• Kombucha Heat Mats are Back




    Heat mats are back, and better than ever!

    As many of our customers know, heat mats have been out of stock for a while. Our original 1-gallon heat mats were made in China, one of the last of our items made outside the US. As practical and affordable as they were, they very often did not last long. In our search for quality American-made heat mats, we found a small company in West Wareham, MA. They not only produce exactly what we are looking for, but do so at a very reasonable price.


    Let us introduce you to the new mats:


    Kombucha Heat Mat, Small - This 12 by 4 inch mat is designed for a 1/2- or 1-gallon glass jar. With the option to add another foot of length to the mat, you can heat an additional vessel when you place the jars on top. Pictured above.


    Kombucha Heat Mat, Large - This 12 by 6 inch mat is designed for a larger brewing vessel, perfect for a 1-gallon crock. With the option to add 1 foot of length, it is perfect for a 2-gallon or 3-gallon crock; with 2 extra feet, it is perfect for a 5-gallon crock.





    Each mat can effectively raise the temperature of your brew by 10°F. By insulating the outside of the mat with a towel, you can increase the temperature by 5-10°F.

    Heating will be essential to your brews this winter, so make sure you've got a heat mat to keep your brew warm!

  • Kombucha Candy: SCOBY Rancher Snacks



    The lore and mystique of the SCOBY has, especially in recent years, begun to eclipse its initial intended sphere of influence, that being the royalty and progenitor of our beloved kombucha tea. Perhaps not oddly, as kombucha is the friend of the strange, weird and esoteric, SCOBYs have come to be personified with names and fantasied colloquial banter as virally as cat pictures and comic memes.


    With benevolent intent and playful attitude have we come to accept and cherish our squishy brew pals, and assuredly any long time brewer has, in rudimentary culinary rites, christened their yeasty lord with names such as "SCOBY Doo," "Diane," or "Bon SCOBI."


    Mother Knows Best


    It is in this spirit of playful reverence that we've allowed our cultures to appropriate many other roles outside the realm of kombucha brewing, as if showing a new friend around town - one who you don't want to return home, and one with whom you desperately cling to at every moment's turn. As we've proselytized before, SCOBYs aren't just for making kombucha - we've been eating them for health, energy, and economy; we've been drying them to use as art, as bio-sustainable fabrics, and as decoration; we've resorted to secret, late-night conversations with the wiser, older mothers, seeking the gratification of divulgence and guarantee of secrecy.


    It is with this transparency and acceptance that kombucha candy, our SCOBY Rancher Snacks have poignantly fortified their place in the traditions of our end-of-year holidays - the earthy, spicy affect of clove and cinnamon on something which, when dehydrated, tastes commonly of apples, is a classic archetype of holiday consumption. And appropriately, with their enigmatic appearance and semi-mythological following and observance, SCOBYs make an excellent format for Halloween's over-the-top actualization in which the weird is allowed a little more credulity and merit.


    Don't Be Scared!




    Even the seasoned brewer can cringe at the thought of consuming their gelatinous, chewy buddies, and most people say the reason for their reluctance is texture. However, we've converted many would-be naysayers to SCOBY-munching elite with the delicious preparation of this genre-morphing sweet and sour treat. Even for the pensive first-time consumer, these treats are insanely tasty and are always fewer in quantity than demand would prefer.


    So, if you're looking for a way to expand your considerations of the possibilities of the SCOBY, look no further than your new favorite treat, sure to please at all of your Halloween festivities: SCOBY Rancher Snacks.










    You'll need:

    • 4 (1 inch thick) SCOBYs
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 tablespoon shredded licorice root
    • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
    • 1 tablespoon sassafras extract
    • 1 tablespoon sarsaparilla extract
    • 6 cups filtered water
    • 4 cups organic cane sugar




    1. Cut your SCOBYs into small cubes and rinse them in a colander to remove tea and yeast filaments. Set aside to drain off as much as possible.
    2. Boil the 6 cups of water and add spices. Allow to boil for at least 10 minutes.
    3. Remove from heat and add 3 cups of the sugar, and stir. Allow the mixture to cool.
    4. Strain out spices.
    5. Place the drained SCOBY cubes and cooled sugar water mixture in a bowl, cover, and let marinate for 24 hours in the refrigerator. Drain and refrigerate the sugar marinade for future SCOBY snack-making.
    6. Pour the sugary SCOBYs onto parchment sheets in an even layer and dehydrate at 110 F for 16 to 20 hours, until the SCOBYs are the consistency of a soft, chewy gummy bear.
    7. Once dehydrated, prepare a tray or bowl with the remaining 1 cup of sugar inside. Remove SCOBY pieces from parchment paper, and roll each piece in the sugar.
    8. Store the candies in bags or airtight containers covered in more sugar to preserve them.


