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Kombucha Brooklyn

  • Using an Auto Siphon: A Kombucha Brewer's Best Friend


    Auto siphon, Kombucha Brooklyn


    The auto siphon has become my favorite brewing implement for many reasons. It's saved my time and energy for years for the simple fact that it makes small batch brewing and farming SCOBYs faster and less laborious tasks.


    When transferring kombucha from brew vessel into bottle, I can think of no faster or cleaner method than using an auto siphon.


    Using an auto siphon, Kombucha Brooklyn


    Hydraulic little guy. Rinse and clean your auto siphon immediately to prevent any sticky, tenacious kombucha buildup in the tubes!


    You'll find many other uses for your auto siphon to seamlessly transfer liquids! So pick one up today and say goodbye to sloppy pours and time-wasting spills.

  • Sunbather: Sun Tea Kombucha


    Not many things are more refreshing than an ice-cold glass of sun tea on a warm summer afternoon.


    As a child, I remember my grandma making sun tea in the summertime with simple big-name tea bags and orange slices. At the time, sustenance was simply handed to me, so to my young mind, thoughts of DIY anything were distant.


    Now, to make tea I've become accustomed to plugging in a kettle, or firing up a stove, but like many things, the old way turns out to be incredibly effective, simple, and economical. And my, how sun tea does taste distinct from the standard infusion! Not bitter, but earthy, and inherently spicy - a surprisingly exotic treat.


    White-rooibos sun tea with golden berries, Kombucha Brooklyn White-rooibos sun tea with golden berries


    And since I'm always thinking about sustainability, I thought I'd tackle an aspect of brewing that uses up lots of energy - boiling water. A good amount of energy is used for this, so it can be rewarding on a few fronts to avoid this unnecessary expenditure. Using the sun to brew your tea saves your time, since you can pretty much set it and forget it for a few hours. And of course, you're using no electricity.


    Already having about 16 gallons of kombucha to brew for SCOBY production, and wanting to try a couple of new things, today I decided to make some special sun tea, which used minimal effort, and see where the 'buch goes.


    So, I threw together a couple of my favorite teas - our house white tea and rooibos, along with some of my favorite new addiction - golden berries. If you haven't tasted golden berries before (or ground cherries as they are sometimes called), give them a try. Intensely sour, fruity and unique, I consider them the Sweet Tart of the berry world (and love to make water kefir with them).


    Golden berries, Kombucha Brooklyn Golden berries


    To complete my brew (and to bring my sustainability down a notch) I had to heat just a little bit of water (1 cup) in order to allow the 1 cup of sugar to dissolve. I'm sure you could let some sugar sit in water in the sun, too, and avoid this. Next all I had to do was add a SCOBY and starter, and the sugar-water to the brew jar and voila! Oh, yeah - I didn't remove the golden berries from the brew jar during primary fermentation...


    Please note:  Leaving any fruits or non-SCOBY solids in your vessel during primary fermentation is not recommended, as it can contribute a surface for mold to form upon - but for the sake of adventure, I'll concede to curiosity. Luckily, the golden berries in this brew stayed submerged, and a SCOBY was able to form over them.


    The recipe is very basic:


    Allow this to steep in the sun, and after about 8 hours add the sugar (dissolved in some warm water) and your SCOBY and starter, and let it sit for about a week! Drink the tea that you must pour off in order to fit the SCOBY and starter into your brew jar. Remember to taste periodically.


    What happened during primary fermentation?


    Flash forward 5 days, and there's a very vigorous mother forming! This is a welcome occurrence but not necessarily expected - the best food for a kombucha culture really is black tea, and generally with other teas you may need to ferment a little bit longer to achieve balanced acidity and a healthy, thick kombucha culture.


    But, as you can see here, after just 5 days there's quite an intense SCOBY forming and lots of bubbling activity going on in the brew jar. Something I've noticed before in using golden berries with water kefir, and saw in this kombucha brew, is that both kefir and kombucha cultures take very readily to the golden berries, and brewing isn't slowed at all by their presence - indeed, the berries have even seemed to potentiate the fermentation process!





