Large Sized Scoby brewing instructions.
We advise that you read the instructions in full to familiarise yourself with them before beginning. If you are unsure about anything get in touch as we are always happy to help.
A few points to start with
To brew Kombucha you will need;
- A Kombucha Culture (or scoby)
- A glass container/jar of some description, we use jars that hold approx 2.5litres, all the information below is geared towards brewing in a 2.5 litre container.(making 2 ltr of Kombucha)
- 6-8 Tea bags – we use organic tea but that is not really important, it is however imperative that all brewing is done using a base of ‘real’ tea, be it green, black, white etc.
- 160-200g Sugar – granulated.
- A tight weaved cotton or muslin cloth and elastic band to cover your jar
Please ensure that your kombucha does not come into contact with metal (remove any jewellery) although using a metal kettle or pan to make your initial tea is fine.
If you are not starting your brew immediately then store your scoby somewhere cool and out of direct sunlight (NOT in the fridge). If you have received your scoby in the winter and it is quite cold outside it is best to leave your scoby for 48 hours at room temperature to allow your scoby to warm up before starting to brew.
Please ensure that all your equipment in clean and well rinsed before using. Generally speaking equipment does not need to be sterilised simply washed thoroughly. Please ensure that you well rinse any equipment and leave it to cool before use. We do not recommend using boiling water with any glass piece of equipment.
Kombucha brews best at a constant room temperature of approx 20-23C (70F) an airing Cupboard or similar is ideal or a warm room. In the winter or if your rooms are cold then you might find a heater tray helpful (if you are using a heat tray then you will find that your kombucha will brew much faster and we would recommend halving the brewing time instructions in these instructions)
HOW TO BREW YOUR KOMBUCHA
Okay, boil a kettle full of water. Put 6 to 8 tea bags into your glass container, and then add between 160 and 200 grams of sugar to the container. We usually go for nearer 170 grams, but this is preference. Please do not use less than 160 grams of sugar as this can cause problems in the brew.
With tea bags and sugar in your container (please ensure that the container is suitable for boiling water), when your kettle boils, pour the boiling water into the container in which you have placed your tea bags (please do not pour boiling water into glass containers as they can break!) and sugar (but NOT you’re Kombucha!! You will add this later). Stir your container full of tea and sugar, then wait half an hour before removing your tea bags, and then leave to cool.
Wait until the container’s liquid is cool to touch, by that we mean, if you stick your little finger in, it feels no more than barely warm, and closer to cold. Cold is best, but naturally cold, not freezing. With the tea bags removed, place your Kombucha in the top of your container and pour in the liquid from the scoby bag (When you come to make further brews retain approx 125ml or 1/4 of the jar of kombucha to use as starter tea in your next brew, use this starter tea to store your scoby in while your waiting for the tea to cool ),
Your Scoby should be added with the lightest side upwards (don’t worry too much if this is hard to gauge). The Kombucha will either float, sink or something in between, all good (the position of your scoby in the brew will not influence your brew in any way). If the tea starts to seep over the side of your container with the addition of your Kombucha, it’s fine to let some of the tea out. With your Kombucha floating in the tea, put a piece of cotton or muslin over the container top, like you do with homemade jam. Then find a spot for your container, this should be somewhere out of direct sunlight and of a relatively balanced temperature.
It does not matter if it is in the light or the dark just out of direct sunlight and it should not be stored at floor level or in a high traffic area (ie. somewhere that is walked past constantly).
Now, judging the readiness of your Kombucha drink is not a scientific process. You will come to ‘know’ when it is brewed, but don’t worry, before you have gained this knowledge for yourself, we offer this advice. Your Kombucha will take between 5 to 18 days to brew. Take a look at the darkness of the tea when you first put your Kombucha into it, then note how the liquid changes colour over the passing days. The colour will change, to a degree, and the liquid will become slightly cloudier. Our recommendation is that, after three or so days you pour a very small amount into a glass and have a sip. If the brew tastes fruity and not tea like, it’s ready, if not, leave it another day and try again and keep doing this until the kombucha has reached a flavour that you like. The longer you leave it the less sweet more sour it will become. Kombucha can take anywhere from 5-18 days to brew. As you get more experienced you will come to learn the brew duration that best suits your taste buds and palette. Kombucha should taste fruity/sour/tarte. Its flavour is a little similar to apple cider vinegar and it should smell vinegar like and a bit yeasty.
When you feel your brew is ready, pour your brew into the container you plan to keep your drink in, but remember to leave the scoby sitting in a small amount of the brew in its brewing jar (this should not be less than 125ml or about 1/4 of the jar). Put your drink into the fridge; leave it for a few hours and then drink! The longer you leave it in the fridge, the fizzier it will get, and it can be left without going off so drink at whatever pace suits. Kombucha does not "need" to be refridgerated but it can get very fizzy if kept at room temperature in a sealed bottle so either do not fully seal the bottle or burp* the bottles regularly.