    Enjoy, but be careful with whom you share these delicious morsels. You'll continue to receive requests for them long after the final SCOBY Rancher Snack is gone. Not a bad reason to stock up on SCOBYs!

  • Fruit Flies & Kombucha



    Making kombucha can be a beautiful endeavor. Once you get past the newness of the operation, a new SCOBY forming on the surface is a beautiful sight. There are a few things, unfortunately, that can ruin that sight. One is mold - it's something we have covered quite a bit. The other is fruit flies.


    The number one enemy in the world of unwanted invaders, the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) is everywhere. In every brew space I’ve ever been I’ve seen these little buggers buzzing around. Even in tightly controlled environments like our SCOBY Lab we see them fly up seemingly out of nowhere. Sometimes it seems like they appear out of thin air (I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the case). There are tricks to getting rid of them, but even more important is keeping them out of your brew jar.


    What should one use to cover a brew vessel during fermentation?
    Your kombucha wants to breathe fresh oxygen during fermentation - so sealing your jar with a hard lid is out of the question. Therefore we turn to material that is porous enough to let air in, but not porous enough to allow fruit flies inside. Our material of choice is organic cotton. It has a tight weave, that if correctly secured to the jar, will not allow fruit flies to get inside. Other materials with the same weave will also work well. A paper towel, an old t-shirt, or even a coffee filter will work great.




    One material that is commonly used, but should not be, is cheese cloth. Although it is designed for food production, it is too porous. Even if it is layered multiple times. We get emails all the time from new brewers using cheese cloth that have a family of fruit flies hanging out on their culture. When this happens the brew must be scrapped.

    It only takes one


    Once one fruit fly gets in, it's all over



    First, it will quickly lay its eggs which then turn in to maggots


    Full Grown Flys

    After a few days, they will turn into full-grown fruit flies



    The process is quick and before you know it, you have a many flies buzzing around your jar


    But don’t be afraid. With a simple piece of cloth and rubber band, you will be safe from these unwanted but familiar pests!

  • Brew Diagnosis Checklist: What We Need to Help


    Knowing your brew is doing well is vital. That’s why we are here to diagnose any concern you might have. We see hundreds of pictures every week from home brewers all over the world. In order for us to make a sound diagnosis there is a certain set of questions and pictures that will tell us what is going on. Here is a brew diagnosis checklist for you to complete before submitting a query.




    In making sure there is not a problem with a brew we need to see pictures. Luckily, taking and sending pictures is an easy every day activity. The ideal set consists of three images:


    AerialShotKOmbucha1. Aerial shot of entire brew surface showing SCOBY growth, if any.


      CloseUpKombucha2. Close up of surface highlighting any area of concern or general SCOBY growth.



    3. Profile shot of entire brew


    The more pictures the merrier. Don’t feel like these are the only shots you should send if you have the will to send more. In the event that there are still questions after viewing the photos we may request a couple more shots of any area of concern.




    With most inquiries we will ask the same set of questions. The answers will give us a reason for an issue if there is one and will help us guide you to make the necessary changes to your brew set up.


    1. What is the average temperature of the brew while it is fermenting?
    2. How long has it been fermenting?
    3. Where did the original SCOBY (mother, mushroom, culture) come from?
    4. How much starter liquid was used?
    5. What tea/blend and sweetener was used, and what quantity?


    We can almost know everything we need to know just from these five questions. As with pictures though, if there is something specific we need more information on, we will ask.


    As you can see diagnosing a brew is just as easy as brewing. With only a few simple steps we will gladly tell you what’s going on. In 95% of the cases we see, when using a proper set up there is nothing actually going on, just a new brewer needing some confirmation on their brew.

  • Kombucha Brewing: Starting From a Commercial Bottle, pt. 1


    In making kombucha, starting from a commercial bottle of kombucha was not a bad idea 5 years ago but the industry has changed. The day of the small micro-kombucha brewery making unfiltered, raw kombucha is coming to an end.


    These days, many breweries are using additives and filtration processes to help control the fermentation process - a standard practice in the commercial brewing world for established industries like beer and wine. Sure, it can be a relatively inexpensive way to get going, but you may be propagating something you didn't intend. For this reason, it is best to start a batch of kombucha using a fresh, straight-from-the-fermenter SCOBY.


    Think about it like this. A town of 5,000 trying to build a new meeting hall will have a hard time not building more than a room with four walls.


