Kombucha is a living organism made up essentially of bacteria and wild yeast.
It’s widely used as a digestive tonic to support and strengthen the immune system and for overall good gut health. Because it’s a live organism, it grows according to the environment it’s in including what’s happening in the environment. Hard to believe? Try neglecting a brew and see what happens. These are just a few tips I’ve collected along my caring for kombucha in the tropics journey. If you’ve got some that you’d like to add to this list, please let me know.
- Avoid using metal when brewing, straining or bottling kombucha.
- Kombucha looks weird as it forms a film on the top of the liquid, but that’s exactly what it needs to do. This film is otherwise known as a SCOBY – symbiotic community of bacteria and yeast, and works to keep the ferment safe from airborne bad bacteria.
- Clear glass jars are great for beginners so you can see the activity and can frighten or fascinate youngsters! The benefit of clear glass, is that it allows you to see the activity of the SCOBY and the fermentation process – bubbles and floating oogilies (strands of wild yeast) and to monitor closely for mould.
- At the first sign of mould ditch the brew! Yep – everything! You will know the difference between mould and bacteria as mould will look like it’s standing up on top of your SCOBY rather than wild yeast and friendly bacteria trapped within the SCOBY.
- Before bottling your first ferment, repeat the process of making and cooling down your sugary tea. Once you have bottled your first ferment, put enough tea aside to use as your starter and put your starter SCOBY and new SCOBY on a clean plate while you wash your your tank. Clean and dry thoroughly without soap or detergent – a gentle white vinegar wash should leaving your tank sparkling clean and ready for the next brew.
If you are doing a second ferment, always burp your bottles – open the lid of your bottles enough to release built up carbonation and be very careful if using glass as explosions do happen. I was a bit dismissive of this until my first explosion and was eternally grateful that it happened over night and no was harmed.
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