    The brew meets my goals for an aesthetically pleasing kombucha, but how does it taste?


    White and rooibos sun tea kombucha with golden berries, Kombucha Brooklyn White and rooibos sun tea kombucha with golden berries


    Even after just 5 days, this brew tastes absolutely transcendental. Notes of cherry, birch bark and orange peel strike the palate with tropical zeal. Each and every aspect of the ingredients comes through in this one - from the herbal, earthy taste of rooibos, to the light, malty grassiness of white tea, and of course the commanding citrus punch from tart golden berries.





    The big payoff


    Time and again, the mantra that brings the prize at rainbow's end, that flavorful attractor for kombucha brewers, comes after treading into unknown territory. I had no idea what would happen with golden berries in the primary ferment. I wasn't positive that the sun, over the course of a few hours, would extract enough nutrients from which the culture could make 'buch. But the satisfaction and pleasure from disregarding apprehension is enveloping and driving. The feeling that you've gone into the unknown and come back with a treasure is something that will never leave me doubting the brewer's path.


    Fermentation is pure alchemy - and the end result is, without a doubt, as good as gold.


    Stay tuned for my next blog in which I'll delve into brewing with solids - fruits, berries etc. - in primary fermentation!

  • Kombucha Recipe: Ruby Daydream


    Ruby Daydream, Kombucha Brooklyn


    One of the funnest things about summer time is the refreshments! We're always trying to think outside the box, and in this kombucha recipe there's no exception. In honor of the coming summer, here's a great brew to turn the proverbial heads of friends and family that is sure to please on those warm, sunny occasions!


    Ruby Daydream

    For a 1-gallon brew:


    1. Steep the following for at least 20 minutes in 32 oz freshly-boiled water:


    2. After removing the leaves and lavender from the infusion, add:

    • 1 cup sugar (stir to dissolve)
    • 64 oz (1/2 gallon) cool, filtered water
    • 1 cup already-brewed kombucha (or 3 TBSP white vinegar)
    • SCOBY


    3. Top the brew off with water so that the surface of the liquid is just below the neck of your vessel.


    4. Cover your brew jar with a cloth and rubber band. Allow the brew to ferment for 5-10 days. Be sure to taste it every day after 5 days!


    5. Once you have a nice balance of sweetness and acidity, your brew is ready for secondary fermentation. Now, you'll need three more ingredients:

    • 5 grams dried (or fresh!) hops (pellet or whole-cone) such as Cascade
    • 1 cup boiling water
    • juice from (1) ruby red grapefruit (~ 1 cup)


    6. Place hops into a nylon mesh bag or tea ball and submerge into the boiling water. Allow to steep for 5 minutes, remove hops, and allow to cool


    7. Siphon or pour off your kombucha into your filling vessel - this can be a tea pitcher, another brew jar, etc.; this is the jar from which you will fill your bottles. Be sure to retain 1 cup of brewed kombucha for your next batch.


    8. Once the hop-tea is cooled, you can add it to your filling vessel, along with the grapefruit juice.


    9. Stir the contents of your jar, fill into glass bottles and one plastic bottle (so you can tell how much pressure builds up).


    10. Allow to sit at room temperature until the plastic bottle has built up a good amount of pressure, indicating that your glass bottles will be carbonated (read here about secondary fermentation). Generally this will take 1-2 weeks, but this step is also totally optional - non-carbonated kombucha is delicious too! Place the bottles into the refrigerator and share once they've cooled.

    Optional: Steep a little bit of hibiscus and add it to your brew for secondary fermentation. This is a great way to add a little color to any brew!

    Once your bottles are ready to drink, pop one open and put your feet up! You deserve some time to sit back with this refresher. This is a good time to start daydreaming about your next brew!

  • Choosing a Brewing Vessel


    Ceramic kombucha crocks, Kombucha Brooklyn

    While it's easy to brew kombucha in pretty much any container, it's an important decision to choose the best vessel you can find. Choosing a brewing vessel can make a huge difference in the quality, and of course quantity, of your kombucha brew. So, in an effort to clarify a few things for brewers new or seasoned, read below to find out more about these essential instruments.


