If you read my last article, you know that I am new to the world of homebrew kombucha. In fact, I just started Batch #5 this morning. While I am an absolute novice at this process, I thought I'd share a few of my initial findings and who doesn't like a good Top 5 list. With that here are my Top 5 Keys to Starting a Successful Continuous Brew Kombucha.
1 Find a Bucha Buddy
Fermentation, of any kind, requires all of your senses. While it would have been fine to buy a SCOBY and give it a go on my own, I gained so much from my in-depth tutorial from my friend, Amber. The day we met up for our mini Kombucha Camp, she brewed new sweet tea, collected her finished kombucha from the Mother Crock, went through 2nd Fermentation and shared some of her favorite recipes. It was exactly what I needed to feel confident that I could go home and replicate what she did. And ultimately, the best part was that she generously shared a SCOBY and starter tea with me.
2 Defer to the Experts
While my friend is awesome, and I am sure she'd indulge my questioning, she's a busy mom-trepreneur, and I don't want to push her goodwill. No worries! There are plenty of online resources that are readily available to guide you. Here are a few of my favorites:
You Brew Kombucha - https://www.youbrewkombucha.com - I found this Kombucha brewer on YouTube. She is great for someone who wants to brew in batches.
Kombucha Kamp - https://www.kombuchakamp.com/ - This site has ready to ship kits, so if you want to go for it, this place has you covered.
Wellness Mama - https://wellnessmama.com/2673/kombucha-recipe/ - Amber told me this is her go-to place for a solid tutorial. If you check this blog post out, you'll see that it links you back to Kombucha Kamp at a few points.
Try lots of different Kombuchas until you find a direction that you like and then copy what they do. We love Health-Ade Kombucha, Iggy's, and Brew Dr. It may take a few batches to hone in on the right ratios for your 2nd ferment. My first batch of kombucha was rhubarb/mint. It was good, but there was just too much mint, and it overpowered the rhubarb. If you have a favorite, leave a comment! I'd love to hear about it.
4 Keep a Log
Life in my home is busy. So there's no way I could keep track of when I started brewing a batch, what I used to flavor batch #2 three weeks ago or ideas for future batches. This log could be as simple as a date written on your brewing vessel with dry erase marker or complex, like building a Trello board with all of your recipes, resources, and ideas. It's entirely up to you.
5 Brew for You
There are so many varying degrees of how people like their kombucha. If you like it tart, great! If you prefer lots of fruity flavor and carbonation, excellent! That is what makes homebrewing so fun for me. I get to brew it just the way I want.
The second part of brew for you is all about quantity. There are two standard methods to homebrewing. One way is brewing one batch at a time, usually in a gallon jar. The other process is working with a continuous brew where you have a large brewing vessel with a pour spout. When it's time to harvest your finished kombucha, you drain off some and replace what you take out with more sweet tea. It seems there are plenty of opinions out there as to what is best, but again, it's entirely up to you. For the size of my family, and the amount of kombucha I'd like to have available, we just upgraded from a one-gallon jug to a 3.5-gallon jug utilizing a continuous brew cycle.
Brewing kombucha at home is cheap, simple, and, for some of us, it's a lot of fun. All you have to be able to do is follow instructions and maintain a clean brewing environment. If that seems doable, then stop holding back and give it a try.