Our love affair with kombucha has been going on for years now. We kept it warm next to heat radiators when we lived in the north. Now we protect it from heat and sun here in the south.
After we moved across the country, one of the first welcome gifts we were given was a fresh SCOBY since ours didn’t make the trip. That’s my kind of welcoming gift.
Along the way there has been some trial, and definitely some error. I had my first case of mold since moving to a hotter climate, which I quickly remedied. And I found a few things that have both simplified the brewing process and made tastier kombucha…
We Began Using a Very Large Vessel
Specifically, a large vessel with a big surface area. Increasing the surface area increased the oxygen flow to the yeasts in the culture, which made them very happy. This helped my kombucha brew faster when compared to the half-gallon containers I was using. A faster turnover means more kombucha for our whole family.
We Started a Semi-Continuous Brew System
Because of the larger amount of kombucha I am brewing at a faster rate, I can “harvest” my kombucha in smaller increments. This sometimes results in leaving 1/4 to 1/2 of the brewed kombucha in the vessel, which I then add fresh sweet tea to. I never wash the vessel in between, either, so not only does this give us at least some of the benefits of The Continuous Brewing System, but it also saves me some dishes.
We Allowed it to Ferment Just Until It Started to Show the Beginning Signs of Being “Ready”
We like long-fermented, hardly sweet kombucha. Our sons love that “It’s got some kick!” and we love that there’s not much sugar left. But, for bottling kombucha for a 2nd fermentation I have found that bottling it while it’s still fairly sweet, even if you’re adding juice or sugar, helps to create more carbonation. More carbonation = yummy and by the end of the 2nd fermentation it’s definitely got that kick we love.
So, those re the three things that have improved our kombucha brewing.
What has helped you to make tasty kombucha while keeping it simple?