    In choosing your brewing vessel, look for a few key characteristics:


    Stainless steel pot, Kombucha Brooklyn


    1. The vessel should be glassceramic, stainless steel (304 or brewer grade, not cooking grade) or wood. While many will say that food-grade plastic can be used, undesirable flavors often result from continued use of plastic. Glass is an inert material and will not allow the leaching of chemicals into your brew. If brewing in a ceramic vessel, be sure it is lead-free (the crocks that KBBK carries are lead-free and USA-made). Stainless steel is especially popular in commercial brewing environments and as such will work for home brewing as well. Some choose to brew in wooden barrels, which is also fine, and will contribute woody characteristics to your brew.
    2. The vessel should be wide-mouthed. The kombucha SCOBY requires that air be constantly exchanged with the outside environment, as it is constantly taking in oxygen and expelling CO2. A wide surface area ensures fast growth, as well as quick acidification of the tea. This results in a healthy culture. The wider the area for the culture to exchange gases, the more numerous are the antibacterial byproducts of SCOBY metabolism. Keep in mind that although your SCOBY will grow in tall, narrow-mouthed vessels, it will do so less vigorously.
    3. The size of the vessel is important, though not quite so much as the available surface area. Similar to the surface area, however, the more shallow the depth of liquid in the fermentation vessel, the faster the SCOBY grows and processes the tea into delicious kombucha.
    4. The shape of the vessel is a matter of personal preference, and the culture will take the shape of the container at the level of the liquid’s surface.
    5. Vessels with a spigot can be intermittently convenient but can also tend to cause headaches. While it may seem useful to use the spigot and not worry about using or cleaning an auto-siphon, or requiring precise pouring technique, brewers will find the spigot becoming periodically clogged with kombucha culture; you'll find yourself not using the spigot as frequently as you are using it.
      • Additionally, the materials from which the vessel's spigot is made could be contributing chemicals to your brew through leaching. As kombucha is very acidic, any substance that is reactive to such liquids can potentially release toxins into your brew (something interesting to consider when kombucha is a detoxifying drink). It's for precisely this reason that we advise against brewing in plastic, even BPA-free or food-grade plastic vessels.
      • An auto-siphon can be just as simple to use to extract kombucha, resists transfer of large chunks of culture, is easy to clean, and requires no relocation of the brewing vessel.


    Barrel, Beehive and pot, Kombucha Brooklyn


    Additional Considerations


    Ventilation is very important for your brewing vessel. Without proper ventilation, your brew's bacteria will be unable to access the oxygen they need to produce a nicely acidic kombucha. So, consider using fans in bigger brewing setups as well as completely porous (but not too porous) covers for your brewing vessel! Remember that cheese cloth is too porous and can allow fruit flies entry into your brew.


    Remember that it's not only kombucha that you can ferment in your vessels - pretty much any vegetable ferment (kimchi, sauerkraut) and some liquid ferments will work too - think kefir, mead, kvass etc. So, open up your horizons and start scouring flea markets, pawn shops, garage sales and antique malls for some sweet fermentation vessels!


  • From Urban to Ulster: KBBK Has Found Peace and Quiet


    KBBK's New Space, Kombucha Brooklyn


    Well, we've done it! KBBK has completely relocated to the beautiful Catskill mountains, on the outskirts of Kingston, NY. KBBK has found peace and quiet. While we miss the busy night life, bodega sandwiches, nearly effortless transportation and the 'buch-thirsty masses, the move has been for the best.


    View from Overlook Mountain, Kombucha Brooklyn View of the mountains from Overlook Mountain


    We're trading sirens for birdsongs, exhaust for dust, bikes for boats, and towers for trees. Not all of us grew up in a big city, so it's been a pleasant return to rural life for some, and for others an unfamiliar but welcome change of scenery and lifestyle.


    Echo Lake, Kombucha Brooklyn Echo Lake


    So, come visit us in Kingston - you'll surely be welcomed with a cold pint of kombucha when we open our retail space within the next couple of months. We might even take you on a hike or for a quick visit to the beautiful fishing lake behind our store!


