start tasting after 7 days.
- Can I use any tea to make kombucha?
Following a few guidelines, it is very easy to use pretty much any of your favorite herbal or standard teas for making kombucha:
- For all brews that you are trying to create a new SCOBY use ONLY straight non herbal teas. Thats White, Green, Black, Oolong, Pu-erh, and Matcha.
- If you want to use herbs, use no more than 25% the total mass of plant matter for your steep. For example - 12 grams black tea, 3 grams lavender
- Herbal tea is not an adequate substitute for actual tea! Make sure to use a SCOBY from your hotel to dive in to herbs.
For more information on using tea and herbs for your brews, check out this blog post.
- Can I use sweeteners other than sugar?
- Plain sugar is the best sweetener for your standard kombucha brew and the only sweetener to use to keep your SCOBY microbial diversity the same. Any alternative sweetener will change your SCOBY permanently.
- You can try using other sweeteners, but train your culture into becoming comfortable with them
- Use a Jun culture if you want to brew with honey
- Maple syrup makes excellent kombucha, and both standard and Jun cultures do well with it but remember your SCOBY will change.
- For liquid sweeteners, use 3/4 cup per 1-gallon brew
- Maple crystals do not do so well alone in kombucha, the same goes for brown sugar and coconut sugar.
Read up on Jun kombucha here
8. How much alcohol is in kombucha?
As a home brewer, you will generally see higher alcohol content in your 'buch than you will find in store-bought kombucha. This is due to a legal requirement that non-alcoholic beverages must contain less than .5% alcohol by volume, and they are carefully processed and handled to keep the alcohol content low.
So, in your home-brewed kombucha, you will generally see alcohol content anywhere from .5% to 2.5%. At the high end of that scale, the booziness will be evident but still very subtle and easily broken down by your body. The average amount of alcohol in kombucha is 1%.
For more information about alcohol in kombucha, read this blog post.
For information about brewing high alcohol kombucha, check out this one.
Have we missed anything? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rare and Limited Offerings from KBBK's Premium Tea Collection
We're pleased to now offer two new and exotic styles of pu-erh! For a limited time, rare bamboo and ceramic-aged pu-erhs will be featured on our site for your kombucha brewing delight. Both of these teas are extremely limited and won't last!
The ceramic-aged pu-erh is a ripe, or shu pu-erh, and it has been processed to accelerate fermentation, and aged a further 15 years. We're very happy to offer this tea as it's a great example of the art and care taken in preparation, storage and presentation of tea. The included ceramic pot is hand-made by the manufacturer, and is a beautiful companion to this delicious tea and will surely bring an air of authenticity to your kitchen!
The quick fermentation accentuates notes of malt and root vegetables, while the full body alludes to buttery corn cob and rich earth. It's a true treat to behold with full, dark color and loads of flavor to reveal after multiple infusions.
And for a more rustic style, we're introducing a bamboo-aged pu-erh that's been cave-conditioned for 14 years. This is a great example of a raw, or shu pu-erh, that's been undergoing natural fermentation and maturation. At once green, then citrusy, and next smoky and mouth-filling, this tea is a true flavor chameleon. A cooling, minty effect stimulates your palate with each sip, giving way to a pleasant, non-bitter and lingering mouthfeel that is remarkably clean for a pu-erh.
A part of the preservation process involves a heating of the bamboo after it's been packed with the pu-erh maocha, or unfermented leaf, which imparts a lightly smoky taste that is as alluring as it is comforting.
Both of these new pu-erh offerings produce a rapidly-growing SCOBY, a sure sign that the culture loves these teas! A truly unique kombucha awaits, and sharing this tea's taste as well as its story is the real treat of this experience.
For more information on pu-erh, see this blog post about this fantastic style!
For brewers new and experienced, use this kombucha tea and herb guide to jump off the tea bag bandwagon and into the world of loose leaf! Loose leaf teas are, across the board, of a much higher quality than those that come in tea bags. And be sure to visit our website to check out our selection of premium brewing teas.