Brewing Kombucha For Beginners

Brewing Kombucha in a Brewing System

Kombucha is rich in beneficial bacteria, yeast and vitamins and minerals. It can help boost the immune system and reduce depression symptoms.

The FDA has stated that kombucha does not pose any health risks if it is brewed correctly. Brewing your own kombucha can be easy, cheap and convenient. The process requires minimal space and is simple.

Equipment

There are a number of manufacturers who offer systems designed to streamline the process and ensure consistency. These systems are perfect for small commercial and home brewing.

Large glass container – Look for a large, solid, two-gallon glass container without a lid. It should have a wide neck to allow more oxygen in. Mason jars or other containers with a narrow mouth do not allow enough oxygen to enter during the fermentation process.

A thermometer. Often overlooked, but essential to regulate the temperature of fermentation. A heating mat is also useful in winter for warming up kombucha.

Long, flexible bottle brush: Ideal for cleaning tight corners and nooks. Brewery Wash: Specially formulated for removing stubborn residues which can form on jars surfaces and in narrow necks. Use a bottle cleaner brush in conjunction with this product for best results.

Ingredients

Kombucha, a fermented beverage, has been hailed for its health benefits. It is made by mixing bacteria and yeast in a symbiotic solution with sweetened tea. The symbiotic method creates what is called a “biofilm”, a matrix of cells. The biofilm contains lactic-acid bacteria and yeast that produce acids and other substances which give kombucha it’s distinctive flavor and nutritional value.

The symbiotic fermentation also breaks down sugar to carbon dioxide and small amounts alcohol. This is why kombucha has been called “the champagne of health.” Commercial kombucha typically contains less than 0.5% alcohol, which meets FDA regulations for a non-alcoholic label.

It is important to use only high-quality ingredients when you make your own kombucha. You should choose a non-herbal, unflavored black or green tea with plain white or turbinado sugar to avoid flavors and oils that can compromise the brew. The sweetener will feed the SCOBY and be converted into vitamins and antioxidants during fermentation.

Scobys

A scoby is made up of bacteria and fungi that form a symbiotic partnership and make kombucha. You can buy a scoby online, or get one from friends and relatives who make kombucha.

Once the tea is at room temperature, add the scoby to your brewing vessel (store-bought scobys are fine). Cover with a tight-weave cloth, like a bandana or old tee shirt. This allows airflow but keeps out fruit flies and dust.

Place your jar in a warm, dark place and let it ferment for 7-10 days. Check the jar occasionally and gently touch the surface of the scoby. If it feels nubbly, rough or patchy, this is normal; the scoby will become smooth and more uniform with each batch of kombucha you brew. Keep your jars out of the sun, as it can make kombucha taste vinegary.

Storage

Find a dark place to store your Kombucha where the temperature will not fluctuate too much. If you have a large closet or cabinet, and you can open/close it frequently to promote airflow, this is a great option. If you choose to keep your brew in the cupboard, you may want to keep a starter tea handy in case you wish to re-start another batch.

Always use sterile equipment and clean hands when handling a SCOBY. It’s also important to regularly test your kombucha for harmful bacteria and fungi.

If you do discover mold or fungi, dump your kombucha and scoby and start over. Use the starter liquid in your SCOBY Hotel for your next batch. Continue this process until you have a constant supply. Enjoy!