Here at Grow and Make we are constantly looking for new ways to perfect the kombucha brewing process. Every kombucha brewer is unique in their approach and it is always fun to learn from each other! That being said, there are many time-tested tips and tricks that will give you great results every time. We’ve compiled a list of our most asked questions so that you can start brewing incredible batches of kombucha at home!
Sweet tea taking too long to cool down?
We’ve all been there – you’ve just brewed a big pot of tea, mixed in the sugar, and now you’re waiting to add in your SCOBY and starter tea. Minutes turn into hours… the tea just won’t cool down enough! Instead of waiting around all day, fill up your sink with ice water and place your containers of sweet tea into it. This will cut your cooling time by at least half. (Be careful not to burn yourself while doing this, and make sure nothing gets into your kombucha containers in the process!)
SCOBYs keep growing mold?
It’s pretty unlikely that your SCOBY will grow mold, but if it happens during your brewing process it can be incredibly frustrating! There are a multitude of reasons that contribute to mold growth, but it is often a sign that your kombucha does not have enough ventilation. Try brewing your kombucha in an area that is dark and well ventilated. Make sure it is not near anything that could introduce the kombucha to moisture or bacteria. Mold looks fuzzy or dry and is similar to the type of mold that you typically see growing on fruits and vegetables. If your SCOBY does grow mold, make sure to dispose of it along with the kombucha and start from scratch. This is a great reason to start a SCOBY hotel with some of your healthy happy SCOBYs instead of tossing them out.
Kombucha tastes too vinegary?
Brew your kombucha for a shorter period of time! Brewing climates can vary, so if you’re not happy with the flavor of your kombucha, don’t be afraid to play around with shorter brewing times.
Curious if your bottles are finished carbonating?
The plastic on your kombucha bottles will start to bloat and feel hard when it is done carbonating, and this is how you can tell that your kombucha is ready to put in the fridge and drink! Leaving your kombucha too long at this stage could cause your bottle to explode or the cap to fly off, so keep a close eye on it. Once you learn how long it takes to bottle condition to your liking, you can start bottling it in a glass container.
Forgot about your kombucha for two months and wondering if you can salvage it?
We’re not saying that we’ve done this before, but we have a friend who has. Your SCOBY is very resilient, and it’s likely that everything is fine. They can live for very long periods of time as long as they have adequate nutrients and are kept covered with a cloth. Just throw out the kombucha that it’s been living in, and buy a new 8 oz jar of unpasteurized plain kombucha from the store to use as a starter tea and start over.
Sediment, bubbles, discoloration or strings on your SCOBY?
These are all normal signs of healthy fermentation and yeast production! Sometimes the tannins in the tea will collect in darker brown bits, this is totally normal. You can rinse off your SCOBY in clean water before starting a new batch to minimize floaters if you dislike them.
SCOBY doesn’t want to float?
Your SCOBY may sink, float or even hang sideways in the jar. Your new SCOBY should always form at the top, at first it will almost look like a clear film, which should turn into a nice cream colored layer. The older it gets, the thicker it will be. Sometimes your SCOBYs will grow together, the new one forming on top of the old one. Before starting your new batch, you can gently rip them apart, and throw out the older one, referred to as the Mother, or you can start a SCOBY hotel with it.
What the heck is a SCOBY hotel?
A SCOBY hotel is simply a smaller jar where you store healthy SCOBYs for later use. You can store them in kombucha that you don’t intend to drink. Sometimes when you have several in a jar together, they will merge, You can always just rip off however many SCOBYs you need. You will not need to change out the kombucha very often, just make sure to add in a cup or two of sugar every once in a while.
For more information on our Kombucha Kits, check out our website at https://shop.growandmake.com