Have questions about our Kombucha Cultures? Find answers to some of the most asked questions about this live culture:
Kombucha is tea that has been fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). This culture is thought to have its origins in Manchuria (northern China) and is now consumed worldwide.
Typically, kombucha is made using tea, sugar, and of course the live SCOBY.
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A SCOBY is the cellulosic mass that forms on the top of brewing kombucha and is referred to as the SCOBY, but in truth, this acronym is simply derived from the description of the active culture, aka. the “Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast”.
Testing the pH at the beginning of your brew is always a good idea and you should aim to start at 4.5 or below to help protect your kombucha from mold and ensure it progresses properly right from the start.
The very best method is to test your brew at day 1 and again at day 7.
Finished kombucha can have a pH anywhere from 2.5-3.5 depending on the stage of the brew.
While there are several types of bacteria and yeast that are necessary for a SCOBY to exist, each culture will differ in its composition of microorganisms – they are not identical.
Yes, a single purchase of our cultures can provide you with a lifetimes supply of kombucha.
You can use just about any tea for making kombucha and the taste will vary depending on your choice. Regular black tea is the most common tea used for making kombucha.
We prefer organic cane sugar. It is completely fermentable and produces a drink with a better taste and higher content of healthy organic acids than other types of sugar. Brown sugar is less popular because it contains molasses and produces tea with stronger vinegary taste and darker cloudy color. Regular granulated sugar also works well.
Some good signs to look out for are the development of strands of brown yeast floating about in the mixture and the development of a new kombucha scoby (baby scoby) close to the top of the jar.
Allow to culture at room temperature, 20 – 25°C is perfect for approx 7-14 days.
The kombucha is generally ready when it obtains a semi-sweet cider taste, a slight vinegar aroma and is fizzy. Usually it takes about 7 days depending on temperature.
Temperature is probably the biggest culprit for stalling of growth. The microorganisms that do the fermentation have enzymes that only function properly at a certain temperature range, so it must be warm enough or they work very slowly. If the culture is too cold to grow it will go to sleep.
You are looking at long strands of yeast, this is perfectly normal and they are harmless, despite how they look. They are a natural byproduct of the fermentation process. You can strain them out of the finished kombucha if desired.
We recommend no longer than 7 days in the refrigerator as you will usually find the kombucha begins to turn into vinegar from there on out. Not really pleasant to drink but this can always be used as a starter tea if required!
Kombucha Scobys can either sink, be somewhere in the middle or rise to the top. It really doesn’t matter as long as it’s not moldy and otherwise looks healthy.
Yes, kombucha cultures do in fact multiply. Each time you brew a batch of kombucha tea a new starter culture will form. The original starter culture (aka “the mother”) and the new starter culture (aka “the baby”) can each be used to brew a new batch of kombucha tea.
Do not drink the kombucha! Throw it out and start your next batch with a new culture and follow the directions carefully.
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If you need to take a break for a few weeks for an upcoming holiday etc.. and you’re worried about what to do with your kombucha scoby, then follow the steps below:
Simply go ahead and place the scoby in a fresh mixture of tea, sugar and water. Now cover the jar, just like you always do and place it in the refrigerator. Cold temperatures greatly slow the culturing process, so the refrigerator is a good place to store the scoby when a break is necessary.
The kombucha scoby will be absolutely fine for up to 5 weeks, although we don’t recommend drinking the kombucha when you return as the kombucha will be more like vinegar at this point. However, you can still use it as a starter tea if you like.
There you go!
Remember, like most live cultures, kombucha scobys can be temperamental and will take a while to master. These instructions should only serve as a guide and are a reflection of what works for us. After a while you are likely to find your own way and methods which is the beauty (and fun!) of working with kombucha.
When fermenting more than one live culture at home, we suggest a distance of at least 4 feet between the cultures at all times. This is to help stop cross contamination of the different cultures and is of particular importance when culturing dairy products. The only exception to this is when cultures are being stored in the refrigerator with tight-fitting lids.