5 Common Kombucha Mistakes
In my last kombucha post I have talked about three common mistakes: temperature, timing and the quality of tea. In this post I will talk about 5 common kombucha mistakes that beginners are prone to make.
1. Sugar is incredibly important when it comes to brewing kombucha, without sugar the scoby has nothing to eat. I mainly use white sugar, as it is easily digested by the yeast and bacteria. Both white cane sugar and organic cane juice crystals are perfect for kombucha. Brown, raw or whole cane sugars may cause damange to the scoby on the long term. I personally like to switch between white cane sugar, maple syrup and coconut palm sugar. Sometimes I feel like I add to much sugar to my brew, but by the time the kombucha is ready to drink most of the sugar has been consumed by the bacteria. It is important to use as much sugar as the recipe requires.
2. Cross contamination is deadly to the scoby. When handling the scoby it is important to keep any bad bacteria away, as it could cause mold on the scoby. The utensils should be free of soap residue and rinsed with hot water prior. It is also possible to add a little vinegar to the cleaning process. However rinsing the scoby before adding it to a new batch is not suggested, because it removes important microbes. If there is any mold on the scoby, the whole batch has to be thrown out. It is also important to clean the jar properly to remove all mold.
3. Using the wrong container or materials may also kill the scoby. The perfect brewing container should either be made of glass or ceramic with with a wide opening. There are suitable mason jars and larger containers sold at Ace. Plastic or metal containers are not suitable, the plastic leaches toxins and bad flavours into the kombucha and the metal is bad for the scoby.
4. The wrong cover could attract insects. The first fermentation needs to be able to breathe and should never covered with an airtight lid. Instead of a cheesecloth it is best to cover the f1 with a cloth cover, cotton napkin or coffee filter and a rubber band. The weave on cheesecloths is too lose and will not protect the brew from flies and bacteria. Fruit flies love the smell of vinegar, so kobucha can actually be used as a fly trap.
5. The quality of the water used is very important to become successful at kombucha brewing. There are four different types of water, mineral water, spring water, tap water and table water (distilled water). Scobys do not like water that was treated with chemicals. The chemicals used to keep the water sterile also kills the bacteria and yeast in kombucha, so the quality of the brews slowly declines. Tap water can also either be too soft, meaning it contains very low amounts of mineral or too hard containing high amounts. I personally prefer to only use chlorine and fluoride free water. I like using spring water which is high in minerals. For everyone living in UAE I recommend Lilbata spring water which I order from gourmetstreet21.