Organic kombucha starter: Most asked questions about home brewing

Since we introduced the Organic Kombucha Starter in our webshop and in Ekoplaza supermarkets we received lots of questions about the kombucha brewing process. As we once started as home brewers ourselves, we would love to help you with the process

At YAYA Kombucha we loved seeing you start the amazing process of home brewing your own kombucha with our organic kombucha starter. With this Q&A the most common bottlenecks for home brewing will be explained with handy tips. We are happy to share our long-time experience and expertise of brewing kombucha with you!

Is fermenting tea safe? Is kombucha brewing at home safe?

The YAYA Kombucha brewery recently got FSSC 22000 (ISO) certified, which means the production is done according to strict quality requirements for food production. If you work with clean materials and the right ratio in ingredients you can ferment the tea safely at home too!

A few days into brewing my kombucha is showing a pellicle on top of the brew. Is it still safe to drink?

The ingredients for kombucha brewing are: tea, sugar and the kombucha culture, which consists of the starter liquid and a SCOBY. The SCOBY a live Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. When the SCOBY is fermenting in the right way it will grow, and sometimes form a layer on top of your brew. Homebrewers often doubt a type of mold is growing on their brew, which is often not the case. Only if the spots look dry and/or ‘hairy’, with colors variating from white to green, we advise you to get rid of the whole batch. 

My SCOBY is not floating on top of my brew, is this a problem?

Not at all! Your SCOBY is a living culture, so it is able to move around. Just like forming a pellicle, the sinking of the SCOBY will not affect your brew. Taste the kombucha after 7 to 10 days and bottle it when you like the sweet-sour ratio.

How long does brewing kombucha take? How will I know when my batch is done?

The duration of the fermentation process depends on the temperature of the batch. You are the one who decides if the batch is done, depending on the sweet and sour balance you want! With a longer fermentation time the kombucha will develop a more sour flavor. 

Kombucha brewing can be explained in two steps; the first and the (optional) second fermentation. In the first fermentation the sweet tea is transformed in kombucha, this will take around 7 to 10 days. During these days you can taste, to estimate if the sweet and sour make a nice balance. The second fermentation is to make the kombucha sparkling and you will have the option to add flavors. Flavoring can be done with all kinds of fruits, spices and herbs. The second fermentation usually takes about 3 to 5 days, until the sparkling ready to drink kombucha can be stored in the fridge.

How do the CO2 bubbles develop in my kombucha brew?

After bottling your kombucha the second fermentation will develop carbon dioxide. During the second fermentation the yeast will form CO2 with the sugars in the kombucha. The sugars are in the kombucha from the first fermentation, or because you added sugars or fruits. If you want your kombucha to be more sparkling, you can try adding about a tablespoon of sugar (or honey, or fruit juice etc.)

Can I make a new batch with the same SCOBY?

Yes! At our YAYA Kombucha brewery we also reuse our SCOBY. To do so you need to save 100ml of the kombucha from the first fermentation with the SCOBY (possibly also the newly formed SCOBY). This liquid with the SCOBY can be used over and over to start the first fermentation again.

How do I start brewing kombucha at home?

With the YAYA Organic Kombucha Starter! The starter contains high quality starters liquid and a healthy SCOBY, enough to start brewing 1 Liter of kombucha.