    A town of 5,000,000 will be able to not just build a room with four walls but a whole structure full of rooms, passageways and fun things to do (definitely an amazing kitchen).


    The same can be said for a colony of kombucha microbes coming from a commercial bottle of kombucha (town of 5,000) and a fresh kombucha SCOBY and starter (town of 5,000,000). There is really no comparison. The fresh SCOBY will brew a potent delicious kombucha the first round, in the normal 10-14 days, where as the commercial brew starter may not even form a new SCOBY let alone ferment a perfect batch in 10 days.



    We get photos all the time of peoples brews that have molded after trying to start a batch with a bottle of the popular brands of kombucha.


    Don’t waste your time or ingredients trying to build a colony from a subpar SCOBY. Start with a lab-grown, fermenter-fresh SCOBY and get perfect brews right away. Because let's get real, who wants to wait more than 10 days for their ‘buch?


    Stay tuned for Starting from a Commercial Bottle, pt. 2!

  • Kombucha Tea and Herb Guide


    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.


    Kombucha Tea Guide, Kombucha Brooklyn

  • Simple Ways to Keep Your Kombucha Brew Warm


    Warmth is essential to the kombucha process, and there are many simple ways to keep your kombucha brew warm. It will ensure that your brew stays healthy, producing acids that lower the pH to fend off mold. But it will also ensure that you're able to harvest your 'buch without waiting forever.


    The ideal brewing temperature for kombucha is between 70 and 80 degrees. Lower than that range, you are running the risk of allowing mold to form. Higher than that range, you might get finished 'buch more quickly but it will also potentially become vinegar more quickly.


    Kombucha Warmth Kombucha Brooklyn


    It's best to find places in your home that are naturally producing or retaining heat. Beyond that, you can dress up your brew with heat mats, cooler-incubators and clothes to your heart's content. You could even build a box special for fermenting. Any combination of these methods will do wonders for your 'buch and keep you from pulling your hair out in these cool winter months.


    These are just a few suggestions and you are encouraged to branch out and think for yourself based on your home environment. If all else fails, just take it to bed. I won't judge you.


    Happy brewing!


    For heat mats and other kombucha brewing accessories, click here.

  • Holiday Kombucha Gift Packages and Specials



    The holidays are here and Kombucha Brooklyn has you covered. We’ve put together nine special holiday gift packages that we think will fit anyone’s budget and needs. From the new brewer to pro brewer you’ll find something here for your loved ones.


    KBBK Kit and Book Combo - 

    Everything the new brewer needs to get started - the tried-and-true Basic Kit paired with our book Kombucha!.

    This package is the perfect gift for anyone who loves kombucha, healthy living, or just needs a nudge in either direction.


     1 Gallon Ceramic Deluxe w/Flavor Sampler -

    The complete kombucha brew kit package for the new brewer. Give the gift of (2) complete brews from fermentation to flavor.


     2 Gallon Ceramic Deluxe w/Flavor Sampler & Auto Siphon -

    The upgrade to the one gallon ceramic deluxe kit, this package will turn the beginning brewer into a solid 'buch brewery. A perfect gift for a family looking to start brewing or even the seasoned brewer who’s looking to step up his game.


    Holiday Honey Lover -

    Our standard Jun kit with a selection of premium green tea. This complex brew will make your honey-loving friends' heads turn.

    A perfect gift for the sugar-sensitive or those looking for the next step in kombucha home brew.

    Jun kombucha, a brew based on honey instead of sugar, can be the next step or the first in a kombucha brewer's journey. This is a delicate brew that is actually more forgiving, and fast-brewing than a sugar-based brew.


     Premium Tea Chest –

     We have been selling premium brewing tea for some time now. Every month or so we rotate our teas, and before they sell out we reserve a few.This package is the perfect gift for the kombucha brewer or tea lover alike. A collection of our current and past hand-picked premium teas.


    Private Reserve Chest –

     Once a month Kombuchman chooses a tea from his collection that showcases the possibilities of kombucha brewing. This special and limited chest is a collection of some of this year's private reserve selections.

    This package is the perfect gift for the kombucha brewer or tea lover alike - but don’t feel bad if this ones for you. It wont last long.


    Flavor Nut –

    You know who they are, and this package is for them. A trio of fruit flavors paired with a trio of tea blends. Primary and post fermentation meet in a package that’s great to showcase all the possibilities of flavoring kombucha.


    Pro-Bundle –

    The Pro Bundle is the gift for the aspiring professional brewer. Take any brewer's setup to pro status with this package.

    Both of our pro packages (Pro Bottler and Pro Brewer) are paired together to make the ultimate kombucha brew upgrade.



