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MamaZing Kombucha Brewing Instructions
Welcome to Kombucha brewing! An exciting adventure awaits!
To get started you will need:
- 2 Large Jars (1-5 Litres is best) One for brewing, one for infusion of flavours.
- Any size jar will work for a start. (We started with Agee jars)
- Organic Green or Black Tea (Bags, 2-3 bags per Litre or 1 Tablespoon per Litre of loose leaf)
- (Trade Aid organic Tea bags at supermarket are good for a start. Or an organic loose leaf Tea. Green is easier for beginners and makes nice tangy Kombucha)
- Organic cane Sugar (This gives the best results) 1/4 cup per Litre
- Starter Kombucha (20%ish of the volume of liquid in the jar when 3/4 full.)
- Water (Pure. Unchlorinated, unflouridated. Filtered is alright.)
- Fabric for lid (Sheet or T-shirt is alright. Unbleached cotton is best.)
- Rubber band for lid.
- Warmish, darkish space.
- For advanced or precise brewing, pH tester and thermometer are handy.
- Make sure your hands and all implements are clean. High quality Stainless steel only if your implements are metal!!
- Pour the Kombucha starter liquid into your jar. Gently pour the SCOBY or pick up with your hands and put in the liquid.
- Put the fabric cover and rubber band on the jar.
- Put it somewhere dark and warmish. Hot water cupboards can be good if they are clean.
- Make a Tea brew for the SCOBY.
- Brew a pot full of tea, proportionate to your Kombucha jar.
- Always leave 20%ish Kombucha starter in the jar for each brew.
- For black or green tea brew, brew the tea for 5-30 minutes. Sieve the tea and add the sugar. There are more refined instructions for Tea brewing that can be found online.
- For one Litre of Kombucha, use 1/4 cup or so (50-80) grams of sugar. It will taste like a very sweet tea. Too much sugar, and your brew will take a long time to make and may become “yeasty”. Too little, and the symbiosis won’t work properly and the SCOBY will become out of balance leaving a dry, bitter liquid.
- Let the sweetened Tea cool to the same temperature as your Kombucha liquid. You can use a thermometer if needed.
- Remove the SCOBY during the pouring. Pour or gently move the SCOBY into a clean bowl with a bit of Kombucha in it while putting Tea in or in another jar.
- Using a pouring vessel, pour the sieved Tea brew into the jar until the jar is full to far enough below the curved edge of where the jar becomes smaller to put the SCOBY back in and not go over the edge. The SCOBY will grow to the size of the jar where it sits.
- Leave a bit of air space at the top of your jar.
- If the SCOBY sinks, you may lift it to try to float it. Try again the next day if it is still sitting on the bottom. If it stays at the bottom, let it stay there and it will form a new SCOBY. This is
normal! Take the old one out of the bottom and make another jar!
- SCOBYs like warm and airflow. Not over 28 degress C. Optimal is 22-25 degrees. 20 degrees is cold. 18 degrees or lower and you are at risk of losing your SCOBY to mold. And it will slow brewing to a near halt.
- They prefer to stay out of direct light and sunlight.
- They like hot water cupboards.
- They like nice music.
- If the SCOBY sinks, let it form a SCOBY on top of the liquid. It will be a thin gelatinous disk covering the liquid. This will thicken over days and will be brewing your Kombucha while it forms.
- They love pure water, un-chlorinated and un-flouridated. Filtered water is alright.
- After about 4 days, start testing your brew. Test it over the next few days until you feel it is ready. This may take 5-14 days depending on the size of the jar, temperature, and other factors. This is the fun bit!
- When the taste of the sugar is gone and replaced by tart and tangy, but not vinegar. And the taste of the tea is mostly gone and replaced by tangy Kombucha. Then it is ready. There may still
be a wee bit of tea taste, depending on the type of tea you use. The sugar taste ought to be gone. Entirely. The more tart the Kombucha, the stronger the medicine. Stopping before the Acetic Acid
Vinegar taste takes over is a good practice. It is strong medicine once it is Vinegar, but not as balanced and a bit tough on the Liver in high doses.
