Our 7 common mistakes when we first started

by Liang Cha

Many home brewers made mistakes when they started brewing their kombucha. If you are new to kombucha brewing, do read up on how to avoid the common mistakes. Below are our 7 mistakes when we first started:

Oversteeping our tea

We would add hot water to the black tea leaves and only remove the leaves after an hour or more. This gives the unpleasant bitterness in our final brew. Now we steep the black tea leaves for 10 mins only with boiling water.

Steeping tea at the wrong temperature

We tried to make our sweet tea with green and white tea leaves at boiling temperature and the tea turned out bitter. Temperature for seeping tea is absolutely crucial. If you are brewing green or white tea, brew around 80 degree.

Not stirring our kombucha

Usually yeast which are more volatile are at the bottle of the jar while bacteria at at the top near the scoby. It is important to give your 1st ferment a good stir before your 2nd fermentation to avoid getting flat bottles and extremely volatile bottles from the same batch of brew.

Not monitoring our brew during hotter days

When  temperature is high, the ferment tends to turn tart in a shorter period of time. Instead of the usual 5-8 days for the 1st fermentation, it can be pretty tart in 3-4 days. 

Note: We brew in Singapore which has an average temperature of 29 degrees.

Not leaving enough headspace

Heard of explosive brews and shattering glasses? To avoid these, leave sufficient headspace in your bottle for the carbon dioxide from your 2nd fermentation. We are fortunate enough to not shatter any glass bottles. If you are using sweet fruits like pineapple, mango and oranges for your 2nd fermentation, leave more allowance at the top. Some folks do burping (opening the bottle to release gases) at least once a day. For us, we usually don’t burp our bottles and instead we leave enough headspace and chill it before opening.

Using too much or too little starter tea

Too much starter tea makes your brew turns tart much quicker. If you don’t monitor it carefully, it might become a kombucha vinegar. Too little starter tea makes a weak brew or potentially allows harmful bacteria to strive. 

Adding the seeds and piths of citrus fruits

If you like your brew slightly bitter, you can add the seeds and piths of your citrus fruits during your 2nd fermentation. If you don’t like it, be gentle when you juice your citrus fruits. Overdoing it, releases the bitterness in the seeds and piths.