Kombucha is a source of probiotics and antioxidants that can reduce the risk of heart disease and allegedly even lower the risk of cancer. No wonder it has become one of today's most popular healthy drinks. The downside: if mistakes are made during the Kombucha brewing process, the drink not only loses its promised health benefits but can also harm it.
Making Scoby Kombucha
One of the main drivers of the rapidly growing popularity of Kombucha is the fact that it can be made at home. Once you get the hang of it, the process is relatively straightforward and does not require much effort.
Kombucha lovers started preparing the drink in the comfort of their own homes years ago. SCOBY (a symbiotic growth of acetic acid bacteria and osmophilic yeast species) made their way into small kitchens and conquered dark corners of pantries.
However, shortly after the hip drink arrived, a setback occurred and the shallow doubts about the alleged health benefits developed into serious concerns about the drinkability of homemade Kombucha.
In conventional fermentation vessels, mold formed and dangerous bacteria contaminated the drink during bottling. Due to these practices, homemade Kombucha gained a rather poor reputation.
MANY MISTAKES ARE MADE BETWEEN THE PRIMARY AND SECONDARY FERMENTATION WHEN MAKING KOMBUCHA
Kombucha has two stages of fermentation. The first fermentation is the basic process in which tea is fermented for about two weeks to make Kombucha. The second Kombucha fermentation comes into play to carbonate the drink and achieve the desired taste. This step begins with the addition of fruit and sugar, followed by bottling.
Bottling Kombucha comes with some hurdles. The following article provides information on the most common mistakes made during Kombucha brewing and tips and tricks for successfully performing a second Kombucha fermentation.
UNEVEN AMOUNTS OF FRUIT AND SUGAR DURING BOTTLING After adding fruit and sugar to Kombucha, everything should be stirred and thoroughly mixed. To produce a consistently tasting amount of Kombucha, the amount of fruit and sugar added to each bottle must match consistently. However, during bottling, the mixture inevitably contains varying amounts of sugar and fruit in each bottle. It is challenging to ensure the exact same amount is added to each bottle. If different amounts of sugar and fruit are added to each bottle, the contents ferment at varying speeds and intensities, resulting in an uneven set of bottles. Using fruit puree instead of chopped fruit makes it easier to distribute the fruit evenly in the liquid
UNINTENTIONAL CONTAMINATION DURING KOMBUCHA BREWING Fermentation is the chemical transformation of materials using bacteria and enzymes. While some bacteria are necessary for brewing Kombucha, not all types are welcome. Using vessels that are not airtight and disinfected can allow bacteria to enter. Drinking contaminated Kombucha can cause side effects such as stomach problems, yeast infections, and even allergic reactions. Unintentional contamination is the main reason for a batch tasting bad and spoiling. It is essential to prioritize the cleanliness of the vessels and disinfect the bottles inside and out before bottling.
USING UNSUITABLE CONTAINERS The vessel used for Kombucha fermentation must be food-grade and non-reactive. Using containers made of materials such as metal or plastic can be dangerous as they can leach chemicals into the drink, affecting the taste and quality. Glass is the most commonly used material for Kombucha brewing as it is inert and does not react with the drink.
Underestimation and overestimation of fermentation times
After the initial fermentation, which typically lasts between 7 and 12 days, the mass of kombucha is fermented at room temperature, which takes between 2 and 4 days. Once the desired carbonation level is achieved, they are chilled to prevent further fermentation. Although kombucha is a fermented beverage, contrary to popular belief, it cannot be stored at room temperature. Over-fermentation can lead to the vessel breaking. However, if it is not fermented long enough, the result is tasteless and lacks sufficient carbonation. How long it needs to be fermented depends on how much fruit and sugar has been added and the ambient temperature. More sugar, fruit purees, and higher temperatures usually accelerate the second kombucha fermentation process.
The safest way to avoid mistakes is to use a pressure-resistant kombucha brewing vessel like the Fermenter King Junior. This allows you to brew larger quantities (up to 18L). When using a Fermenter King Junior, the gas from the first fermentation is used in the second kombucha fermentation. You save time and effort as the secondary fermentation is completed faster. The pressure valve on the airtight container helps to maintain or release the desired pressure. The Fermenter King Junior also allows you to add an external CO2 source. If your result does not reach the desired carbonation level naturally, you can adjust the intensity of carbonation long after the completion of the second fermentation cycle by adding CO2 and a regulator.
The end product tastes more consistent because all the ingredients used are evenly distributed in the vessel during the entire flavoring process. With the pressure-resistant fermentation system, you can brew kombucha without worrying about broken glass and bursting containers.
With simple tap systems, the finished beverage can be poured directly from the container into a glass, ready to enjoy. Bottling is unnecessary. However, with an all-in-one fermentation system, you not only save time and effort, but our Fermenter King Junior also eliminates the possibility of contamination with bacteria and leads to a clean, uniformly tasting end product that is absolutely safe to consume.
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