FAQ about kombucha

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) that I often get about kombucha and the process:

What is this kombucha that you’re always raving about?
Kombucha is a drink made from fermented tea. It is delicious and slightly effervescent. It can be flavored. It can be from sweet, tangy, or tart – it all depends on how it was made! The tea in kombucha can be black, green, white, rooibos, or jasmine (or a mixture of any of these).

How do I get started making my own kombucha?
The fermentation of sweet tea happens due to the presence of a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast). It is flat, beige-brown, and feels a bit rubbery. It takes on the shape of the container you use to brew kombucha. And it can have brown spot or marks on it and stringy bits hanging from it.

What’s the cost savings on making my own kombucha?
Generally speaking, you can find a 16 oz bottle of kombucha for about $3 at your local grocery store. I have seen GT’s kombucha at Aldi’s for just under $2 a bottle. Depending on the items you use (glass jar for fermenting, black tea and green tea, sugar, and glass jars/bottles to secondary ferment or flavor), it costs about $0.05 to $0.25 per 16 oz bottle to make your own kombucha. 

Why drink kombucha?
In addition to being a tasty drink, kombucha is said to contain vitamins, antioxidants, enzymes, and amino acids. Some say that all of their aches and pains go away when they drink it. Others drink it because their diet may be lacking in B vitamins. For me, it helps my digestive tract stay…regular, if you will.

Is it safe to make your own kombucha at home?
Yes! While I am a trained scientist, you don’t need laboratory equipment or fancy tools to make kombucha. You definitely do not need to be a scientist to make kombucha. The only necessity is that you need to make sure that your equipment and your hands are clean. Simple enough! Here’s a link to the recipe I use at home.

How do I know that I’ve converted tea into kombucha?
If your tea ferments even a teeny-tiny bit, then you’ve done it! You’ve turned tea into kombucha. There should be bubbles. The drink should smell vinegary. Your SCOBY will have generated a new layer. A SCOBY really is the gift that keeps on giving!
Your kombucha should NOT smell musty or moldy. If you see green or black mold growing on the surface of the SCOBY or if the tea smells anything but a bit vinegary, discard the SCOBY and the batch of kombucha. And just start over again with fresh ingredients. 

How can I flavor my kombucha?
You can use herbal teas, juice (no more than 1/5 of the total volume), fruit, fruit puree, herbs, and spices. Keith recommended the following: mint, strawberries, peaches, blackberries, pomegranate, hibiscus, ginger, turmeric, lime, lemon, basil, or combinations. You can see my past and current favorite flavors here.

I’ve heard of bottles of kombucha exploding. Is making kombucha at home a safe activity? Will my home-brewed bottle of kombucha explode?
Rest assured, I have never had a jar of kombucha explode. I’ve been ‘bootching (making homemade kombucha) since September 2017. The reasons that jar could explode is if there is too much pressure in the bottle due to too much carbonation. Unless completely left unattended for weeks at room temperature, I do not expect bottles of homemade kombucha to explode.

I like my kombucha to be fizzy. How do I carbonate my kombucha?
Once you have brewed a batch of kombucha, place it in a mason jar or glass bottle. Add any flavorings that you choose, along with a little bit (~1/2 tsp) of sugar (or honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup) and then put on the cap. Gently invert the bottle a few times to dissolve the sugar. Leave bottled kombucha out at room temperature for up to 7 days, depending on your desired level of carbonation. The residual SCOBY in the kombucha will feed on the sugar giving you carbonation. Transfer to the refrigerator to cool before drinking. Be careful when opening as contents are under pressure.

I’m concerned about the sugar content in DIY kombucha? 
The SCOBY converts sugar into carbon dioxide and probiotics. The longer you leave your tea to ferment, the less the sugar content in the overall product. However, the longer you ferment your kombucha equates to more tangy or vinegary tasting kombucha.

As always, shoot me a comment if you have any other questions. And happy fermenting!
Jen

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