The top 10 most asked Kombucha questions and answers.
TOP 10 Kombucha?
(Tea Kvass) / fermented tea
Answers to Most Asked Questions
1. How is kombucha prepared?
Kombucha is a drink made by fermenting tea containing sugar, yeast, and probiotic bacteria. process of making kombucha is like vinegar.
Kombucha is essentially fermented tea. Once you master the basics you can start experimenting by adding herbs etc. and often referred to as the “second fermentation” because it takes place once you put brewed kombucha into a bottle.
2. What are the three principle chemical steps that create kombucha?
a. First, yeast breaks down the sucrose (sugar) into glucose and fructose.
b. These two sugars undergo fermentation by the yeast, producing alcohol.
c. Some of the alcohol is also converted to acetic acid by bacterial action.
3. In the fermentation process, what causes a pH change in the mixture?
Bacteria in the kombucha mixture metabolize sugars into lactic acid. This acid along with the acetic acid produced from the alcohol make the mixture more acidic, lowering the pH to 2.
4. What is the value in having an acidic, low pH kombucha?
• Maintaining a correct pH is an important factor in kombucha home-brew.
The pH of the kombucha batch should be between 2.5 and 4.6. A pH of less than 2.5 makes the drink too acidic for normal human consumption, while a pH greater than 4.6 increases the risk of contamination.
Use of “starter tea” is used to control pH. Some brewers test the pH at the beginning and the end of the brewing cycle to ensure that the correct pH is achieved and that the brewing cycle is complete, although taste buds will be able to tell. A slightly tart brew is recommended. A hydrometer can be used to check the alcohol level.
5. In the preparation of kombucha, SCOBY is needed. What is SCOBY?
SCOBY is an acronym for a “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast”, turning sweet tea into kombucha through fermentation. The culture itself looks somewhat like a large pancake, and though often called a mushroom, a mother of vinegar or by the acronym SCOBY.
The scoby … Symbiotic Culture / Colony of bacteria and yeast + other microorganisms … a real tiny biochemical factory!!! Scientifically classified as a zoogleal mat.
6. Define the term “functional beverage”.
A functional beverage, such as kombucha, is a “non-alcoholic drink that contains vitamins, amino acids, and other nutrients with health benefits.”
7. How do you get the best brew / brewing tips / low alcohol?
• Kombucha LOVES and needs oxygen.
• Do not over boil water.
Over boiling reduces the oxygen and carbon dioxide required for a well-fermented kombucha brew. The purpose is to heat the water sufficiently to extract the tea and dissolve the sugar.
• Use best-quality water. Easy to boil a small portion of water (1/2 litre) and add tea, remove, and add sugar, stir until dissolved. Top up with the rest of the water (2 1/2 litres), make sure it is cool and add starter tea (well- brewed kombucha).
• Choose best quality container with wide opening.
• The Height to Width ratio of the container does affect the kombucha brew – with wider being best.
No Booze Kombucha Zone
Make Kombucha water shandy.
• Pour half a glass of fermented kombucha tea + half a glass of water. This way you will also be flushing the toxins that are released by the Kombucha.
• Allow kombucha tea to ferment longer (becomes sourer). If you do a second fermentation, then allow it to age in the bottle at room temperature for a longer period so that the bacteria have a chance to consume the ethanol created by the yeast. Depending on temperature – two weeks is a good starting point.
• Avoid using fruit or anything with excess residual sugar for the second ferment. Use herbs, flowers, wild food, and green blends to add flavour without adding extra sugar.
Fill a glass with half Kombucha and half coconut milk.
8. What type of tea & sugar should be used?
Use organic sugar and tea (The preservatives & chem.’s used on non-organic tea can have antimicrobial properties).
Many choose tea upon the medicinal value.
Consider Caffeine free Rooibos or organic green, black or white tea. White tea is higher in antioxidants. Pu-erh has wonderful digestive properties. Or try combinations … 3 organic green tea bags + 3 organic black tea bags or equivalent loose-leaf tea.
9. What colour?
The colour of the finished brew as well as the scoby is dependent upon the type of tea and how long the tea was brewed.
Green tea and rooibos being much lighter in colour and flavour will produce a much lighter colour and flavour as well as the new scoby baby. White tea is a great choice in tropical summer climates.
10. How do I add flavouring’s and fizzy bubbles?
Second ferment…. The industry standard for Glass Bottles and ferments are ones with a long narrow neck, to limit and control over-fermentation and for brown or coloured glass to prevent harmful sunlight spoiling the ferment.
Glass bottles and cappers and corkers are available from Beer / home brewing supply shops.
Be sure to mark the date and type of kombucha prepared.
Bottle brewed kombucha with ingredients, seal and let it ferment a second time (1-3 days) the longer you let the brew continue to ferment, the more acidic and less sweet the taste.
Second fermentation kombucha, bottled in airtight containers, the live yeast, and bacteria in the kombucha will continue to gobble up the tea and sugar that remained after the first fermentation.
The fresh sugar that comes from added fruit is turned into carbon dioxide which gives the kombucha the ‘” bubbliness” it’s known for.
We often skip the fruit and experiment with herbs like lavender / nourishing additions like blue spirulina, activated charcoal and dried brines / dragon fruit powder.
Add an organic sultana / raisin / date or two or a sliver of ginger, for that second fermentation fizz.
It will not change the flavour, but it gives the brew food to turn into bubbles.
- Ready to start … here is a starting point
2 cups of “starter tea” from the previous kombucha tea brew. (10 % – 25% is recommended) The older sourer kombucha tea is recommended.
5-6 teabags or 3-5 grams (one spoonful) of loose-leaf tea
1 cup of sugar. (In our fermenting lair we use organic sugar and tea).
3 Litres of CLEAN water.
Cover with Clean cotton cloth, muslin baby cloth is excellent, (cheesecloth holes can be too big) paper towel or unbleached coffee filter to fit over fermenting container and a large rubber band / string to secure.
The idea is to prevent pathogens from contaminating the brew.
Make a home in a quiet spot, away from other cultures. Aww and don’t forget to name your mother and thank her daily for all the babies she will produce, that you can play with to make skin care, “pig” dog ears, fruit leathers, moccasins, sandals, art canvas and share with others.
Over to Patience: Leave undisturbed for 6-8 days up to 14 days in cooler homes / climates. (Start checking on day 5 in our tropical climate). One way to test, place a straw in the glass container.
With finger over one end and pull out. Place the other end in your mouth, and then release your finger. This is usually day 5-8. But more depends upon your taste.
Simpler method is using the tap on continuous brewing container. When the tea is to your liking, it is ready.
Every time the Scoby is disturbed and liquid is moved on top of the old culture another Scoby will begin to form (looks white – is not mould – only one thing that smells like mould). Not a problem for the kombucha tea drinker, as the tea is not affected only the growth of the Scoby. Either the baby or the mother may be used for your next brew.
Initial fermentation – draw off from CB (continuous brew) container / glass jar and refill CB with more sugar tea / start again with glass container method. The advantage of the Continuous Brewing method is you avoid all the bottling and filtering and simply draw off a glass of fine Kombucha and drink and the result in my opinion tastes better. Or when you want to save some for latter you can do so at any time.