Taking A Break From Culturing Mushroom Tea Brewing
From time to time, the home brewer of KT may wish to take a break from the process
of mushroom tea culturing. There areseveral methods one may use for short term storage of the mushroom culture. If the time frame for stopping production is a week to a month then the process isas simple as making up a fresh batch of tea/sugar solution and leaving the
batch to sit in a cool place.
The temperature should be a little lower than optimal to slowdown the culturing process, yet not too much, to make the culture go into a dormant state.
Upon return or desire to restart production cycle, simply make fresh kombucha tea
solution as per directions. The tea that is a couple of weeks old may be too strong with vinegar to be drinkable; however, it should start a new batch easily. Make sure to check and adjust the pH when breaking the brewing cycle.
If the time frame is between a month or two, then follow this process…
Make a fresh batch of tea solution and start a new batch, as normal, 2 to 3 days before departure or ending the brewing production. After the third day, place whole brewing container into the refrigerator and leave until return. Use a lid or covering that will not allow for excessive evaporation, say a loose fitting lid or covering part of the opening with plastic wrap. Storing the KT in the refrigerator will slow down, but not stop, the culturing/brewing process. After returning to brewing production, the SCOBY cultures may need a cycle or two to completely return from their dormant state.
Though suggested by some authors on kombucha, one may freeze the mushroom cultures and return to them when ready. We do not recommend freezing the cultures, as this puts great strain on the bacteria and yeast colonies, destroying many cell walls and in turn reducing the amount of active cultures present. Better, the have a friend maintain the mushroom cultures in your abstinence or obtain a new culture from a quality source, like organic-kombucha.com or organic-cultures.com when ready to begin brewing kombucha tea again.
Since one can regulate the temperature of the brewing process, extending the length of time needed for culturing. Example would be storing the brewing jars in a dry cool place to slow the process when traveling. In most cases, simply discarding the old tea below 4.5 pH upon return, and starting a new batch is all that is needed to restart your production of your very own raw kombucha tea beverage.
“Hi, I’m new to making Kombucha and I have a concern about bottling KT after the second ferment. I have read on many sites that there’s a chance the bottle can explode from carbonation buildup and that …I should be very careful. So how do I be very careful? Moreover, is that really a concern? I see on your site that you do not mention it when explaining how to bottle KT. Is that only a concern after the second ferment?”
To Answer Your Question…
Bottling is the best way to extend the shelf life of the kombucha beverage. There is a concern with excessive buildup of carbonation when bottling. Below are some steps to follow when doing the secondary fermentation:
1. Do NOT add extra sugar or juice when bottling. This adds raw sugar source which the yeasts will turn into carbonation & alcohol)
2. Use quality bottles such as Grolsch style beer bottle (Grolsch or standard beer bottles are designed to hold extra pressure)
3. Leave a 5% head space when filling each bottle and the pH is below 4.5
(In the beverage industry, this amount is required by the FDA)
4. Just to make sure all is safe, keep your bottles in a cardboard or plastic box to keep glass and liquid from going every where Following these easy steps will assist you in your secondary bottling process. Please comment below with any other questions or a tip you may have to share.
Having not brewed kombucha tea before, many people ask us what the kombucha mushroom looks like as it is brewing, with many of the questions pertaining to the miss identification of mold. In the photos below are signs to look for to know if the kombucha is viable and growing correctly.
The following photos, we hope, will assist you in brewing your first batch of this wonderful probiotic cultured health tonic. The cultures used in the photos are grown with organic sugar and tea, and are kept at an average of 80 degrees F. Correct temperature plays one of the biggest role in successful Kombu Cha brewing! Below are step-by-step photos:
Kombucha at 2-3 Days Click on any photo to enlarge
When cultured at 80 deg F, we see signs of growth on the second to third day. Signs of a thin translucent film or jelly-like layer appear on top of the tea solution. An important reason not to disturb the growing mushroom cultures.
Kombucha at 3-5 Days Click on any photo to enlarge
By the end of the third day and
the next few days the kombucha mushroom will start to thicken and turn from translucent to a cream coloured mass. Notice in the photo how parts of the culture are thicker in spots than in others.
Kombucha Tea at 5-8 Days Click on any photo to enlarge
As the brewing cycle passes the half way point, the mushroom culture continues to thicken.
Notice the carbonic acid bubbles forming under the culture or S.C.O.B.Y. – symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast
Kombucha Tea at 7 to 14 Days Click on any photo to enlarge
The kombucha tea brewing cycle is completed. The culture has formed completely and the tea is now ready to test for drinking and bottling. Low temperature may increase brewing time. The pH should read
very close to 3.0 pH
Close-up of Gases Build Up Click on any photo to enlarge
Here is a close-up of gases and CO2 production. This is a good sign early on that conditions are prime for the kombucha. With just a few days growth we have a nice layer forming and the gases indicate that the yeast and actively converting sugars.
Mushroom Brewing Complete Click on any photo to enlarge
A side view of the kombucha culture growing in a gallon size container. The mushroom is 1/4 inch thick and is very nice cream colour. This tea brewed at a slower yeast conversion rate meaning less bubbles and a more uniform mushroom. Notice the writing on the side, always date each batch of tea.
A kombucha brewing cycle on average takes from 7 to 14 days, however, it can take up to 30 days if the temperature is low. In the colder months, a external heating source may be needed to keep the proper temperature. IN the colder months keeping the pH balance correct will help prevent mold growth. For more information on home food culturing, recipes, and finding the starter cultures you need visit our main site or store. Next week we’ll be talking about kombucha mushroom and pH balance.
Happy Brewing & Culturing!