* 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, February 7, 2011

Keeping the Kombucha Brew Warm

It's been a pretty cold and snowy winter this year in Boston, and because the house that I'm currently living in is on the chilly side, I finally decided to purchase a seedling mat for my brew!

Ideally, kombucha brews at around 74 - 84 degrees F. According to Happy Herbalist, the warmer temperatures produce a "faster more consistent ferment while the lower temperatures produce a less harsh more mellow taste though more inconsistent and with a greater susceptibility to molds and pathogens forming. Kombucha brewing seems to work better in the summer than in the winter months."

I agree that kombucha brewing works much better during the summer months than in the winter. So to keep my kombucha warm, I purchased this seedling mat from Amazon. The mat, which you plug into an electric outlet, is supposed to warm the area about 10-20 degrees F above ambient temperature. Although the kombucha and SCOBYs still don't seem to be as happy as they typically are during the summer, the seedling mat has definitely helped!

Other ideas to keep your kombucha warm:
  • Brewing your kombucha in a warm (but undisturbed) location, such as in a kitchen cupboard
  • Brewing the kombucha in a cabinet with a light bulb (as recommended by Happy Herbalist)
  • Using a heating pad

What do you do to keep your kombucha warm?


Mylar said...

I use the same seedling heating mat along with the Hydrofarm MTPRTC Digital Thermostat set at 79 degrees F. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000NZZG3S/ref=oss_product
For the most part the mat works well. The only issue I have is the low 17 watt output. When I am not home I like to turn off the heat and the ambient temp drops to about 59 degrees F. This drops my kombucha ferment down from the 77-79 range to the 72-75 range.

Annabelle Ho said...

Thanks Mylar for the comment! I didn't realize that there is a thermostat that can be connected with the mat- I may need to try it!

Ryan said...

I see that there is a special year round heating system specifically for kombucha here


Annabelle Ho said...

Interesting, I hadn't seen that before!

Pamela- said...

i haven't started yet, BUT i remember watching manic organic on i think it was the food network- he started his seedlings on top of the fridge, because it gets warm up there ;) just food for thought!

Annabelle Ho said...

Thanks for the tip Pamela!

Matt said...

Hey that's AWESOME. I'm in the South though. Do you know of anything that slightly cools lol? It get's a bit hot down here, upwards of 100 degrees and I like to brew in my unheated garage. Thanks!!! Absolutely love the page btw!

Annabelle Ho said...

Hey Matt,

Thanks for the comment, and glad you like the page! Also, my apologies for the delayed reply. I posted your question about keeping the brew cool on Facebook and here were some suggestions from other brewers:

-Buy a mini-fridge and put it on low, and brew in it
-Brew the kombucha in the lower floors of the house/basement since heat rises
-Fans help/help with air circulation (such as a ceiling fan)
-Air conditioning
-Don't change anything except for shortening the brewing time

Hope this helps, and if you have any other tips we'd love to hear them!

Anonymous said...

To keep your Kombucha cool, put the fermenter in a larger tub with room for cold water and a frozen water bottle. freeze a second water bottle and keep switching them every 12 hours.

Inexpensive bicycle water bottles would work for this.

Unknown said...

Might be a dumb question, but do you set the jug on the mat or wrap the mat around? I have one of these for my veggie seeds and would love not to have to buy another one! (like they sell specifically for kombucha)

Annabelle Ho said...

Hi Dawn,

I just set the jug on the mat. Try it out and see if it works for you! Wrapping the mat around the brew sounds like a good idea, though. That may be something worth trying if you have a time when you are not using the seedling mat for your vegetable seeds.

Anonymous said...

I live in a 230 year old house on top of a mountain in New England that is dag cold except for about 6 weeks in the summer. I'd love to make Kombucha but even with a seedling mat, I think it would be too cold.

Could I make it in a crockpot set to "warm"? Or what about in a water bath in the same crockpot? Maybe if I make a "kombucha cozy?" I also thought about a yogurt maker - particularly the large 1 quart ones.

Ideas/suggestions for kombucha and kefirs in frigid climates that are relatively green/low electricity? I don't have kitchen cabinets that aren't on north facing (freezing) walls.


Annabelle Ho said...


Thanks for your comment. I'm sorry, but I'm not sure of other ideas on how to keep ferments warm, besides what has already been suggested. Perhaps you could check the temperature with a thermometer if you try brewing with a crockpot, water bath in a crockpot, or a yogurt maker, to see if the temperature is in the right range. Maybe putting blankets around the brews would help, in addition to some of the other above suggestions? Best of luck!