    KBBK Lover - 

    All the swag you need to brew in style! A perfect add-on for the ‘buch lover or yogi.

    Our growler and growler grabber combo are very popular amongst the yoga crowd, because it makes carrying your 'buch with you very simple.

    Add on a KBBK shirt, and you can consider yourself one of us, wherever you are!



    Show the people in your life you love them with the healthy gift that keeps on giving. Who knows, they might even gift you a bottle of home brew or even a kombucha baby in return.


    Happy Holidays!

  • Home Brewing Kombucha: Think Outside the Box


    There's a lot of focus these days on bottle flavoring and carbonating of kombucha. Especially for those interested in home brewing kombucha, the simple reality is that most people got their start in 'buch through trying store-bought kombucha, making this focus understandable.


    The issue I'd like to address is the effect RTD (ready-to-drink) kombucha has on home brewing efforts.

    Pour KBBK 

    Carbonation - Nice, but necessary?


    One resounding effect the RTD industry has had on nascent home brewers has been the viewpoint that kombucha is an effervescent beverage. I can't disagree that kombucha is highly desirable and refreshing as an effervescent beverage.


    But does it have to be?


    The answer is no. Un-carbonated kombucha is just as much kombucha as is carbonated 'buch. Just like un-carbonated water is still water, the carbonated counterpart still tastes fine and is refreshing.


    Conversely, think about wine. The majority of wine available is not effervescent at all, but does that mean that champagne isn't wine?


    My point is this - as a home brewer, your only responsibility is to yourself, to produce kombucha that you enjoy. To obtain an effervescent kombucha is a fun, often variable process, and a kind of seal of success, but is not necessary. You can flavor kombuchas based on this consideration; one of my favorites is mulled kombucha.


    Is it more important to have good flavor or good carbonation?


    In home brewing I try to put the greatest emphasis on flavor and let carbonation be a lesser concern, at least for home bottling. People with a keg and CO2 system can achieve carbonation very quickly.


    We've all been there before. You are craving a tasty, flavorful kombucha (these are not mutually exclusive) so you head to the RTD aisle at the grocery store. You choose a bottle and go along on your way. Maybe it's too sweet, or perhaps too sour. It might even seem watered down. But hey! It's definitely carbonated.

    The flavor should be spot-on, even if the carbonation isn't.


    And it's clear enough RTD kombucha has hardly stepped beyond the constant flavor additions that make kombucha taste exactly like this or that fruit, herb or familiar beverage. Not to say these can't be delicious - but I'm pretty sure I know what, say, a beet tastes like, not to mention mangoes, or blueberries, ginger, etc. These are tried and true kombuchas that are classics and will always be delicious. We, as home brewers, can choose to accept or reject that same path and forge into uncharted territory.


    What makes 'buch 'buch?


    Tea is the heart and soul of kombucha, KBBK Tea is the heart and soul of kombucha


    Kombucha is based on tea. Not on fruits, vegetables, spices etc. So why cover up your beautiful kombucha with other stuff that makes it taste like something else? Not that it can't be fun, or that it's not tasty. But we have the opportunity to create something totally unique and special.


    Set aside some of your brewing time, vessels, ingredients, etc. to resisting the emulation of any drink you've ever had before. Use the time to explore what makes 'buch interesting, rather than what makes 'buch taste familiar.


    Sugar, water, culture, tea, and time.


    The most important, simplest way to flavor your kombucha is with tea. It's not an optional ingredient. We'd be ignorant if we said we were familiar with, or even heard of all of the amazing varieties of tea that are available to us.

    However, one of the most entertaining aspects of brewing is the use of combinations of herbs and spices, infused and fermented at the same time as the tea.


    More thoughts on home brewing


    Kombucha has only relatively recently become a retail product, and the real legacy of kombucha still remains inside the home. It's where cultures proliferate and change. They absorb our intent, our energy, our hand-selected ingredients. In home brewing, nothing is lost or forgotten, and everything is exactly as it should be, for better or worse.

    Your home-brewed kombucha has a much stronger microbiotic profile and robust nutritional makeup from not having been filtered, piped through machinery, force carbonated and otherwise stabilized to maintain promised shelf-life and alcohol content.


    So please, don't feel required to emulate the RTD sector or to assess your own success in comparing your home brew to others'. Look to the tea, coordinate your steep, prioritize flavor, and success will find you.

  • Fresh SCOBY vs Dehydrated SCOBY, a Brewer's Comparison

    If you're a brewer or kombucha follower, you may have heard about reanimating a dried SCOBY from dormancy to start a new brew. I've been curious, and having seen some dehydrated cultures available on the internet, I wanted to try it out. I bought a retail dehydrated SCOBY online. Thinking about woolly mammoths and Jurassic Park, I got excited to see if it would work.


