Introduction To … Continious Brewing Kombucha

With having Goutzi Kombucha as our upstair neighbor we are getting better and better at Kombucha brewing. What followed was a first encounter between Tomas from Goutzi and the public of Fermenthings. I now going to reconstruct the lesson, because i lost my note pad in between. But don’t worry, we started all over again!

What is Kombucha? 

This strangly sounding beverage has it’s origine in Asia, and is found to be already brewed in China more then 2000 years ago. Through an evermore connected world it found it’s way to Russia, Germany, and became after WWII also popular in North America where it is having the whole “craftbrewery” make-over like Beer, Cider, …
In the 60’s studies started to rise, that like yogurt, Kombucha is good for your intestines when drunk regularly, Now you can find in most of the bio shops mostly industrial Kombucha, but small producers are finding a place in the market like Yugen (not so small anymore), Ferm, Be Kombucha and now Goutzi

A Scoby in íts natural environment

Before you start brewing

Before we dive into the process, let’s gather some kitchen equipment to start continuous brewing and make it as easy as possible.
You will need

– One glass 5l recipient with a tap (example)
– One or more glass 2-5l recipient (example)
– black tea
– non refined sugar
– swing top glass bottles (example)
– seasoning to your believe
– EXTRA: PH strips (example)
– A scoby (Kombucha starter you can ask for at Fermenthings)
– cheese cloth or or a clean kitchen towel

With this minimal installation you can start experimenting with a continuous brew: a way to have almost all the time great kombucha

Step one: First fermentation

Even though we will be talking about steps, you need to see a continuous brew as a circle where you can adapt some of the parameters to make your own recipe.
In this first step you will need

– a scoby and some acid starter juice (almost vinegar)
– 5gr of tea
– 1l water
– between 100 and 120gr of sugar
– the 5l recipient with a tap

What we are going to do here is create a grow environment for your scoby to make it possible for bigger batches of Kombucha brewing. Boil 1l of water and add the 5 gr of black tea and the sugar to the container. Let it rest overnight to cool down, (kombucha scoby don’t like high temperatures) and filter it into the 5l container. You add the scoby and its acid starter now and cover the recipient with the cheese cloth and some elastic. This is to create contact with air without giving fruit flies the chance to lay eggs in the scoby (which is a sad reality that happens if you let the cheese cloth loose on top op it)

After a couple of days / weeks the piece of scoby will have grown to cover the whole top of the liquid. This means you’re onto a good start. Now it’s time to make a new batch of 2l, 10gr of tea and 200gr of sugar like explained before, add it to the the whole and wait again a couple of days / weeks till the scoby has created a nice thick cover above your Kombucha. Now you can start tasting it regularly and choose when you want to go to the next step (or bottle it and drink it as an F1)

Step 2: Flavoring and second fermentation

You could stop here, and just bottle the F1, drink a flat kombucha and have a blast with it. But what’s nice about Kombucha is that you can make it sparkling and flavorful with other fruits and herbs. So for the second fermentation you will need:

– the other 2-5 l jar
– a couple of liter of your F1 kombucha
– fruit and spices as you like

For the second fermentation you are going to tap some liters from your F1 jar (at the same time you can already start making new tea for the F1, and start your kombucha cycle) and add fruits to your liking, herbs like cinnamon, or fresh herbs, star anise or even peppers. This time you close the ferment (that’s why it needs to be the other kind of weck pots) to start the carbonation and let the natural sugars in the fruit do their work.

After a couple of days you will see the beginning of the carbonation, you can taste, if it’s at your liking you can filter and bottle the kombucha. Let it in the bottle ferment a bit longer for a couple of days and put it in the fridge when you think it’s ready, the fermentation will slow down (but not stop completely) Enjoy now your own carbonated fermented drink!

Sidestep: The scoby hotel

When you will be making your brews on a regular basis, you will see that some of your scoby will become massive or double . When the scoby is too big, your tea will become acid really fast. That is why we prefer to create a scoby hotel, a place where you put your overachieving scoby to rest in an acid environment. If you want to start testing multiple types of tea, or even work with coffee or with honey you can use a leftover scoby to start the training process, so you don’t lose your precious little kombucha maker. It’s also nice to introduce other people to kombucha brewing through this.

If you still have any questions, or you want more tips, feel free to pass by on our opening hours of the shop: Wednesday, Friday – 16h to 20h and Sunday from 11h to 17h

Good Luck!