Boy this is more intensive than my college Economics 101 class (though we won’t get upset if you play hooky and sleep in class).
This class will focus on the top 3 mistakes beginners make while making kombucha tea at home.
We will then discuss the number one problem that experienced brewers don’t tell you with brewing and continuously drinking and bottling kombucha tea.
I also have some cool new videos on do’s and don’ts when making kombucha to ensure your success.
Top 3 Mistakes To Avoid
When Making Kombucha Tea At Home
Make Kombucha Pitfall #1 – Preparing Your Sweet Tea Solution:
- Though already discussed, the sweet tea solution should not be prepared using an aluminum pot. In fact aluminum should NEVER come in contact with your kombucha culture or your kombucha tea.
- Be sure to add the proper amount of sugar to your Sweet Tea Solution. You would be amazed how many people who make kombucha still don’t believe that the majority of this sugar gets converted into the beneficial properties of what makes kombucha tea healthy for you. Remember, the sugar is not for you to ingest, but for your SCOBY to live and grow.
- Using overly flavored tea for your solution.
[Please Note, you actually CAN use flavored teas as well as herbal teas for your sweey tea solution, but there are a few precautions to take and for the new kombucha brewer wanting to make kombucha at home, it is recommended that you stick to the standard recipe for a few batches and flavor when you bottle before experimenting.]
By flavored I mean tea that has been blended with essential oils. Earl Grey for example, is a flavored tea because it is a traditional black tea that has been blended with the essential oil of bergamot (bet ya didn’t know that, huh?). Though these teas are mighty tasty, the essential oils can alter the make up of your kombucha tea while fermenting.
Remember, you can (and should), add all the flavored teas, juices, dried fruits, you want to your tea AFTER the tea has been fermented and removed from your SCOBY. To learn more about this visit our page on How To Flavor and Bottle Kombucha.
Make Kombucha Pitfall #2 – Incorporating Your Sweet Tea:
- Make sure your Sweet Tea has cooled down to room temperature. You can use the quick cooling method from the Kombucha Recipe to speed the process or just let the tea rest over night (covered and make sure you wake up early to make the kombucha b/c regular tea should not sit out at room temp for too long without anything like kombucha starter tea to make the tea’s ph lower).
ahem… and speaking of kombucha starter tea…
- Be sure to always have at least 10% of brewed kombucha tea with your Sweet Tea solution when brewing again. This will both “jump start” your brewing, as well as ensure that your kombucha mushroom scoby is protected from the elements those critical first few days.
During colder seasons, we recommend making kombucha with 15% to 20% kombucha starter tea because it takes longer to ferment kombucha when the temp is lower and the extra starter tea will help compensate and help with your kombucha making.
Make Kombucha Pitfall #3 – Worrying:
- If you have signed up for our 7 Day Kombucha Mini Course, hopefully by now you have already come to the conclusion that this is something you want, but perhaps you are still a little unsure that making kombucha tea at home is something you can do! Well in the name of Bobby McFerrin Don’t Worry, Make Kombucha! – Seriously, follow the easy instructions and go for it.
- Once you placed your kombucha mushroom culture, Sweet Tea Solution, and Starter Tea in your brewer, give it some quite time for at least 5 days. Over checking your kombucha will disturb the fermentation process. You see, many times people will see a thin layer on top growing and mistakenly think it is mold and start shaking the container around, etc.. all the time that thin layer is a New Kombucha Baby! –
Look, I know it is tempting but let the kombucha do it’s thing, and remember if you don’t have a continuous brewing system, to use the “straw method” for checking your K-tea that is found in our Kombucha Recipe lesson.
What About Making Kombucha and Mold?
Mold CAN occur… though it is highly unlikely:
Your culture is most susceptible to Mold during the bottling and transportation process of separating your kombucha SCOBY from your freshly brewed Kombucha Tea. Please make sure everything is sterile (hands washed, clean working surface, no smoke, etc). This is a very critical time. If you can commit to do this with every batch you should be fine.
Either way, 90% of what beginner brewers think is mold, are actually tannins forming from the tea. If the spot resembles the mold you find on a piece of bread (fuzzy appearance), it is mold. Otherwise, you should be good to go!
Kombucha Mold is not likely to happen, especially if you follow your kombucha directions using a kombucha recipe.
But if you are concerned and think that you kombucha has become contaminated or did not ferment properly, I am happy to give a kombucha diagnosis to answer your question:
“Dave, is my kombucha molding?”
Here’s What To Do: In order to get a diagnosis, when you take your pictures please remember:
- Include multiple kombucha mold pictures (3-4 preferred)
- Please take the kombucha mold pics from different angles.
- Be sure that the mold on your kombucha (or what you think is kombucha mold) is focused on (ie clear) when you take your pictures.
- Email it at our kombucha support forum here
Is Kombucha Mold Safe?
Usually, kombucha molds are safe in the sense that you might get sick, but not anything serious. The molds that are usually found on a Kombucha culture are common household food molds and are often not poisonous but will spoil the taste of the brew. It will resemble mold that would grow on bread that is old.. you know all fuzzy and blue or greenish.
What To Do If I Get Mold on My Kombucha Mushroom Culture
If you do get mold on your kombucha cultures, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RINSE OFF THE KOMBCUHA MUSHROOMS OR SAVE IT. WHEN IN DOUBT THROW IT OUT, ALONG WITH YOUR KOMBUCHA TEA.
Yeah, I know it sucks, but it happens so seldom that it is simply easier and smarter to just pick up another fresh culture from a friend (ahem, of a kick ass kombucha site), and start fresh without any mold.
The Problem That Experienced Kombucha Brewers Don’t Tell You
When They Make Kombucha
If you speak with people who have already begun making their own kombucha tea with kombucha cultures, they will tell you it is wonderful. However, the biggest obstacle is constantly keeping up with changing the fermented kombucha tea out with the new sweet tea.
The process of making kombucha this way traditionally involved several steps, first removing the kombucha culture mushroom from its brewing container, then removing the fermented kombucha tea from the container and finally bottling the kombucha tea to make it.
Putting back the kombucha mushroom culture into the brewing container, and then starting from scratch by adding a new round of freshly made kombucha tea and sugar. AND ALL OF THIS SHOULD BE DONE IN A COMPLETE SANITIZED ENVIRONMENT.
As you can see (or for those that are current brewers.. know) this way of kombucha making can be very time consuming, not to mention the risk of having the scoby culture more susceptible to air born harmful bacterias and unsanitary handling – as we just discussed, the more time your kombucha scoby is removed from its tea solution, the higher risk of the scoby being susceptible to mold.
The Solution to Making Kombucha The Easy and Healthy Way
By using one kombucha container to both ferment and dispense will make kombucha extremely easy and removes the risk of your kombucha mushrooms coming into contact with harmful elements. The system allows you to constantly drink and make home made kombucha tea at home without hardly ever having to remove the kombucha culture from its container..
Tomorrow we will delve into this method in depth by going into how to Make Kombucha using the Continuous Brewing system in more detail. You will see that it is not just more convenient and safer but may actually be healthier for you so that you can enjoy the full spectrum of organic acids found in kombucha tea.
You are also going to learn how you can use the Continuous Brewing System to make bottled kombucha tea that is customized and flavored in half the time of traditional techniques.