Kombucha is ready, with clean hands gently lift the mother
culture and it’s offspring out onto a clean plate. The "child"
culture can be passed on to someone else who wants to start brewing,
or you can use it for another batch thereby doubling your output!
the Kombucha into your measuring jug leaving behind about 200ml in
the bowl as a starter for the next batch.
Now fill your
clean bottles with the Kombucha, label them and store them in a
cupboard or the fridge. You can use any kinds of bottles but some
batches will be a lot fizzier than others and it's a good idea to
use pop bottles, like the Grolsh bottles, that have rubber gaskets
on them. This kind of bottle will let out any excess pressure and
bottling your Kombucha make up a second batch of tea for the culture
and set your second brew to ferment.
ready to drink immediately, but storing the bottled Kombucha for a
month or two will give you an even better drink. This
kind of bottle conditioning can improve the flavour as any home wine
brewer will know. The sugar continues to ferment a little, giving
you lighter, drier taste and producing more fizz.
will often grow little s.c.o.b.y.s on the top of the liquid in the
bottles. This is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about but
look out for them when you take your first mouthful!
You are now
ready to drink your first home made Kombucha!
Now you can
make a second batch of sweet tea and when it’s cool add it to the
bowl and the waiting starter. Then add your s.c.o.b.y. and put the tea
towel back over the bowl and put the bowl away to ferment.
first 2 or 3 batches it’s a good idea to use both the mother and the
baby together until the new s.c.o.b.y. thickens up. When they are new
they can be paper thin. With each brewing a new layer will form on
top and your s.c.o.b.y. will get thicker. Then, when it's somewhere
between a quarter and a half an inch thick, you can gently separate
the mother and baby and use the mother to start off a second brew.
will grow with each brew, gradually getting thicker. You can leave
them like this and occasionally peel of a layer from the bottom and
discard it. Or you can separate them and either pass new s.c.o.b.y.s on
to friends or store them as spares in another jar of sweet tea which
you can keep in the fridge to slow down fermentation. It’s useful to
have spares in case your active culture becomes contaminated and you
need to discard the Kombucha and the s.c.o.b.y. and start again.
A close up of the same s.c.o.b.y. as above after the
second batch has been brewed. You can see it has thickened up and is
now a creamy colour rather than transparent.
Kombucha culture needs oxygen for the fermentation. A Pyrex bowl
gives a large surface area and is an excellent brewing container.
But you can use taller jars to brew the Kombucha, it will
simply take longer to brew because there's a smaller surface area
exposed to oxygen. So 5-10 days in a bowl becomes more like 10-20
days in a jar.
brewing suppliers now carry Kombucha fermenting jars They are wide
mouthed jars, usually sat in a wicker container that helps to keep
the light out. A 3 litre pickle or sweet jar will do very well too.
likes a steady temperature of 23°-30°C (or 70°-86°F). A steady
temperature gives a more consistent brew. In summer when the air is
warm this isn't too difficult. Keeping the brew in an airing
cupboard will keep it at a constant temperature too. But if you
can't do that then in the winter as the temperature changes from
cold to warm with the central heating in modern homes there will be
a fluctuation in the brewing time and possibly in fizziness and
taste too. The Kombucha Network UK sell heating trays specially for
requires tea for its fermentation. That's real tea (Camellia
Sinensis) not herbal tea. Use black, oolong, green or white tea and
look for organic tea as contaminants in some commercial teas can
affect the culture.
be also be sensitive to strong aromatic oils. A tea like Earl Grey
that contains Bergamot oil, can sometimes kill or badly affect the
culture. So avoid these types of flavoured tea.
is cheap and works very well. Organic white sugar would be even
better. Sugar is used by the yeasts during fermentation, and is
broken down and transformed into acids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes
and carbon dioxide. Sugar is also involved in the propagation of the
Kombucha culture. It uses the sugar to build the s.c.o.b.y.. At the end
of the fermentation period, if done correctly, the sugar will have
been virtually all converted and there should be little or no sugar
left in the Kombucha. Using raw brown sugars can give the brew a bad
taste and result in poor culture formation.
added to water supplies to kill harmful bacteria will,
unfortunately, also affect the millions of friendly bacteria in
Kombucha. That’s why the water you use for brewing your Kombucha tea
should be filtered. This can be done with a cartridge and jug, or a
system plumbed in under the sink. Jug filters will remove chlorine
from water and make it taste better. However, only the best quality
water filters will remove aluminium, bacteria and heavy metals, like
lead, along with organic pollutants like herbicides and pesticides.
If you don't have a filter
then bring to the boil 2.5 litres of water in a saucepan and simmer
for 10 minutes. This will remove chlorine and fluoride and other
unpleasant things. You need more than your 2 litres to allow for
evaporation. However you'll need to let this sit until it's cool
before using it to make your Kombucha.