* Please note that this blog remains up as a resource. However, this blog is currently on hiatus until further notice. For more information, please read this blog post. Thank you and happy kombucha brewing, drinking, and SCOBY trading! Lots of love. ~Annabelle *

Monday, May 11, 2009

Kombucha Workshops + the Continuous Brewing Method (Part I)

Sorry for the late recap, but last week final exams hit. Thankfully, all my finals are over and I'm very excited for summer!!!

I would first like to thank everyone who attended my workshop at the 2009 Boston Skillshare on April 19th! I was very impressed with the turnout, and you were a great audience! Although Keith Person was not able to hold his workshop, I was happy to be able to give out some mushrooms for him! Thanks, Keith!

I would also like to touch on the Continuous Brewing Method that I mentioned at the workshop.

The Continuous Brewing Method is an extremely easy way to ferment kombucha tea!

It involves drinking/drawing off 10-20% of your KT brew daily, and then replacing the amount that you drank with sweet tea (every day, every other day, or every three days) (1).

-Every time you add the sweet tea:
  • You want to stir the brew to mix the old ferment with the new sweet tea, so the bacteria/yeast are distributed throughout.
  • Stirring will bring in more oxygen that the bacteria need to do their job.
  • Because you are disturbing the tea every time by stirring, no new babies will form. This is not a problem at all, unless you were looking to have extra SCOBYs on hand or if you wanted to give some SCOBYs away. If this is the case, you may want to use the traditional brewing method.

As an example, one recipe of Sweet Tea would be:
  • 1 quart (aka 4 cups) water
  • 2-3 tea bags (or around 1 tsp. or 3-5 g of loose leaf tea)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (around 70 g)
Reminder: the key is to do everything proportionally. You can make more/less sweet tea, and store extra sweet tea in the fridge for a few days so that you won't need to brew it everyday.

Also, please remember that your sweet tea and your brew/mushroom need to be at the SAME TEMPERATURE! Otherwise, you will be increasing the risk of your SCOBY getting a mold infection.

For the continuous brewing method, you will need:
  • A beverage dispenser- Happy Herbalist suggests that the amount of KT you drink daily should be 10-20% the size of your container. One way to obtain a beverage dispensor for continuous brewing is from online, such as from Happy Herbalist and getkombucha.com.

Sample Directions
  1. Boil the water- not for too long, because the bacteria need the oxygen that's in the water.
  2. Add the tea- steep for ~15 minutes or follow the tea's specific brewing instructions.
  3. Remove the tea bags/tea leaves.
  4. Add the sugar and mix until it is all dissolved.
  5. Let the sweet tea cool down to room temperature (such as by leaving it overnight).
  6. Draw off 10-20% of the fermented kombucha tea from your brewing container, and then add the sweet tea (which should be around the same amount of tea that you drew off).
  7. Stir the fermented tea and the sweet tea.
  8. Continue repeating these directions each day! :)
What's great is that the continuous brewing method is really simple and easy! Because you are starting with ~80-90% kombucha tea and ~10-20% sweet tea (vs. the other way around), your ferment is ready within ~24 hours (vs. being ready within 6-14 days). And you don't need to be exact, either- you can skip/overdo some days!

In order not to make this an overwhelming post, I will talk about some advantages and disadvantages of the continuous brewing method tomorrow!

Thanks for visiting my blog, and please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions!

-Photo: http://www.happyherbalist.com/continuous_brewing.htm

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