Kombucha - The Basics

What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented, slightly alcoholic, lightly effervescent, sweetened tea drink commonly consumed for its health benefits like improved gut health.

What is a Kombucha SCOBY?
“SCOBY” is an acronym: Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. A SCOBY is the living home for the bacteria and yeast that transform sweet tea into tangy, fizzy kombucha — think of the SCOBY as the coral reef of the bacteria and yeast world. It a rubbery raft that floats on the surface of the kombucha.

How long does a Kombucha SCOBY last?
If cared for properly, a SCOBY will last you a lifetime.

What do I need to make Kombucha?
You will need the following to start making Kombucha:

  • Kombucha SCOBY
  • Starter liquid
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Tea
  • Cover cloth with band
  • A brewing vessel

How long does it take to make Kombucha?
Kombucha can culture anywhere between 8 and 21 days depending on your taste.

What does Kombucha taste like?
Kombucha has an effervescent, tart, and slightly sweet taste. Depending on the added flavors, it can even taste fruity, floral, spicy or herbaceous. It has a flavor profile similar to apple cider but with a more pronounced sour taste.

What does second ferment mean when flavouring?
Second fermentation takes place after the SCOBY and finished Kombucha have been separated after the first fermentation. Here is now where you are going to add your flavourings to the Kombucha and bottle it in an airtight container. This container will culture for 24 – 48 hours (also on your kitchen shelf) and this will create a wonderfully fizzy, carbonated drink.

Will my Kombucha SCOBY multiply?
Each time you brew a batch of Kombucha a new SCOBY will form on the surface of the brew. The original SCOBY ("the mother") and the new SCOBY ("the baby") can each be used to brew a new batch of Kombucha.

How will I know that my attempt at making Kombucha was unsuccessful?
If your Kombucha doesn't taste right, it may not be right. Fresh, living Kombucha should be tart and sweet. It should be refreshing and yummy, not off-putting in taste or smell.

How will I know that my Kombucha brew and SCOBY is healthy?
Your Kombucha will have a sweet-sour smell
A baby SCOBY will grow from the mother SCOBY
Yeast strands will start forming
The tea will lighten in colour

How will I know if my Kombucha has become contaminated?
While most kombucha is strong enough to fight off the invasion of bad bacteria, sometimes things can go wrong. If you find a mold of any color on top of your Kombucha SCOBY or in the top or sides of your fermenting jar, you’ll need to take drastic measures. Do not consume any Kombucha coming from this batch. Do not use the SCOBY to make a new batch.

As long as you are using clean utensils, washing your hands, keeping the room temperature reasonable and maintaining reasonably clean jars (its ok to re-use them for a few weeks before washing), following the recipe and covering the jars properly there is little risk of contamination.

How often should a Kombucha SCOBY be rehydrated?
Allow the mixture to culture for 7-30 days or to taste. Reserve some of the tea for your next batch and add fresh tea to that with the SCOBY.

Do I need to rinse the SCOBY between batches?
No, a SCOBY doesn't need rinsing. You'll rinse away some of the microbes that are responsible for helping your sweet tea to transform into Kombucha, so as a best practice, move your SCOBY directly from one batch of Kombucha to the next, with minimal handling and it'll do just fine.

How much sugar is there in finished Kombucha?
The amount on sugar in finished Kombucha depends on the ingredients used and the time it cultured (for example, Kombucha which was cultured for 24 hours will contain more remaining sugar that Kombucha cultured for 48 hours).

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