Kombucha Brewing Do’s and Don’ts

Some of you may be seasoned Kombucha-brewing veterans, but many of you out there have only just begun to explore the incredible process (perhaps in response to our recent posts on the topic).  To keep you out of trouble, we’ve put together the following lists of “do’s” and “don’ts” when brewing kombucha.

Kombucha Brewing Do’s:

  • Clean everything thoroughly before brewing or bottling.
  • Filter or boil your water before brewing.
  • Use refined white sugar; it is healthier for your SCOBY, and results in a more palatable tea with higher levels of the several healthful organic acids. Also, since the SCOBY consumes almost all of the sugar, there is no need to worry about the health risks associated with eating refined sugar.
  • Check the pH if you’re nervous. Kombucha generally finishes with a pH of 2.5. Anything lower than 4.6 is safe to drink, since the acidity acts as a preservative. Commercially available pH strips can be used to verify that your brew is ready.
  • Watch for mold and throw away a batch that gets moldy.

Kombucha Brewing Don’ts:

  • NEVER ferment your kombucha in a metal, plastic, or ceramic container. Finished kombucha is very acidic, and can leach toxins out of some metals, plastics, and ceramic glazes.
  • Stay away from teas flavored with oils (such as Earl Grey), as these may damage your kombucha SCOBY.
  • Don’t add flavorings — such as ginger or raisins — to the fermenting kombucha; they can damage the SCOBY or encourage mold. Add these when bottling the finished kombucha; the high acidity will preserve the fruit.

September 25 2008 12:57 pm | Kombucha

4 Responses to “Kombucha Brewing Do’s and Don’ts”

  1. Ingrid on 06 Jan 2009 at 8:01 am #

    What about if the ginger is boiled in the water that you use for the tea, but removed before the fermentation process. Is this still a bad idea?

  2. Klover on 12 May 2011 at 12:43 am #

    Usually the flavoring is done during secondary fermentation after harvesting. At that time it is safer to experiment with adding flavors with fruits and herbs, etc. During the first stage, as you mentioned, even by boiling the ginger, it is too risky that: 1-oils may be released into the water and float to the surface where it will affect SCOBY’s intake of O2. 2-many roots and herbs are naturally antibacterial/fungal which may also have negative effects on your mother culture. Harvest your “virgin” brew to protect your culture and THEN experiment to your heart’s content…Many successful brewings!

  3. Octavio Rodriguez on 25 Jun 2014 at 12:10 am #

    Can you use a cinnamon tea, (canela)

  4. Aubrey on 08 Jul 2014 at 7:43 am #

    Octavio -

    Thanks for the comment. Yes, you can use cinnamon as an additional ingredient to your Kombucha, but you must also use some actual tea (from the plant Camellia Sinensis). Combine the two in different proportions to discover your perfect brew!

    Arbor Teas

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