Homebrewing Kombucha Update:
... Learning from Misinformation?
So it’s been a minute since I’ve talked about my kombucha quest. I made a few batches since then, but two batches ago, I had an issue and had to completely dump a batch and get rid of my original two scobies.
I had an issue with mold. And I wasn’t about to drink moldy kombucha. Ew.
After doing a little research, I found that mold is supposed to be a rare issue. The pH of the kombucha is supposed to ward off mold growth. But it can happen. The things they tell you to check is that the water is filtered, that the starter kombucha was plain and without fruit, that the hardware used to make everything was clean and that you used vinegar and not antibacterial products to clean it, and that there was adequate air flow around the fermenting jar.
All of that checked out. But I wondered about the air flow thing. I used the piece of muslin cloth that came with the kit, rubber-banded on the edge. Muslin is not very breathable. So I bought a new scoby and tried with a scrap piece of chiffon for my last batch, which became drinkable the other day.
When I bottled the kombucha, I noticed a few things that weren’t the case before. The scent of the kombucha was strong, tangy, and flavorful. It didn’t really have a scent before. There was a new, peelable scoby on the top that was an organized-looking disc. Before, I was seeing a bunch of slimy strands that I had to filter out instead of a baby scoby. I read that this was normal, but this new batch had nothing to filter out. It was definitely cleaner.
The color was almost a bright orange, not a dank brown. And ZERO mold on the top.
And lastly, which made me super excited, I had carbonation. YES!! Even before bottling, looking in the open jar, there were bubbles and light fizz. I’d NEVER seen that before. So the batch got bottled with a couple teaspoons of grape juice as fake wine. Because I’ve been bad about the not drinking thing lately.
I tried it the other day and holy wow! It was SOOOOOOO good. And I had the perfect amount of carbonation. I already started another batch, which by the way, each batch of 6+ bottles costs me under a dollar to make. I need some white grape juice to bottle with, but I think the next one is going to be apple. I look forward to when the cider mill opens and I can make kombucha with the best cider ever.
So the takeaway is, when making kombucha, use a very breathable fabric to put over the top. Such a small change makes all the difference.
I started the next batch already on Sunday, so in about 8 or 9 days, I'll have apple kombucha ready.Check out that color! And our latest foster, Bucky, is photobombing.