    Onteora Fishing Lake, Kombucha Brooklyn Onteora Fishing Lake
  • Exciting News!


    Exciting News! We are moving! We have made a lot of changes over the last 12 months to better suit our personal and professional goals. In November, we halted production of our 12-oz bottle line. This decision was carefully considered. After years of experience with the bottle program, we decided that it did not fully support our company’s mission guidelines of being an environmentally sustainable operation. Environmental sustainability is something we at KBBK are committed to. No matter how hard we tried, there was always an immense amount of waste in the bottle program on multiple levels from production and glass all the way up to the sales and consumer level. The cost of this waste was passed all the way down the chain resulting in an inflated cost per bottle to customers. It’s hard to watch all of that waste when there is a better way!


    By dropping the bottles we were able to put our focus on more sustainable kombucha products: our Kombucha On-Tap Program and our Kombucha Home Brew Supplies. Now we are brewing up the best, most sustainable kombucha for on-tap purchases in reusable growlers or by the glass and we are teaching more people than ever to brew their own at home.


    Now it is time to further hone our vision and make KBBK the very best it can be. This time not just for the business and the environment, but for our family and employees too. Next month, KBBK will begin operating out of our new space just outside of Kingston, NY. By moving upstate, we will greatly reduce expenses from the high costs associated with producing products in the city while providing a clean, safe, spacious environment for our company, employees and products to grow. Our new space, the KBBK Fermentation Shop, will be a learning center, brew shop, lab, and fulfillment center housed in a beautiful, clean, mountain environment. And all are welcome! With more space to explore, we want it to be a destination for fermentation enthusiasts everywhere. Keg production will remain in New York City at our facility in Long Island City.


    Along with this move, Jessica and I and our two sons, Rider and Paxis, will be moving upstate as well. This will give our sons the environment they need to grow, learn and play with all of the “loose parts” that nature provides and that we believe are essential to a developing mind.


    In addition to our family, we are also excited to have some of our longtime KBBK employees joining us on this adventure! We’re a 2-hour drive from the heart of Manhattan, easily accessible by car, train or bus, and surrounded by mountains and trees. What better place in the world to be? We are so pleased that our crew is onboard.


    All of us at KBBK welcome a visit from you and yours at our new home in Kingston and thank you for your continued support on this great fermented mission. Drop by anytime and share a pint of refreshing hand-crafted kombucha with us.



    Eric, Kombuchman

    Team KBBK


  • White Tea Kombucha - A Regal Treat



    For a long time, white tea was a complete mystery to me. To make a distinction between a white and a green tea was like comparing apples... to apples. But with a little investigation, a Silver Needle Tea-off at Tea-Drunk, and a lot of drinking, some of the nature of white teas became clearer.


    The least processed of the teas, this style most famously hails from the Fujian province of China. Made up of the buds, the leaves, or a combination of both, the plant is withered and baked, traits that it has in common with the production of black tea.


    While there are specific varietals and cultivars that may be preferred to others before being processed into a final product, every style of tea can be made from any Camellia sinensis plant. The genetics utilized for a specific style of tea are selected by the manufacturer and are often traditional. Teas from certain plants and unique environments (terroir) contribute to the tea's flavor, body and aroma.


    So, for example, you could take leaves from a Tieguanyin varietal (usually made into oolong tea) and process them into a black tea, or any of the others, for that matter. The best white tea, however, comes from the Fujian province.



    Silver Needle bud, Kombucha Brooklyn Silver Needle bud



    The Leaves


    The development of white teas can be traced back to the end of a long era of consuming tea as a powder rather than, as we're familiar with today, an infusion. It was in these early days of white teas that the leaves were the primary constituent of the tea's pluck - it wasn't until the late 19th century that the buds of tea plants came to be part of white tea production (Bai Hao Yin Zhen, or Silver Needle, is only buds). Other varieties utilize the bud and the first two leaves past the bud (Bai Mudan), or sometimes simply the leaves (Shou Mei, Gong Mei).


    Of all varieties of white teas, the first to be plucked is strictly buds, beginning in early March, followed by Bai Mudan and the others.






