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CHANGING AUSTRALIAS DRINKING CULTURE

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KOMBUCHA BREWING FAQ

KOMBUCHA + SCOBY BASICS

A. Kombucha is a fermented beverage made using tea and a kombucha starter culture (mushroom, mother, scoby, etc.), tea prepared with sugar, vinegar and some kombucha tea from a previous batch (starter tea). Kombucha contains several vitamins, particularly B vitamins.

Find Our Kits Here

A. Kombucha tea has a rich, earthy flavour, which can vary greatly depending on the length of time it ferments, 7-30+ days.

Think of it like eating yoghurt that can be kept on the shelf. To remove or destroy all of the microorganisms that make your fermented beverage alive, defeats the purpose.

  • For a mild flavour, brew the kombucha for a shorter time.
  • For a bolder, more vinegary flavour, brew the kombucha for a longer time

A. Our kombucha scoby culture kits are grown and packaged in a licensed commercial food processing facility using filtered water, organic sugar, and organic black tea.

A. No, our kombucha cultures only contain organic black tea, organic sugar, and filtered water.

A. Yes, with proper care kombucha cultures can be reused many times. The cultures will multiply, and as a practical matter - you can recycle or compost older cultures after a few months.

MAKING HOMEMADE KOMBUCHA

A. Yes, experimenting with the type of tea, fermentation time, and flavour additives (fruit, juice, ginger, etc.) you can invent your own kombucha tea flavours, or you can try to replicate a commercial flavour. Learn more about Flavouring and Bottling Kombucha here.

A. Making kombucha doesn't require anything too fancy. You may consider using a DIY Kombucha Culture Kit for brewing which includes everything you need to get started. Glass is the most popular choice for brewing kombucha while most utensils are simple.

A. We have made it simple to start your first brew by offering our Signature Tea Blend available online. When deciding on what water to use the main consideration is hygiene. We advise using Reverse Osmosis or filtered water for your fermentation. If you have a reputable source of spring water, that can work well too. Sugars will come down to experimentation and what you want to train your culture to digest, as a rule of thumb simple sugars such as cane or white sugar are going to give consistent and speedy ferments. Avoid heavy and complex sugars such as honey or molasses, as they will be difficult for the culture to ferment.

A. Making kombucha tea at home involves making tea, adding a starter culture (SCOBY) and letting it culture in a warm spot for 7-30 days. You can take precise measurements as part of Advanced Brewing Methods recording pH, Brix and more, though these are not necessary to get started.

A. Kombucha can be brewed from 7 to 30 days, depending on personal preference. A longer brewing time results in less sugar and a more vinegary-flavoured beverage. Keep in mind that temperature will play a role in how quickly the kombucha cultures.

A. We strongly recommend following the instructions included in our DIY Kombucha Culture Kit. The recipe was designed to encourage a proper balance, which discourages the growth of mold and the spoiling of the batch. It also helps ensure the SCOBY gets enough food to culture properly.

A. We recommend glass containers when working with starter cultures, because of the potential of plastic to leach undesirable chemicals. Additionally, plastic is more easily damaged, often without your knowledge, which can result in hidden bacteria that may disrupt the culturing process.

A. Brewing kombucha tea in a cupboard is perfectly fine. However, do not put kombucha tea in sunlight. It is important to keep fermenting kombucha out of direct sunlight and away from excessive heat or cold. It is also important to keep ferments separate to avoid cross-propagation.

A. Yes, you can use an equal portion of strong brewed kombucha in place of scoby.

A. A few good signs the kombucha fermentation process is proceeding normally includes; the formation of a new kombucha culture over the opening of the brewing container, development of brown stringy yeast particles, and the liquid becoming less sweet and more vinegar-like.

A. We suggest keeping a distance of at least 1 metre between items. When your cultured items are being stored in the refrigerator with tight-fitting lids, there is no need to keep distance between them.

A. Click here to purchase a DIY Kombucha Culture Kit with instructions.

CARING FOR YOUR SCOBY

A. Kombucha tea cultures multiply. Each time you brew a batch of Kombucha tea a new starter culture will form. The original starter culture ("the mother") and the new starter culture ("the baby") can each be used to brew a new batch of kombucha tea.

Note: It may take several batches for a baby to form after initial rehydration.

A. Yes. The cloudy white layer is the beginning of a SCOBY kombucha culture. The formation of a new culture is one sign that your batch of kombucha is fermenting properly.

A. The brown stringy particles are yeast particles and are harmless. They are a natural byproduct of the fermentation process. You can strain them out of the finished kombucha if desired. The yeasts are responsible for the breakdown of sugar in your kombucha.