- This is the time to name your SCOBY. After the first batch you will have an idea of its flavour, individual character, or personality. Stick a name label on your jar. Refer to it by name. It will get to know you. And you will get to know it. These cultures are alive. If we name them, we take better care of them and relate to them more. Human psychology at its finest.
- Pour your Kombucha off, leaving 20% for the next batch. If you are onto it, have the next Tea brew ready for the Kombucha when you pour off and top it right up. Cover it and
leave it to Brew.
- Your SCOBY will form “babies” after each brew cycle or so. The SCOBY is known as themother. The babies form on top and become the new mother. Periodically for SCOBY health (every few months), or when you want to give a SCOBY away or make new Kombucha, peel a layer or more off the bottom. Place that in some more starter Kombucha liquid and birth another Kombucha
brew! Or blend it and put it in your medicine chest for wounds! In a jar with a cloth cover and a bit of Kombucha liquid in it.
Kombucha brewing is not overtly difficult, however it does require time and attention to details. Which we do not all have available at all times. If your Kombucha SCOBY dies from neglect or other factors, pick up your chin, compost it and try again. Once it is in the flow of life, it is another weekly routine, which will require little (in very small batches) and will give much.
We always recommend Organic Tea and sugar, as toxic chemicals do affect our bodies adversely. As Kombucha is a wonderful health tonic that also detoxifies the liver, it is best to give your body a clean solution, free of pesticides and chemicals for optimal health and absorption.
The yeast in the SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast), eats sugar. Bacteria eats caffeine and tannins in the tea. A caffeinated tea is recommended. Non-caffeinated tea can work, but will require much more maintenance and Alchemy.
Black, Green, or White Tea all work for brewing and have different properties. Some other teas such as Yerba Mate also work, but differently.
The Kombucha will convert much of the caffeine, but will leave about 20%ish. A trace amount of sugar will also remain. Trace amounts of alcohol are naturally occurring from the ferment process. The more sugar, the more yeasty the brew, the more alcohol content. Usually below 1%. About the amount of alcohol of two day old orange juice.
Tips and Information
- Your starter SCOBY will need some starter Kombucha. This is included in your kit. Use this starter! Whatever volume the jar, it needs 20% starter to Tea ratio. If there is more starter than you need, make two jars or use it as a very strong Kombucha tonic in small amounts.
- Find a jar suitable to your needs. The SCOBY will size itself to your jar. If you put a wee piece of SCOBY in a huge jar, it will become as wide as the jar . Sometimes cafes and restaurants have larger jars without lids that they will give away. However, start with what you have. If you have a 300ml jar, start with
that. Your brew will go fast and you will quickly source a larger jar, as half a glass of Kombucha won’t be enough for the effort.
- Always use a breathable cover on your Kombucha jar.
(Fabric. Stretchy cotton or merino fabric, Cotton, Hemp, or a natural fibre is best.)
- Black, Green, Oolong, or White Tea are the most recommended and traditional Teas for Kombucha making. Each has different health benefits and taste. Find more information on the internet or in libraries.
- Organic Cane Sugar is an unrefined sugar, which Kombucha loves. Darker sugars have more molasses, which is anti-bacterial and can interfere with the SCOBY. Honey does not work well, but a
culture called Jun uses Honey. Coconut sugar also does not work well. As hard as it is for us anti-sugar folks to swallow, SCOBYs need sugar. Pure sugar. Not white sugar. Pure sugar. The good news is, that when brewed properly, Kombucha has less sugar than a glass of juice.
- Always let Tea cool to the same temperature as the Kombucha in the jar. If Tea is too cold, add a splash of boiling water to it to bring it to the same temp. If the tea is too cold, your SCOBY will sink
and form a new one. Which is alright, but a bit of a bummer if your SCOBY is strong and mature.
(Although, this is your chance to make a new Kombucha by putting the sunken SCOBY into a new jar!) Use a thermometer or a clean finger to test the temperature.
