Making Kombucha is really simple!
The basic recipe is sweet tea (make sure you cool it first!) with 5% sugar and 10% kombucha starter. The starter is basically what’s in your can. Our can-conditioned (TM!) kombucha is raw and alive and you can use it to grow your own S.C.O.B.Y. (see below for and explanation of this mysterious acronym!) If you get stuck, ask Chat GPT in the first instance, (https://chat.openai.com/) but please feel free to message me on instagram @naniasvineyard (not e-mail please).
I’m not going to offer any advice on bottling or canning except to offer a warning BE VERY CAREFUL WITH GLASS BOTTLES (and to a lesser extent cans). They can EXPLODE, you have been warned! DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH and experiment A LOT! If in doubt buy some PROPER champagne bottles from a reputable source and a crown capper, you can still explode these if you add enough sugar so please BE CAREFUL! It’s beyond the scope of this article to go into this aspect of kombucha production and I don’t want to get sued to it’s at your OWN RISK! If that hasn’t scared you off please read on!
How to brew Kombucha from a Nania’s can
A note on TEA. Experiment! There is as many teas as there are grape varieties and the world of tea is as complex and varied as the world of wine. Buy loose leaf tea if you can from a reputable source. We use the rare tea company in London because their tea tastes amazing and is ethically sourced, farmed and traded.
I recommend making an experimental batch first. As the canned kombucha you have just bought has been refrigerated, the microbes might be a little sleepy so it might take a few generations (a few batches) to get a strong culture going. So to get you started, try and make a little over 1L of kombucha, this should get you going and provides 1L of kombucha to drink. But don’t drink it all as you’ll need some of it it to make more kombucha (or you can always buy more cans to start another batch!)
Firstly make a sweet tea using 50g of sugar, let it cool down to around 24° C. Add 10-20% of Nania’s Kombucha. Leave it in a large glass jar (ideally with a big opening) and place a tea towel over it with a rubber band around the lid. This enables oxygen to circulate which is crucial for our microbial colleagues. A week or so later, you should have grown a Scoby of your own! Do everything on taste, if you like it drink it! Once you have a strong culture going you need to decide if you want to batch brew, and bottle or can the kombucha, or make a continuous brew that you draw off, drink, then regularly replenish. I outline the benefits and draw backs of both at the bottom of this article.
Either way have fun and share the love #microbesforthemasses @naniasvineyard
Good luck and all the best,
Founder and head brewer at Nania’s xx
Whats in a SCOBY?
So what really is a S.C.O.B.Y? Well it’s an acronym. Both “symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast” and “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast” are correct wordings, and they are often used interchangeably. The choice between “colony” and “culture” may depend on the context and personal preference.
The term “colony” emphasises the idea of a group of organisms living together in a specific area, while “culture” emphasises the cultivation or growth of microorganisms. In the case of a SCOBY, both aspects are relevant—it’s a community of bacteria and yeast working together, and it’s cultivated for the purpose of fermentation. So, you could say both are correct, and it’s more about the nuance you want to convey. Some people might prefer one term over the other based on the emphasis they want to place on the collaborative community aspect versus the cultivated and intentional growth aspect. Either way these microbes are our friends and have been proven to be very good for us if ingested regularly and in a diverse way.
Difference between Batch brewing and Continuous brewing
Both batch brew and continuous brew methods have their own set of benefits and drawbacks when it comes to making Kombucha.
Batch Brew Method:
- Control: You have more control over the flavour and strength of each batch since you can taste and monitor the fermentation process closely.
- Variety: You can experiment with different flavours and ingredients in each batch, allowing for more variety in your Kombucha.
- Scaling: It’s easier to scale up or down the production based on your needs. You can make smaller or larger batches depending on your preferences.
- Time-Consuming: Each batch requires more hands-on time as you need to monitor and bottle each one separately.
- Inconsistency: There might be variations in taste between batches due to differences in fermentation time or conditions.
Continuous Brew Method:
- Efficiency: Once set up, it requires less hands-on time. You can continuously draw of finished Kombucha while replenishing the vessel with fresh tea, streamlining the process.
- Consistency: The continuous brew method often leads to more consistent flavour since the culture is not disturbed with each batch.
- Less Equipment: You might need less equipment since you don’t have to keep buying new vessels for each batch.
- Limited Variety: It might be challenging to experiment with different flavours as the continuous brew vessel is a consistent environment.
- Risk of Contamination: With the continuous method, if contamination occurs, it can affect the entire batch more easily than in individual batches.
Ultimately, the choice between batch brew and continuous brew depends on your preferences, the time you can commit, and your desire for experimentation and control.