A. Having the SCOBY kombucha culture detach from the container opening does not affect the fermentation process.

A. The jelly-like mass is the beginning of a SCOBY kombucha culture. Even after the main kombucha culture is removed, the kombucha remains full of living yeast and bacteria which continue to ferment slowly on their own. As a result, idle kombucha will eventually form a new baby culture.

A. Kombucha cultures will work just fine even with holes or if they have been torn in half.

A. No, even a small kombucha culture will effectively ferment a full gallon of kombucha. We recommend using a culture or a piece of a culture. The culture should be at least 8 centimetres in diameter.

A. In small quantities SCOBYs can be composted, if you do this regularly you won’t end up with too much. If you have the time, cut/shred the SCOBY into smaller pieces for better breakdown.

FLAVOURING, BOTTLING, AND SECOND FERMENTATION

A. There are lots of ways to flavour kombucha tea! In our how-to video on Flavouring and Bottling Kombucha we show you how to flavour and bottle your homemade kombucha tea, plus include our favourite kombucha flavour ideas!

A. For a second fermentation, a ratio of 20% juice and 80% kombucha generally works well. You can also experiment with other ratios to change the flavour.

A. Bottling kombucha in an airtight bottle helps to increase carbonation. Learn more about Flavouring and Bottling Kombucha .

A. While it is possible for bottles to explode, it is more common for lids to fly off, particularly when being opened. We recommend keeping your whole hand over the lid of the container as you open it. Check bottles for cracks or imperfections before use.

A. Click here to purchase a DIY Kombucha Culture Kit with instructions.

FINISHED KOMBUCHA

A. A longer fermentation process will reduce the amount of sugar in the finished product. At the end of a 30-day fermentation period, there is generally little sugar remaining. Begin with the required amount of sugar, to ensure that the scoby gets enough food to culture properly and ferment for longer to achieve a drier and less sweet brew.

A. Yes, as with all cultured and fermented foods, a small amount of naturally occurring alcohol is typically present in the finished product. Although the amount contained in kombucha will vary from batch to batch, the amount should be quite small.

A. Straining finished kombucha tea isn't necessary. Some people prefer to strain their kombucha tea prior to drinking it to filter out the yeast particles as well as any baby kombucha cultures which may be forming.

A. For the initial activation batch using a dehydrated culture, there may be no visible signs of culturing. The best way to check on the progress of your brew is to test aroma and flavour. However, you may notice further signs of fermentation:

  • The liquid lightens in color and turns cloudy
  • A haze or baby scoby forms on top of the liquid
  • The aroma and flavour are more vinegary and less sweet.

     

A. The best way to check on the progress of your brew is to test aroma and flavour. As it cultures, the kombucha should develop a rich, vinegary flavour and a pleasant but sour aroma.

HELP!

A. Yes. The cloudy white layer is the beginning of a new baby kombucha culture. The formation of a new culture is a sign that your batch of kombucha is fermenting properly.

A. The brown stringy particles are yeast particles and are harmless. They are a natural byproduct of the fermentation process. You can strain them out of the finished kombucha if desired.

A. Depending on a number of factors, the culture may sink, float, or sit sideways. Any of these is normal and will not effect the brewing process.

A. Having the SCOBY culture detach from the container opening is common if the jar is bumped or moved. It does not affect the fermentation process.

A. The jelly-type mass is the beginning of a new SCOBY kombucha culture. Even after the main kombucha culture is removed, the kombucha remains full of living yeast and bacteria which continue to ferment slowly on their own. Consequently idle kombucha will eventually form a new baby culture.

A. Kombucha cultures will work just fine even with holes or if they have been torn in half.

A. No, even a small kombucha culture will effectively ferment a full gallon of kombucha. We do recommend using a culture that is at least 8 centimeters in diameter.

A. Once mold has developed, it is very important to discard the whole batch, including the kombucha scoby. Please contact Customer Support here if mold develops.

A. A black scoby is a sign of a kombucha culture that has been contaminated or is worn out. It takes a long time and many batches before a scoby is worn out. Turning black is not to be confused with developing brown or slightly discolored patches. Yeast build-up will result in brown spots or stringy particles attaching to the scoby and is a normal byproduct of the fermentation process. If your kombucha culture turns black, it should be discarded or composted.

A. Best practice is to toss it, no attempts to salvage should be made. To prevent pests, always cover the fermenting vessel with some kind of lid. A clean cotton cloth or coffee filter secured tightly with a rubber band is enough to keep flies out. Always keep 1 meter of distance from contaminant sources (garbage, compost, cat box, house plants, etc.), remember that fermentations breathe the air around, so a clean hygienic room should be a standard.