    Developed late in the 18th century, the style is rather young – understandable, possibly, when you consider the relatively simple fashion in which it is processed. Soon after plucking, the leaves are withered on bamboo frames and dried slowly, which helps to preserve the shape and tiny hairs on the buds. The result of the minimal processing of this tea is a bulky, unkempt appearance in the case of the leaf-containing teas, or the striking, platinum beauty and uniformity of silver needle varieties.




    When steeping a white tea, you can expect not the vegetal flavors found in green teas, or the astringency. What pervades your palate in white teas is spicy, even herbal - bay, marjoram, oregano and even cinnamon and chicory are invoked; strikingly, the flavor of black tea is also very noticeable. With aging, fruity flavors reveal themselves, such as muscatel grape and apricot. There is a dry nuttiness, like birch bark and chestnuts, that contributes to this once-exclusive tea’s character. Lush, but also somehow dusty, this tea is sharp, yet not affronting. It's luxurious, crisp and refreshing.


    Silver Bud White Pu-Erh, Kombucha Brooklyn Silver Bud White Pu-Erh


    'Buching with White Tea


    White tea alone can make excellent kombucha, but some aspect of this style can make it difficult to support the proliferation of a SCOBY. Among my favorite kombuchas I've made was with a Silver Bud White Pu-Erh that's been aging since 2003 (true pu-erh or not). I've found that while standalone white tea kombucha can be delicious, I also love this tea in blends.


    For example, KBBK's Straight Up utilizes equal parts black, green and white teas. This results in a balanced kombucha that is not too heavily skewed towards the apple and malt flavors contributed by black tea.


    One of my favorite ways to use white tea is in a blend with yerba mate. The result is a smoky, herbaceous kombucha that is suggestive of peaches and citrus.


    Bai Mudan, Kombucha Brooklyn Bai Mudan


    With the addition of other herbs (following some guidelines) the result can be magnificent, uplifting kombucha that trumps anything store-bought 'buch has to offer, the white tea adding some herbal character and nutrients for the culture.


    It is important, as a kombucha brewer, to explore the facets of every tea so that you can blend and brew with breadth and comprehensive character that will keep you and those lucky enough to try your brew surprised and delighted.  So, try brewing with white tea and start experimenting with blending as well. Clarity and refreshing contentment will be your reward!


    You can find KBBK's house white tea (a Bai Mudanhere, as well as the Silver Bud White Pu-Erh here.

  • When Life Gives You SCOBYs...


    At Kombucha Brooklyn we get a little sentimental about SCOBYs. So much so that the thought of trash-heaping the little guys is unbearable. So, when life gives you SCOBYs...


    In the interest of respect and reverence, we have embraced our propensity to consume them. 'Buch isn't just a drink! It can be a tasty, conversation-inducing ingredient in so many dishes that there's never really a wrong way to eat them. Not to mention that you can cook with kombucha in just as many ways!


    In KBBK founders' 2013 book Kombucha!: The Amazing Probiotic Tea that Cleanses, Heals, Energizes and Detoxifies, many SCOBY and 'buch recipes are outlined in an effort to open minds, cleanse bodies, and bring kombucha full circle. Recipes such as Carrot-Ginger-SCOBY Soup, SCOBY Tempura Salad, KomQuinoa Pilaf with SCOBY and Roasted Root Vegetables, and Super Live Miso Soup with SCOBY Noodles have become beloved staples of SCOBY-kitchen repertoire.


    So, we thought we'd recap a few of the ways we've used SCOBYs here around the office. A little food smut never hurt anyone, and we'll take full responsibility for your cravings!



    SCOBY Rancher Snacks are a delicious way to use up a bunch of SCOBY very quickly, and it's a very friendly snack that's amenable to the most stalwart palates.


    KBBK's SCOBY Rancher's Snacks, Kombucha Brooklyn KBBK's SCOBY Rancher's Snacks


    This is one of those meals that probably could never happen the same way twice. Lunch is an epic adventure here. We cooked rice, diced SCOBY and mixed it into the rice with some Kombucha Breath of Fire (a pepper-kombucha vinegar concoction that is in constant rotation here). Then, we mixed fresh avocado with curry spices, served it with the rice, and topped the whole thing with a fried egg and scallions, and voila! It was an improv meal home run.


