BY: Tariq Ibrahim
Kombucha brew fermenting

7 common rookie errors to avoid when brewing kombucha

When making kombucha for the first time, beginners may encounter some common errors. Here are a few to be aware of and tips to avoid them:

  1. Insufficient Sanitation: Failing to properly sanitize your equipment and brewing vessel can lead to contamination. Make sure to clean all utensils, jars, and brewing vessels with hot water and mild soap or use a sanitizing solution before starting the process.
  2. Inconsistent Temperature: Temperature plays a crucial role in fermentation. Fluctuations outside the recommended range can impact the fermentation process. Maintain a consistent temperature within the optimal range (68°F to 78°F or 20°C to 26°C) throughout the brewing process.
  3. Under or Over Fermentation: Timing the fermentation process is important. Under-fermentation may result in a sweet-tasting kombucha, while over-fermentation can lead to excessive sourness. Taste-test your kombucha regularly, starting from around day 7, to find the desired balance of flavors.
  4. Improper SCOBY Handling: Mishandling the SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) can introduce contaminants or damage the culture. Always clean your hands and use clean utensils when handling the SCOBY, and avoid exposing it to excessive heat or cold.
  5. Insufficient Starter Liquid: Starter liquid, which is the previously fermented kombucha, is crucial for starting a new batch. Using an inadequate amount of starter liquid may result in a slower fermentation process or leave the batch vulnerable to contamination. Ensure you have a sufficient amount of starter liquid, typically around 10-20% of the total brew volume.
  6. Overfilling the Brewing Vessel: Leaving too little headspace in the brewing vessel can cause overflow during fermentation. Leave at least a couple of inches of headspace to accommodate the growth of the SCOBY and the release of carbon dioxide.
  7. Neglecting pH Monitoring: pH is an essential parameter to monitor during fermentation. Neglecting to monitor the pH can lead to imbalances and compromised quality. Regularly check the pH using pH strips or a pH tester to ensure it remains within the optimal range (around 3.0 to 3.5).

Honestly, I have done all of these things more than once, but hopefully they can help you to avoid a disaster and strut like you really know what you are doing on those first few tricky brews!

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