A Beginner’s Guide to Kombucha Part 1: The Set Up

Ok, so you are now ready to brew your booch. Follow these simple steps and guidelines and keep in touch regarding your progress – we’d love to hear from you.

A Word on Water

While you can use any water to brew Kombucha, I highly recommend that you find a good source of natural spring water. If you are lucky enough to live near a natural spring, use this for your brew.

You can search for a spring near you – or submit one – at FindASpring.com

Starter Liquid

When you got your scoby, chances are that you were given some starter liquid with it. Starter liquid is some of the previous brew that will kick start the fermentation process. The more you have the merrier but you should try for at least a cup.

What You Need:

We recommend starting off with a 3L brew and this is reflected in the measurements, below

  1. Your Scoby, of course
  2. Starter Liquid, at least 1 cup
  3. Ceramic bowl to lay your scoby in if need be
  4. Large Pot for the stove
  5. Wooden Spoon
  6. A Jug to pour your tea into your vessel
  7. Your brewing vessel
  8. Breathable fabric and elastic band to fit the cloth over the top of your brewing vessel
  9. 3L filtered or spring water
  10. 8 black or rooibos tea bags
  11. 1.5 cups sugar
  12. Patience

What To Do:

  1. In your large pot, bring your water to a gentle boil and lower the heat.
  2. Add your teabags and allow to draw for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add your sugar and stir well with your wooden spoon until it has dissolved. You may want to up the heat a little to help with this.
  4. Allow the tea to cool down to room temperature – you don’t want to burn the scoby.
  5. Remove the tea bags
  6. Carefully, pour the tea into your brewing vessel using your jug
  7. Carefully place the scoby into the tea
  8. Secure your breathable fabric around the opening of your vessel using the elastic band
  9. Place your brew in a warm spot, out of direct sunlight and wind.
  10. Allow your scoby to work her magic!

How Long is Long Enough

Ok so here is where things start to get more fluid, so to speak. Some people prefer a sweeter brew, some prefer a more tart flavour. Some brew for taste alone while others brew for maximum health benefits. Here are some things to consider:

HOW THE WEATHER AFFECTS BREWING TIME

The warmer the weather the faster the brew. In Winter months you may want to wrap your brew in something warm or move it to a warmer spot.

THE TASTE TEST

I encourage you to taste your booch as it brews, especially if you are new to this. Don’t take anyone’s word for it – test it yourself.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR THE SUGAR TO BREAK DOWN

In my research I have found that it can take up to two weeks for the scoby to START breaking down the sugar into glucose and then another week or two to further ferment it. If you are brewing because you want the least amount of sugar (there will always be some sugar content) then you may want to wait longer but remember –

THE LONGER THE BREW, THE STRONGER THE FLAVOUR

That tart, almost vinegary and sometimes definitely vinegary flavour that is. Again, test your brew until it tastes right for you.

WHAT IS MY SCOBY DOING?

During the brew your scoby will mature further, create more dark strands of yeast and even develop another scoby. This usually starts out looking like a film of jelly on the top of your brew. Relax. Let it grow. It will thicken and start looking more and more like a scoby.

Most often a scoby will float at the top but don’t worry if yours doesn’t. This is normal behaviour in my experience.

The dark strands that develop from the scoby is beneficial yeast.

Your scoby can also reproduce in layers which you can either leave and allow to mature, or gently separate to start a fresh brew.

Now that your batch is ready to brew, you can start choosing different options to flavour your brew with – that’ll give you something to do while you patiently wait for your booch!

Head on Over to Part 3 of this series: The Second Ferment for some fun ideas.

A Beginner’s Guide to Kombucha Part 3: The Second Ferment

 

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