· By Elspeth Sargeant
5 Top Tips for Brewing Kombucha
Do you have a sad batch of Kombucha?
Have you ever looked lovingly at your homemade Kombucha brewing peacefully away and noticed something looking funky, and not in a good way, inside of the jar? Well, fear not we are here to help with our Top 5 Tips for Brewing Kombucha!
In this blog we will give a brief breakdown of what you will need to brew Kombucha at home, why things may be going wrong and what you can do to help your Booch’ live its best life!
Although this is a blog written about Top 5 Tips for Brewing Kombucha, you may be new to Kombucha altogether, so don’t worry as we’ll give you a whistle-stop tour of why Kombucha is amazing!
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is more than just a trendy beverage; it's a living tea, fermented with the help of a SCOBY, or a "Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast." This unique culture acts as a habitat for the bacteria and yeast that convert sweet tea into the tangy, effervescent drink we know as kombucha.
Tracing kombucha's origins leads us back to the Far East, with one widely accepted theory pinpointing its creation to ancient China's Tsin Dynasty around 221 BCE.
But why all the excitement around kombucha these days? Well, it's not just about the taste. Many believe kombucha hosts a range of incredible health benefits.
Don't be alarmed by the fact that kombucha contains a smidgen of alcohol. Thanks to the fermentation process, the alcohol content is typically below 0.5% ABV, allowing it to be classified as a non-alcoholic beverage.
Check out this video: 5 Top Tips for Brewing Kombucha
From our YouTube channel - The Gut Health Channel
Could your equipment be putting a spanner in the works?
Your equipment is one of the most important things when it comes to brewing Kombucha at home, so it’s critical that you are prepared with the right gear before you embark on your Kombucha journey!
So, you’re probably wondering what equipment will I need and why is this different to what I’m currently using. Well, we’re going to round up the do’s and don'ts of your kitchen gadgets and why they are best for brewing top-notch Kombucha!
Equipment Yay or Nay
A Sterile Glass Jar:
This glass jar will become your Kombucha's home for the duration of its fermentation, therefore, you need to clean the jar correctly to ensure that it is in tip-top condition for your Booch’.
To do this you can clean your jar with washing-up liquid, just make sure all suds are washed away before you begin your Kombucha process. To be extra safe you can sterilise your jar by placing it in a warm oven at 100 degrees for 20 minutes. This will kill any nasty bacteria that we don’t want to be getting into the Booch’.
A sterile glass jar is super low maintenance, accessible to all, and when it is looked after correctly it allows your Kombucha to live a long and happy life!
Stainless Steel Utensils:
If you want top-notch Booch’ stainless steel utensils are best. Stainless steel doesn't absorb bacteria like other materials such as wood. Stainless steel is very easy to clean and super easy to use making it the perfect Kombucha brewing material.
If you want to ensure that your utensils are in tip-top shape for every batch it is a good idea to keep some stainless steel utensils to the side that are solely just for brewing.
Putting muslin cloth on top of the jars is most effective in our opinion. The material composition of muslin cloth allows for the air to go into the jar and which is essential for the yeast and bacteria in fermentation.
We recommend grabbing a tea strainer to make steeping loose-leaf tea much easier. Using a strainer allows for no loose leaves to be floating in your Booch' and travel to those hard-to-reach areas in your jar. If a tea strainer is not accessible, you can also grab a fine sieve.
The last thing you want after steeping your tea is to be agitating your Booch’ by sticking your hands and utensils into the freshly steeped tea.
Powder-free gloves ensure that no harmful bacteria is spread to your Booch’. This prevents infections and is an extra step to ensure that your Kombucha is brewed in a tip-top environment.
Powder-Free Gloves: In the brewery, we always wear powder-free gloves to ensure that there is no contact between the skin and our Kombucha. This prevents contamination and infections.
Wash your hands: We always clean our hands thoroughly. Even though we clean them thoroughly there is still bacteria on the skin but we are significantly reducing the likelihood of contamination to the Kombucha.
Sanitising solution: We recommend any sanitiser solution that will help keep your jars clean. A quick and easy solution is isopropyl alcohol. This can be used to clean your surroundings, utensils and jars before and after brewing.
Clean your jars thoroughly: We use washing-up liquid to clean our jars but we always make sure that there are no suds left over. We also sterilise the jar at a low temperature for around 20 minutes
The Right Temperature
The correct temperature is critical when fermenting. Our head brewer, Ryan, usually keeps his Kombucha at 25 degrees when he is brewing at home. The yeast enjoys the warm environment and becomes very active when kept in this type of environment and we can’t blame it, we’d love to be in 25-degree heat every day too!
In this environment, a SCOBY usually forms after 5-7 days. If you are storing your Kombucha at an undesirable temperature, fermentation will happen a lot slower. If it is kept at a temperature of 20 degrees and under the SCOBY will take a lot longer to form. Expect to be waiting between 15-20 days if you don’t keep your Kombucha toasty.
However, if you leave your Kombucha in an environment that is too hot you might kill your SCOBY, and no one wants that. Be sure to not keep your Kombucha in a scorching environment as this can be fatal. Anything above 30 degrees will harm the livelihood of your Kombucha culture and SCOBY.
If your SCOBY has been kept in high temperatures, be sure to do a trial run with a small about of Kombucha to see if a SCOBY is forming. If a SCOBY is not forming this means that it is unfortunately dead.
It is super important to monitor the temperature so be sure to run a few experiments at home and find the best location for your Booch’.
Quality of your ingredients
One question we get asked quite often is ‘Does the quality of your ingredients matter?’ and in a short answer, yes it one-hundred percent does!
It is best to grab yourself some good-quality tea as with lower quality teas do not provide the same extraction nor provide enough food for the yeast to thrive.
Here at Hip Pop we always use quality ingredients and our head brewer, Ryan, follows that mantra when brewing at home.
Ryan loves to experiment with different good-grade teas at home and this is something that you can do too! Grab some good-quality tea and get experimenting with different fruits, herbs and carbonation levels.
Enjoy the experimentation stage!
Although this blog has contained a lot of hard-core rules for brewing the best Booch’, don’t forget the most important factor- to just have fun! Brewing at home is a great hobby to pick up and can provide you with a lot of interesting, and delicious, natural beverages.
If you are wanting to refine and improve your Booch’ brewing skills then this blog is for you. However, if you are a newbie brewer then it is important to enjoy your first batch and enjoy the journey of becoming an at-home brewer!
Let's Round This Up
In this blog, we’ve discussed 5 Top Tip’s for Brewing Kombucha At Home. As we’ve shown you it's super easy to correct your Kombucha wrongs, but if you think that the Kombucha-making process isn’t for you, you can always pick up some Hip Pop Classic Kombucha.
If you’re looking for a Kombucha to wind down and chillax with but don’t have access to being able to make CBD-infused Kombucha at home you can pick up some super awesome CBD Kombucha.
If you’re looking for extra digestive help you can find our Apple Cider Vinegar infused Kombucha. Our Living Soda range was created so that you can stop drinking the eye-watering Apple Cider Vinegar shots every morning and take an Apple Cider Vinegar Kombucha on the go.
If you’re a newbie brewer and you’ve discovered that Kombucha isn’t for you but you want to get in those Living Cultures you can check out our Gut Lovin’ Soda range. This is Hip Pop’s take on classic soda but with a Gut Lovin’ twist!