    Dehydrated SCOBY, left; KBBK SCOBY, right


    The real question, I later discovered, was whether or not it would work for me - there are definitely some culture sources on the web that base their business around the sale of dehydrated SCOBYs - more power to them - but how easy or likely is it to resurrect a SCOBY from dormancy?


    The first KBBK Home Brew Kit, Kombucha Brooklyn The first KBBK Home Brew Kit


    Not being a stranger to dried SCOBY - I've made leather (edible and non-) as well as dehydrated SCOBY snacks (candies) before - I was somewhat tickled to fine a wafer-thin culture when it arrived in the mail. It was by no means substantial, but I know it doesn't take much to get a culture to take hold. Our first home brew kits came with a test-tube-sized SCOBY - granted, for a 32-oz brew - but it was fresh, not dried.


    Brewing from a dehydrated SCOBY - how long will it take?


    A week... A couple of weeks...? A month? If you're able to get a new, fresh SCOBY from this process, then you're ready to begin your actual brew. Our instructions indicated this should be ready to begin 30 days after starting, shown in the image below.


    Just the beginning for this desert SCOBY... Just the beginning for this desert SCOBY...
    Fresh vs. dry SCOBY, day 1 Fresh SCOBY, left; vs. dry SCOBY, right, day 1

    Nothing's... happening...


    I wasn't so lucky. Six weeks into the process, following instructions with the dehydrated SCOBY that I received (I'll call him Dehydro), I still saw no culture growth whatsoever. Keep in mind, this was after a one-month rehydration period and another two weeks waiting for a fresh culture to grow on top of the sweet tea.


    Fresh vs dehydrated SCOBY Kombucha Brooklyn Fresh culture, left, and dehydrated culture, right, after one week


    At the one week mark, I didn't expect to see a significant amount of growth from the dehydrated SCOBY. You can see on the left the KBBK SCOBY going strong with an inch or so of new growth after just a week. Our dehydrated friend still showed no signs of growth. Hang in there, little buddy.


    KBBK SCOBY, left and dehydrated SCOBY, right, after 5 weeks Kombucha Brooklyn KBBK SCOBY, left and dehydrated SCOBY, right, after 7 weeks

    After 7 weeks of "brewing" the two side-by-side, there was still no growth whatsoever from the dehydrated culture. I decided to let the fresh SCOBY continue growing.


    Had I harvested the KBBK SCOBY's kombucha and reset the brew after each week, I'd have had well over two gallons of kombucha. Still no dice from our little desert friend - though, there was another step to take before I could actually start brewing with Dehydro.


    Actually starting the brew, 5 weeks after receiving Dehydro, Kombucha Brooklyn Starting the brew, 7 weeks after receiving Dehydro


    The instructions indicated for me to check the pH after 30 days. I did (albeit far after 30 days - though I don't see why a new culture wouldn't start growing in the sweet tea), and it was at about 3.2. However, I did add 1/2 cup (!) of vinegar, as per the instructions at the start. In 2-3 cups of water, 1/2 cup of vinegar is going to drop the pH drastically. So, I surmise the pH was that low from the start since I already added so much white vinegar.


    Moving on, I then brewed more tea and sugar, added another 1/2 cup of vinegar, threw in the semi-rehydrated Dehydro, covered the jar, and prepared to wait again for a new culture to form atop the sweet tea (though very sour as well, with so much vinegar). I crossed my fingers for another few days, weeks, also months...


    Flash forward... to 12 weeks


    Fresh KBBK SCOBY, left, dehydrated SCOBY results, right, Kombucha Brooklyn Fresh KBBK SCOBY, left, dehydrated SCOBY, right (12 weeks)


    SCOBY Rancher snacks, Kombucha Brooklyn SCOBY Rancher snacks

    The KBBK SCOBY has pretty much overgrown itself in the brew jar (this is what it looks like when you don't harvest your kombucha - the SCOBY keeps growing and fills up the jar). That's a good way to make a ton of culture relatively easily - think SCOBY snacks and other kombucha foods.



    Hoping for a Halloween miracle


    Here I am, on All Hallows' Eve, twelve weeks from when I started to try to resurrect Dehydro on the 4th of August. In a mix of surprise and disappointment, I'm hoping the next full moon might reanimate Dehydro. I seem to have failed at playing Dr. Herbert West, at least for this go around...


    Stick with fresh cultures. Especially if you're new to brewing, and even moreso if you want to start a brew and drink 'buch before a few months have passed.

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