Now that you’ve finished your first batch of kombucha, you are probably wondering what you should do with the drink. Since you only need to drink a small amount each day, you need to learn more about the right methods that should be used to store the drink.
A few common questions pop up at this point: what’s next? How do I store it? How long does it keep? What kind of containers should I be using? Here are a few things that you need to know about the proper storage of kombucha:
Many people like to use continuous brewing vessels because they make it easy to extract kombucha quickly and spill-free. Continuous brewing vessels are essentially a vessel with a spigot. If you make kombucha in a brewing vessel with a spigot you won't have to worry about lifting the entire vessel, dipping cups into your vessel, or using siphons.
The alternative to continuous brewing vessels are regular brewing vessels , or vessels that do not have a spigot. Regular brewing vessels are usually cheaper and work just as well as continuous brewing vessels. The only reason you might instead consider a continuous brewing vessel is that they allow for a cleaner, easier pour.
Once the fermentation is done you can drink straight from the brewing vessel or you can empty your brewing vessel's contents into smaller, more convenient containers. To transfer your kombucha into other containers: remove your two SCOBY's from the finished kombucha (read more on this process down below), pour your kombucha through a plastic strainer or a coffee filter to separate the tea from the bits of floating yeast(note: kombucha yeast is harmless, and only removed for aesthetics and consistency), and store your filtered kombucha in glass containers. I've found wine bottles, mason jars, beer bottles, and (my favorite) flip-top style beer bottles all work great.
If you don't have a continuous brewing vessel and you are worried about lifting and pouring your heavy brewing vessel, buy a siphon. Siphons are tubes that use suction to move liquid from one vessel to another without any spilling or having to lift heavy objects. I use the same siphon for my kombucha, beer, and mead brewing.
During the fermentaion process, it is beneficial to use a tight-weave dish towel, a tight-weave piece of fabric, or a coffee filter to cover your kombucha. The point of the tight-weave cover is to allow air into the vessel while simultaneously keeping bugs out. Using a completely airtight lid is a bad idea because it stops the airflow that is needed for good fermentation. The kombucha cannot ferment without access to air. Even though you should avoid an airtight container when the drink is fermenting, some people like an airtight lid when it is stored in the fridge in order to maintain the fizziness of the drink.
The fermentation process naturally releases CO2, and it is important to let that CO2 out of the storage containers if you're using an airtight lid. If you don’t let out the CO2, then the pressure could build up and it could potentially cause the container to explode. You can find specialty types of lids that are made for kombucha fermentation, or some people even use balloons as the lids because they can expand as the gas builds. A cheap and simple option is a Ziplock bag with a rubber bad that holds the bag around the mouth of the container.
There are pros and cons to various types of containers that can be used to store your kombucha, and the general consensus is that it is best to use glass bottles instead of plastic containers. Glass doesn’t react to the acidity of the drink, and it doesn’t have some of the common harmful chemicals that are often found in other materials. Stay away from:
Plastic: which often contains harmful BPA and other chemicals that can seep into the drink.
Ceramic: usually is coated in glaze that contains lead.
Crystal: another type of container that should be avoided because of the lead content.
Metal: most types of metal are very detrimental to the SCOBY of your kombucha. Some people have found that stainless steel is ok to use, but it is best to avoid metal all together.
If you are using a continuous brew system, then it is best to use a plastic spigot instead of a metal spigot, because the metal might react negatively with the SCOBY.
Once you have fermented your tea and separated the SCOBY, it is a good idea to refrigerate the SCOBY for safe keeping. The tea can be stored in a glass jar and put in the fridge until you drink it, and this refrigeration process is important to keep it from over-fermenting. If it isn’t stored in the fridge, then the drink will increase in acidity and become very vinegary because it continues to ferment.
When you separate the SCOBY from the tea, it is best to keep the SCOBY in a small glass container with about a cup of tea to keep it moist. Make sure that the liquid covers the SCOBY mass. Keep it in a closed container, and you can store the SCOBY in the fridge for quite a while. Just keep an eye on the liquid levels in the jar to ensure that the SCOBY doesn’t dry out.
The best practice is to ferment the tea according to the recipe, and then store the drink and the SCOBY separately in the fridge until you are ready to make another batch. Technically, kombucha doesn’t expire, although it is typically best to drink it within 3 months.
To protect the quality of your kombucha, you need to make sure that the bottles are properly cleaned before using them. Hygiene and sterilization is an important part of the kombucha fermenting process. The best way to sterilize the jars is by placing them in a pot of hot water so that the jars are completely submerged. Then, allow the jars to cool completely before you fill them with kombucha tea. Pouring the kombucha and/or SCOBY into a hot jar can actually kill the beneficial probiotics.
Once the kombucha is done and stored in the fridge, then you can enjoy it as often as you would like. Make sure that you drink it daily for the best health benefits.
In the beginning, it is always best to stick with the recipe until you are more familiar with the fermentation process. Once you have more experience, and you think that you are ready to adjust the flavor, then you can start experimenting with other methods to make your own custom tea, such as infusions and "second-fermentation."
You have now reached the end of The Ultimate Guide to Making Kombucha. You are well on your way to becoming a master of kombucha. If you are still thirsty for more free information about all things kombucha, click on this link or follow the link below to the blog. There you will find recipes, kombucha health information, how to make a SCOBY from scratch, and more. If you have any questions, concerns, or just want to say hi, please email me at email@example.com