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Nine Things beginner kombucha brewers need to know

If you are a fan of kombucha drinks, you probably have considered brewing it yourself. Homemade kombucha is, of course, more affordable and even tastes better than the store-bought ones.

As a beginner kombucha brewer, however, I was not aware of what I was getting into.

Here are the nine things that beginner kombucha brewers need to know.

I personally wish I had known these earlier.

I would like to share what I wish someone had told me before. 

I would have been less afraid to start batch brewing and made fewer mistakes eventually.

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If you are a fan of kombucha drinks, you probably have considered brewing it yourself. Here are the nine things that beginner kombucha brewers need to know. I personally wish I had known these earlier.

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1. It is easy to brew kombucha

At first, I thought it was super complicated to brew kombucha. Even after looking up so many posts and videos, I thought there were 100 things to consider. I was scared that I didn’t have the thermometer strip  to check the temperature. I was scared that my next batch would fail. But you know what? Compared to the total amount of time I spent studying kombucha, the brewing process was pretty simple and straightforward. And I don’t know why I spent so much time studying it…

2. No need to be super accurate

What I found after months of kombucha brewing is that you don’t have to be super accurate when measuring things.

For instance, yes I do measure the amount of sugar and tea.

But just because I added more sugar or less tea, it wouldn’t change things too much. My kombucha will still be the same kombucha.

Yes, it could be because I am not too sensitive to the taste change.

I, in fact, enjoy the variety of taste depending on the amount of fruits I added.

I like the vinegary taste from the batches I spent too much time brewing.

If you are like me, well, unless you are not trying to make a consistent taste for potential commercial kombucha, you don’t have to overthink.  

It has been always tricky to figure out when the first fermentation process is done. And it is advised to taste kombucha every day to examine the taste change.

While this is important to know how your kombucha should taste after the first fermentation is done, you could end up not worrying so much about the taste. Like me.

3. Don’t be afraid of the amount of suger you add

Yes, it’s a lot of sugar you need to add for the first fermentation process.

It is very counterintuitive if you are expecting a healthy fermented drink.

But please, don’t worry about the sugar.

You are not making an unhealthy drink.

You are simply adding sugar to activate the yeast.

If you are worried that some residual could be still in the tea, well, I recommend waiting a couple of days more to make sure that all the sugar is gone.

4. Don’t add any vinegar.

Some recipes out there ask you to add vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) to boost the fermentation process.

But please, don’t think that this is an essential ingredient to brew kombucha.

Perhaps, the extra vinegar you add could help prevent potential molds. But adding something extra could do more harm than benefit.

You can absolutely brew kombucha without any additional vinegar.

If you really want to boost the fermentation process, save some vinegary kombucha and add it to your recipe. Don’t add something else to what is necessary for the brewing process.

5. Be aware of the temperature

Kombucha brews in a range of temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees (F).

I have brewed kombucha both in 65 degrees and 80 degrees and haven’t had any issues.

Though, one thing I noticed is that if the temperature is warm like 80, expect that your first fermenting process will be done a lot faster than you think. Living in Texas, it typically takes me around 4-5 days during the summer.

When brewing in 65 degrees, on the other hand, I have to keep it out for almost 2 weeks for the first fermentation process.

Of course, having a constant temperature is ideal. But it’s not critical.

6. First time brewing takes more time than usual.

So, you have a new scoby you purchased  or got from your friend, and now you are ready to make your own kombucha. One thing to know ahead of time is that the first batch you make would typically take a long time. It could even turn out flat with no carbonation. Give some time for the first fermentation. I think my first batch took almost two weeks only for the first fermentation step. Even if you (think you) failed the first batch, don’t give up. Your second batch should be a lot better.

7. The shape of SCOBY doesn’t matter

I once saw from online where they sell multiple sizes of scoby for different jar sizes. With different price tag! In this case, I would definitely choose the cheapest one.

The size of scoby doesn’t really matter for home brewers!

Maybe (but not likely) you might need to wait a couple of days longer to have the first fermentation done if your tea is not enough. But this is just when you brew the first time.

The size or shape of scoby doesn’t really matter.

And yes, a fresh scoby has a light color while an old one is darker. Between these two, which one should you use? Answer: either works well!

8. Have appropriate bottles ready for the second fermentation.

Of course, you can reuse any glass bottles you have at home to store kombucha for the second fermentation. But, oftentimes, if your kombucha turns out flat, it is because your bottles are not appropriate for kombucha brewing. There are glass bottles on Amazon that many people would recommend as the best kombucha bottles. (Check out the best known swing top kombucha bottles from Amazon.) Even when you don’t want to spend more for the bottles, make sure you know what kind of bottles are appropriate so you know whether or not your bottles would work.

9. Keep a clean brewing environment

Make sure you are not growing any bad bacteria other than what is supposed to brew.

Always wash the glass jar and bottles clean and time to time, don’t forget to sanitize them.

It’s not that we can analyze what’s in our kombucha drink like a chemistry expert.

So, it’s always good to emphasize how clean your kombucha brewing environment needs to be.

Conclusion

It could be scary to brew kombucha for the first time.

But know that the process is rather simple and straightforward.

The easiest way to learn how to brew kombucha is to simply give it a try.

Hope this post was helpful!

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If you are a fan of kombucha drinks, you probably have considered brewing it yourself. Here are the nine things that beginner kombucha brewers need to know. I personally wish I had known these earlier.
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