  • What makes Kommunity Brew Different?

    Our products are authentically brewed. Some may call it wild or alive. So what does this mean and what makes us different?
    Our Kombucha is produced using an intact SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) without the use of artificial sweeteners or sugar-alcohols (steviol glycosides, erythritol, xylitol).
    Our Kombucha and Water Kefir is produced using naturally occurring and repopulating yeast and bacteria.
    Our Water Kefir grains are given precise minerals and culture-focussed nutrition for the healthy growth of lactobacillus bacteria. The healthier the culture, the healthier the beverage.
    Our Kombucha and Water Kefir is unpasteurised, and have not been preserved in any way other than natural fermentation. This means our products do not last for ever and are brewed in smaller, fresher batches.

  • Why should you care that it is unpasteurised?

    Fresh is best, well that’s our belief. Pasteurisation is the process of treating products with high temperatures to kill bacteria and extend shelf life by destroying all active microorganisms. But Kombucha and Water Kefir is full of great bacteria for your (and our) gut health, it is one of the reasons to enjoy fermented beverages to begin with.

    Think of it like eating yoghurt that can be kept on the shelf. To remove or destroy all of the microorganisms that make your fermented beverage alive, defeats the purpose.

  • What is Kombucha?

    Kombucha is a functional beverage from traditional cultures who used fermented drinks to boost the immune system, promote generate well-being and make tea more enjoyable; a brewed tea containing naturally occurring cultures, digestive enzymes, organic acids and antioxidants, which together act in for the benefit of general well-being and gut health.


    Kommunity Brew’s Kombucha is ALIVE and AUTHENTIC. Our products need to be chilled because they are alive and without preservatives, containing pure kombucha and infused with high quality and certified organic botanicals for flavour. There is nothing to hide... we make kombucha the same way they did thousands of years ago, and the way you would still make it at home (mind you with larger kettles). It is FRESH, small batch quality with naturally low sugar.

  • What is a SCOBY?

    SCOBY stands for: Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. Also referred to as the ‘mother’, this is the living culture that makes kombucha so special. SCOBYs are sometimes referred to as a pellicle, which resembles a disc shape with a gel-like consistency. The pellicle serves to protect the culture from new-ambient travelling microbes, houses much of the bacteria and yeast in the brew and facilitates gas exchange so the culture can breathe.

  • What is Sparkling Probiotic Water aka Water Kefir?

    Water kefir (ke-feer) is a sparkling probiotic beverage. It is a non-dairy source of probiotic strains of lactobacilli, water kefir is an alternative to yoghurt kefir. Naturally fermented using a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts, water kefir has a vanilla, creaming-soda like flavour with fewer than 45 calories per serve. For those who like the values kombucha has to offer – however don't enjoy the character sour kombucha flavour.

  • Where do the probiotics come from in Water Kefir?

    Water Kefir, which is traditionally know as Tibiscos or Tibi for short, is a SCOBY just like kombucha however in a different shape. While kombucha SCOBYs look disc shaped, Tibi looks like clear gummy-bears (yes that it is right, we said gummy-bears). Tibi is another symbiotic mix of yeast and bacteria though this time the dominant bacteria strain is the commonly consumed Lactobacilli (you will see this strain in many yoghurts and probiotics capsules). Now Lactobacilli would seem to be a culture that only consumes lactose this is a common misconception, they can grow on many different simple sugars, in our case we grow our tibi on blackstrap molasses and evaporated cane juice.

  • How do the living cultures stay alive?

    All living things need shelter, water and food to survive right? Well we do this in three very simply ways.

    Shelter, when our cultures are light-sensitive we use amber glass, and where they are not we use clear glass bottles, that takes care of the shelter.
    Water, well while there is water in all our beverages, it is lower on the ph scale, below 3.8 to be exact. This inhibits any unwanted cultures and flavours from developing.
    Food, our cultures are left with just enough residual carbs to make the journey from our brewery, to warehouses to your grocery store. Now we know they won’t last forever in the glass home we have built for them, so there is a best before code on every package. This is important, because after that date, the culture would have eaten every remaining piece of energy and the balanced flavour we achieved, would be very dry and sour. Mind you, some of us hard-core foodies like a super-dry ferment!

    Remember, there are no sweeteners, preservatives, sugar-alcohols or anything artificial in our products. It is all natural here!



  • Why does it need to stay cold?