While your Kombucha sits in its jar in the small amount of its own juice, either boil the kettle and brew another batch straight away (you will need to do this if you are planning to keep a constant supply going), or if you are not ready to brew some more, cover the top of the jar with your brewing cloth and leave your scoby sitting in its juice. The scoby should be stored at room temperature while it is stored like this and it should not be stored like this for longer than 5 days. You will need to keep checking on your scoby regularly to ensure that it is always covered in liquid as it should never be left to go dry as this will harm the scoby.
It is normal for "fuzz" or "bits" to form during the brew, these are yeast chains and are not harmfull, they can sometime attach themselves to your baby scoby or your mother. We generally advise filtering the brew into your storage container but this is optional. You can use a filtering funnel/ Plastic sieve/muslin or coffee filter papers for this and its normal for a small sediment to form at the bottom of the jar.
During your brew you will notice that a new scoby will start to form as a thin white layer on the top of your brew (or as a new layer on the top of your scoby if your scoby is floating on the surface of your brew).
This scoby should be gently removed when your drink is ready and stored with the mother scoby. (don’t worry if mother and baby are fused together just leave them joined and your mother scoby will get bigger and bigger!) You then gently place the new scoby in your next batch. Keep doing this until your baby scoby is about ½ to ¾ inch thick. It is then ready to be used independently to brew with. Either use it to replace the mother Scoby or start another brew and make even more delicious Kombucha.
Please be careful when you start brewing with baby scobies as if you try to brew too much Kombucha with too small a scoby you risk getting Mould. Start with small batches and work up to a bigger volume as your scoby grows.
Kombucha Care & Advice
If you are new to kombucha and are drinking it for the first time you need to introduce it into your system slowly.
To start with drink ½ a small glass per day (approx ¼ pint) for the first week.
Then drink a small glass per day (approx ½ pint) for the next week.
After this you can drink as much as you like.
Kombucha tastes best fresh from the fridge!
As Happy Kombucha is Raw and unpasteurised it is normal for ‘bits’ to develop in the drink. These are not harmful although they can be removed with a filter (non-metal) if you prefer.
Please consult your doctor before drinking Kombucha if you are diabetic or taking medication.
Please note: Kombucha is a naturally sparkling drink. We therefore advise that when storing Kombucha in airtight sealed bottles it is best to release the fizz from the bottles on a regular basis (daily if possible) to avoid a build up of fizz in your Kombucha, or store your kombucha is a non airtight container so that some of the fizz can naturally escape.
* burping bottles
Kombucha can be kept either refrigerated or at room temperature for up to 2 years (consume within 10 days of opening), although watch out for the build up of naturally occurring carbonation if kept at room temperature! The naturally acidic pH of ripe Kombucha means conditions are favourable for the growth of the kombucha culture, and inhibit the growth of moulds and bacteria. In fact, as long as your Kombucha has been kept in an appropriate container (glass is best) it will just continue to mature and will eventually become Kombucha vinegar which has a multitude of uses of its own: use it in salad dressings, as a hair tonic / rinse to de-toxify and get rid of product build-up, as a non toxic cleaner or as a marinade.
BEWARE EXPLODING KOMBUCHA!!!
IN WARM WEATHER PLEASE ALLOW YOUR KOMBUCHA TO CHILL BEFORE OPENING. Open with extreme care if you do not refrigerate.
As the weather gets warmer, the kombucha will naturally get more carbonated. At Happy kombucha we have experienced this ourselves and bottles have been known to empty their entire contents over the ceiling (yes really!) if the following steps aren't taken into account:
There are a few things you can do to minimize loss or wastage when you open them! Keeping them somewhere cool will help (i.e. not next to the oven / radiator). Even if they are kept at room temperature they will be fine, but it is a good idea to "burp" the bottles. This just means holding the stopper down but releasing the lever slowly until you hear the "pssst" of some of the air escaping. Then secure the lever quickly to retain the liquid. You will start to be able to tell by the ferociousness of the "psst" whether it's a lively bottle or not! If it is, then you may want to do this a few times until it calms down enough to open it - don't worry, it will still be fizzy when it's poured out). Lastly, when you are ready to drink it, making sure it's very cold (has been in the fridge overnight or for a least a few hours) will also minimize the overflow. And of course.... open with care :)
We have tried to make these instructions as concise as possible however it is never possible with any live culture to say A+B=C as each culture is slightly different and there are many variable like temperature and atmospheric pressure that just cannot be easily controlled and also there is a degree of personal preference involved. Not everybody likes their kombucha to taste the same and therefore whilst we have done our best we do try to cater to all needs. If you are unsure about any part of the brewing process drop us a line or give us a call and one of our Kombucha Guru's will happily help you along.