Here are some frequently asked questions about brewing kombucha and my responses.
Q: How do I know if my SCOBY has mould?
A: I think of mould as being upright and generally dark in colour. There's something that makes your gut sink when your SCOBY has mould which also helps the decision to throw the whole lot out and start again a little bit easier, as this is your second brain communicating.
Q: I've followed the recipe and yet my brew is still sweet. Should I bottle it or wait for the sweetness to disappear?
A: Always wait for the sweetness to disappear - this is a true indication of the wild yeast and bacteria having completed their tasks and chomped down on all of the sugars.
Q: My SCOBY sunk to the bottom of the jar. Will it still ferment?
A: YES - SCOBYs are living organisms and depending on what's happening in your environment, how much work it's been doing, whether your environment has been able to achieve the perfect fermenting conditions, how old it is, the type of sugar, tea and water you've used will ALL contribute to SCOBY activity. Don't despair - I've had some delicious brews from a sunken SCOBY.
Q: My Kombucha is sour. Should I tip it out and start again?
A: If your first ferment is sour don't despair - you've just managed to make some Kombucha vinegar. This is a fantastic digestive tonic similar to Apple Cider Vinegar. Take it in smaller doses with a bit of water added to; use it for household cleaning; add it to dishes that call for vinegar; use in in bone broth, pancakes etc.
Q: Why doesn't my Kombucha have any fizz?
A: Again, refer to answer for sunken SCOBYs - there are lots of factors at play here. I find green tea blended with rooibos tea produces a finer type of sparkly fizz than straight black tea. Also, it depends on what you add or don't add to the second ferment. Fruit/fruit juice adds a real kick, as does ginger and turmeric. Berries can also add extra bubbles but be careful with all second ferments and be sure to burp your booch!