    The cool supply-chain as we refer to it, is there to slow the metabolism of the living culture you want. This preserves the flavour balance as if you add heat to living microorganism they kick off on fermentation and that means digestion or even self-digestion (oh no!). Temperature will negatively impact your culture as they won't have fresh air, much nutrition to keep them going or the right conditions for balanced fermentation. Simply put, this will spoil your beverages in flavour, aroma and purpose. As we are 100% natural, all Kommunity Brews’ ferments must remain refrigerated.

  • What are the floaty bits in Kombucha?

    Sometimes, but not always, there will be strands or small pieces of kombucha SCOBY that appear in the bottle. While they may seem weird, rest assured it is perfectly normal. These strands or floaty bits are signs of a natural, healthy kombucha that is unpasteurised and full of goodness. No strands, no worries – your Kombucha is still perfectly healthy – we just strain it before it goes into the bottle so there are no blobs to surprise you while drinking.

  • Why is there trace alcohol in your drinks?

    All our drinks are non-alcoholic. When it comes to Kommunity Kombucha and Water Kefir, a trace amount of alcohol can be produced during the natural fermentation process. We thoroughly test each batch to ensure that this does not go above 1.15% as per standards for non-alcoholic drinks.
    All fermented products contain some level of alcohol, including household staples like Soy Sauce!

  • Are Kommunity Brew drinks Kosher?

    Yes, all Kommunity Brew’s products are made without any ingredient which disqualify it from being Kosher and is considered Pareve, kombucha is generally accepted as Kosher outside of Passover. However! Kosher rules for Passover are different, and kombucha is largely considered ‘Not Kosher for Passover’ due to its fermentation. All Kommunity Brew’s products are fermented without leavened grains, permitting its consumption during Passover. When in doubt, seek guidance from within your community.

  • Are Kommunity Brew drinks Halal?

    es, all Kommunity Brew Kombucha and Water Kefir meets halal standards by being both vegan and containing alcohol less than that of 0.5% and does not pose a risk of intoxication. The alcohol itself is produced from natural fermentation in a controlled environment without the intent to intoxicate or create impurity. When in doubt, we suggest you seek guidance from within your community.

  • What are artificial sugars or sugar alcohols? And why we don’t use them.

    All our products are 100% natural, this also means we exclude so-called natural sweeteners Xylitol, Erythritol and Steviol-Glycosides. These increasingly common sweeteners are grouped under the name ‘sugar-alcohols’ and are considered natural because they are derived from a natural product (after significant transformation and intervention).
    Steviol Glycosides is the mostly commonly used sweetener in beverages, and we feel it is being used in an unethical way in that it is used to reduce calories to zero and there is evidence to suggest that Stevia has been shown to significantly increase the desire to eat, hunger, and prospective consumption while natural sweeteners are the subject of many studies to qualify whether they are contributing to weigh gain in young adults .

  • Are Kommunity Brew drinks Vegan?

    Yes – all our drinks are Vegan and Gluten Free and we do not use dairy or animal products in our primary production areas.

  • Are Kommunity Brew drinks Gluten-free?

    Yes – all our drinks are Gluten Free and we do not allow any gluten-containing products into our primary production areas

  • Is there caffeine in Kommunity Brew Beverages?

    Sparking Probiotic Water (Water Kefir) contains no caffeine. Kombucha contains caffeine from the tea, less than or equal to 15mg.

  • What is the shelf life of Kommunity Brew?

    The shelf life of our products is 6 months from manufacture if kept cold. This is due to the living cultures present in each bottle which even when cold, continues its metabolism at a slowed if not halted speed.

  • How long do Kommunity Brew drinks last after opening them?

    If you're like us, your Kommunity Brew drinks won’t last very long once they are open, however we recommend consuming within a couple of days after opening. Once opened, they will start to lose their sparkle or fizz, but there are no safety issues in consuming within three-days after opening and kept chilled.

  • Why is Evaporated Cane Juice and Blackstrap Molasses an important ingredient in functional drinks?

    Evaporated Cane Juice and Blackstrap Molasses are forms of energy that our cultures consume to grow and it is the substance they ferment. The culture(s) uses the energy from these sources, as well as the small amounts of minerals to create acids, enzymes and antioxidants similar to what the human body would do when breaking down food.

    In fermentation the culture (SCOBY or Water Kefir) is playing the role of our metabolism, by pre-digesting the simple sugars and creating beneficial by-products such as acids, vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants. This is how the low sugar result is achieved naturally.

  • How does delivery work?

    Kommunity Brew currently deliver cold beverages to the Perth Metro area. As our beverages need to stay cold we do not offer shipping outside this area currently. Our Kombucha and Kefir kits can be sent world wide. For more information on delivery choices click on the delivery info tab on the product pages.