    SCOBY Avocado Curry, Kombucha Brooklyn SCOBY Avocado Curry


    A delicious and warming Fall food, SCOBY and Red Pepper-Stuffed Acorn Squash is as comforting as SCOBY foods get.


    SCOBY and Red Pepper-Stuffed Acorn Squash, Kombucha Brooklyn SCOBY and Red Pepper-Stuffed Acorn Squash


    While this dish doesn't actually contain SCOBYs, their byproduct, kombucha vinegar, is used in haute fashion for this fantastic dessert concoction devised by KBBK's resident extraordinary chef and office-master Will.


    Bananas Brûlée with Mulberry Kombucha and Toasted Hazelnuts, Kombucha Brooklyn Bananas Brûlée with Mulberry Kombucha and Toasted Hazelnuts


    This is among our all-time favorite uses for SCOBY. The light acidity of SCOBY combined with miso (extra fermentation points!), seaweed, mushrooms and tofu make a delectable and light soup that you'll be dreaming about months down the road. This is one of the recipes featured on Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.


    Super-Live Miso Soup with SCOBY Noodles, Kombucha Brooklyn Super-Live Miso Soup with SCOBY Noodles


    Much like brewing kombucha, experimentation is rewarded many times over in the satisfaction of friends and family in sharing delicious and novel foods. Consider the above a reminder and a jumping-off point for the fact that being a probiotic pioneer is fun, healthy, and wholesome!


    For some of these recipes and many more, check out the book Kombucha!: The Amazing Probiotic Tea that Cleanses, Heals, Energizes and Detoxifies.


    Share any ideas, recipes or photos in the comments section below, or on our Facebook page!

  • Top Kombucha Brewing Questions Answered


    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.


    1. Is this mold?


    What you don't want to see - a moldy SCOBY! Kombucha BrooklynThe most frequently asked question we get from home brewers revolves around the question of mold. The good news is that it’s easy to prevent, easy to spot, and relatively rare.


    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!



    1. How can I store SCOBY? How long can I keep it there?


    scobys_thumbYou can store a SCOBY almost indefinitely 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. You can also store your SCOBY in a jar outside of the fridge, but over time it will grow into a monster SCOBY. You must be sure there is still liquid in the jar as long as you are storing it at room temperature, since if the culture dries out, it will be hard to resuscitate and may grow moldy.


    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.



    1. My kombucha isn’t fizzy. What am I doing wrong?


    Pour KBBKWhile carbonation isn't a necessary component of kombucha, it is a highly polarizing yet satisfying aspect. However, one should not be troubled if unable to effectively carbonate kombucha.


    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.



    1. My kombucha is too sweet. What am I doing wrong?


    DSC_5357That’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. 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!




    1. My kombucha is too vinegary. What am I doing wrong?


    Kombucha wine

    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!






    1. Can I use any tea to make kombucha?


    Silver Bud Pu-Erh

    Following a few guidelines, it is very easy to use pretty much any of your favorite herbal or standard teas for making kombucha:

    • A majority of your plant matter should be actual tea (Camellia sinensis)
    • 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!

    For more information on using tea and herbs for your brews, check out this blog post.




    1. Can I use sweeteners other than sugar?

    SugarYes, you can! There are a few caveats, however.


    • Plain sugar is the best sweetener for your standard kombucha brew
    • 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
    • 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


    Read up on Jun kombucha here



    8. How much alcohol is in kombucha?


    Kombucha Brooklyn Brews BeerAs 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.




    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 info@kombuchabrooklyn.com

  • Bamboo and Ceramic-Aged Pu-Erhs


    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!


    Ceramic Aged Pu-Erh, Kombucha Brooklyn

    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.


    Ceramic Pot Aged Sheng Pu-Erh, 2000, Kombucha Brooklyn Ceramic Pot Aged Sheng Pu-Erh, 2000



    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.


    Bamboo Pu-Erh, Kombucha Brooklyn


    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!

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