FAQs - We love supporting our brewers & answering kombucha questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we get from brewers all over the globe.
What is the ideal temperature for brewing kombucha?
Between 64-80 degrees is ideal for maintaining a healthy brew, the sweet spot is in the mid to high 70s, which will improve carbonation and SCOBY growth. Kombucha is a hearty culture and can withstand a range of temperatures, if your brew is on the cooler side add a few days on to your F1 as fermentation slows.
If my brew is too cold, how can I warm it up?
Lift it off of the counter and place on a cutting board, wrap with a towel or baby blanket, or place in the warmest room of your home. A small space heater can be moved into the vicinity of your brew jar to help raise the temperature in the room, not too close to your brew. Be cautious with seedling warmers as spiking temperatures will lead to an off balance brew and could cause mold to grow.
Where should my SCOBY be in the Brew Jar?
The SCOBY can often move around, sometimes they sink to the bottom, other times they stay floating in the middle or they may simply stay near the top. The location of your mother SCOBY doesn’t matter, just make sure your NEW SCOBY grows on the top of each brew. If it creeps up and tries to escape, simply push it back down.
I forgot to set aside 2 cups of starter liquid for my next brew! What do I do?
Unfortunately you will need to toss your brew and SCOBY and begin again with a new SCOBY + starter liquid. Strong starter liquid is necessary to keep your brew healthy, without it, your kombucha will not properly ferment and it will be susceptible to harmful bacteria. We encourage homebrewers to set up a SCOBY Hotel to store extra SCOBYs and starter liquid to always have on hand.
What is that brown, stringy stuff on my SCOBY in the brew? Is that mold?
That's yeast, the Y in SCOBY! A crucial part of your home brewed kombucha. Yeast also can show up in the bottom of your brew jar and appear cloudy. This can simply be strained or discarded; it is not mold.
I've brewed a few batches now and have a few SCOBYs in my jar, how many are too many? What do I do with them?
It's best to have more than 5 SCOBYs or 1 ½ inches of SCOBYs in your jar. Too many will cause your brew to become vinegary. Simply peel the bottom layers of the mother or take a SCOBY from the top and store in a SCOBY Hotel. There are lots of simple ways to repurpose those extra SCOBYs!
What kind of water is okay? Will I kill my brew with tap water?
Ideally, we recommend using filtered or distilled water, as water is one of the main ingredients for home brew. The quality of water affect the flavor and quality of your brew. We have brewers in our community who successfully brew using tap and well water, just be aware that microbes and tiny organisms living in those water sources can impact your brew. Boiling water for 15 minutes or leaving your water to sit out for 24 hours will help remove some of the chlorine from unfiltered water.
My second ferment jars are growing baby SCOBYs...is that normal?
Yes, totally normal and can happen frequently! Simply use a small, mesh strainer when pour kombucha into a glass. Then you can toss the little SCOBY or save it for a smoothie! This happens because the fermentation process doesn’t stop until you put your kombucha in the fridge.
What kind of tea should I use? Is decaffeinated okay?
Organic, loose leaf black tea is traditionally used in kombucha because the caffeine stimulates the bacteria and yeast to begin fermentation, thus you want to stay away from decaffeinated teas. Green tea can be used to rebalance your brew. Be cautious of flavored tea that often contains oils or natural & artificial flavors that can lead to mold growth. Tea bags can be used, but will require 7-11 since each bag has such a small amount of tea.
I’m trying to cut down on sugar/can’t have it, can I use something else in my sweet tea?
Organic cane sugar is necessary for fermenting your kombucha and maintaining the health of your brew. Sugar acts as fuel for the bacteria & yeast and is a critical element in successfully brewing kombucha at home. The sugar is broken down during fermentation, so when done properly the final beverage is very low in sugar. To reduce the sugar content in your kombucha we recommend a longer F1 that is 12-14 days and using lemon, ginger or herbs to flavor your F2 instead of sugary fruits.