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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 states that kombucha is safe to drink when brewed correctly. Brewing kombucha at home is simple, inexpensive, 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 are ideal for home and small commercial 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, and other containers with narrow mouths, don’t let enough air into the container during fermentation.

A thermometer: Often overlooked but essential for regulating the temperature during fermentation. Also, a heating mat can be useful in winter to warm up kombucha that is too cold.

Long, flexible bottle cleaning brush: Perfect for scrubbing tight corners and nooks to keep your bottles clean. Brewery wash is specially formulated to remove stubborn residues from jar surfaces and narrow necks. Use a bottle cleaner brush in conjunction with this product for best results.

Ingredients

Kombucha is a tea that has been fermented and touted as having health benefits. It is made by mixing a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast with a sweetened tea solution. The symbiotic process creates a matrix of cells called a biofilm. The biofilm contains lactic acid bacteria and yeast, which produce the acids and other substances that give kombucha its distinctive flavor and nutritional benefits.

The symbiotic process also breaks down sugar into carbon dioxide and small amounts of alcohol, which is why kombucha is sometimes referred to as “the champagne of health.” Commercial kombucha usually contains less than 0.5% of alcohol, which is FDA-approved for non-alcoholic labels.

It is important that you use high-quality ingredients to brew your kombucha. Choose a black or green tea that is not herbal and unflavored, with white or turbinado plain sugar to avoid oils or flavors that could compromise the brew. The sweetener feeds the SCOBY during fermentation and is converted into vitamins, antioxidants and other beneficial compounds.

Scobys

A scoby is made up of bacteria and fungi that form a symbiotic partnership and make kombucha. You can purchase a starter online, get a scoby by asking friends or family who make kombucha to give it to you or attend a workshop that will provide the starter.

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 for airflow while keeping out fruit flies, dust and other contaminants.

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. It is normal for the scoby to feel nubbly or rough. With each batch you brew, it will become smoother. Be sure to keep your jars away from sunlight, as light can cause the kombucha to taste vinegary.

Storage

Find a dark place to store your Kombucha where the temperature will not fluctuate too much. A large cabinet or closet is a good choice if you open and close it often enough. If you do choose to store your brew in a cupboard, consider keeping a jar of starter tea nearby in case you want to re-start a 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 fluid from your SCOBY Hotel and re-start a new batch. Repeat this process until your SCOBY Hotel is always stocked with delicious Kombucha! Enjoy!