- Always wash hands before touching your SCOBY. Make sure they are not soapy!
- Mold is rare, but if you ever see mold on the SCOBY, throw it away. They are not save-able once they have mold. Little grayish greenish bits are not always mold, but yeast. When it is fuzzy, then it
is mold. Throw it in the compost. This happens when the temperature is too low or when the SCOBY doesn’t have enough liquid in it.
- SCOBYs can be used for skincare, wound dressing, Athlete’s foot, compost, smoothies, craft projects when dried, or to make more Kombucha. Share them around. It feels good!
Infusion/ Second Ferment
- For flavouring, put the poured off Kombucha in another vessel with herbs, spices, fruits, or whatever you fancy trying. Leave this with the cloth lid on for a couple of days. Strain and pour off when
it tastes ready. Put in a bottle and put in the fridge.
- Strain and put in a bottle to build up fizz. A swing top bottle will build up the best fizz. Other lids leak air.
- Be aware if you use fruit or other sugary ingredients and put in the bottle, it creates a more sugary brew and it can build up enough pressure to explode and creates a more sugary brew. This is why we don’t use fruit in MamaZing.
Some things NOT to do with your SCOBY:
- Do not rinse the SCOBY in Water. If it gets dirty for any reason, wash with Kombucha if possible. If you must rinse with Water, boil it and cool it first.
- Do not put the SCOBY in the refrigerator. If you are going away or putting your brew on hold, leave it with a full jar of Kombucha in a warm and dark place. This is a SCOBY hotel. If you
- can change the liquid in it every so often, it would appreciate it. If it is left alone for months, it can
- dry out and then is at risk of mold.
- Do not leave Kombucha in a bottle out of the fridge without burping for an extended amount of time. Weekly or at the very least monthly burping is recommended to avoid exploding bottles.
- Do not use Chlorinated or Fluoridated water. Filtered water, Spring water, and Aquifer water is generally recommended. Check with your local council if you don’t know what is in your water.
- Do not flush them down the toilet or drain. First thing to do with old SCOBYs is to use them for medical applications. See the website for details. Put them in small amounts into smoothies. Or compost them or simply dry them to make things out of them if you are wanting to discard any.
Fizz. The big debate.
Fizz is not a necessary in Kombucha. Kombucha does not create fizz. Sugar and yeast combined creates fizz. The more sugary and yeasty your Kombucha, the more fizz. And yet, the end result will contain more sugar. As well as potentially creating an imbalance in the symbiosis that creates the extra goodness. Some Kombucha makers create fizz by adding sugar to the second ferment and bottling then storing outside the fridge for a few days, week or so. Fruits, due to their sugar content, may sometimes create more fizz. Some brewers add Co2 to their Kombucha for that soda pop” fizz feel.
Personally, at MamaZing we prefer effervescence to fizz. We are not trying to recreate a soda or beer. Kombucha is its own creature and naturally produces a lightly effervescent environment. However, we acknowledge some of you love the fizz. You will find once you bottle it, the longer you “condition” it outside of the fridge, the more fizz will build. And the stronger the brew will become. To get super fizz, bottle it while it is still a bit sweet and the Yeast will eat some of the sugar in the bottle and create a fizz party. We do NOT personally recommend this practice.
Green tea creates more fizziness than other teas, but it is more of an effervescence than a fizz. With the lid on, in the fridge, Kombucha will still become more effervescent. If storing out of the fridge for more than a week, remove the lid occasionally to release pressure. Exploding bottles are no fun!
Use a cork if you think you may forget and the bottle will “burp” itself. If left out of the fridge, it will continue to ferment. And ferment. And ferment. Eventually, your Kombucha will become a fine vinegar, which is great for salad dressings.
Enjoy your Kombucha journey, wherever it takes you!
If you have any questions or need further information, first check our Website at www.mamazing.nz. FAQ, ideas for what to do with SCOBYs and other information will be showing up on the website in near months. Or do not hesitate to contact us at: [email protected].