Welcome back to part two of my conversation with Ms. Hannah Crum, kombucha master brewer. Last week Hannah gave us some great tips for organizing our home brewing, and we continue this week with more helpful information and a free printable brewing log.
Tracy: Do you keep a batch logbook?
Hannah: Keeping records is key for any homebrewer/fermenter. One of the lessons I’ve learned along the way is that keeping accurate records is a short cut for thinking. What I mean by that is when you have an accurate record, you don’t have to rack your brain trying to remember when or how much.
Not only do I log when a batch was made, but also the amount of tea, steeping time and other variables are cataloged so that we can detect subtle differences from batch to batch and try to replicate those that taste the best! This simple tool is an effective way to keep on schedule.
If Kombucha is brewed too long, it can end up too sour to drink (Click for Kombucha vinegar recipes). If not brewed long enough, too sweet. We can use our palate to discern the proper harvest time, but once you get in a rhythm, you can predict with a fair amount of accuracy when a batch will be ready.
Tracy: Do you by chance have a sample sheet you might be able to share with our readers?
Hannah: Yes, please see the below log sheet for reference. It is also included in the Complete Handbook for those who want a more comprehensive guide to making Kombucha at home.
(Thanks to Liz over at Life in Yellow for giving the brewing log a little facelift!)
Tracy: What has been your biggest challenge when trying to get organized with your brewing system or log?
Hannah: The biggest challenge is matching up the jars to the sheets. That’s why a naming, numbering or alphabetic system is key once you start brewing up several batches. This will help you keep all of your fermentation experiments straight. Its a bummer when you come across a new flavor and cannot figure out what you did to make it taste so good!
Tracy: What happens to your KT system when you go on vacation?
Hannah: Kombucha is such an easy ferment. When you go out of town, you just leave your cultures hanging out in either Kombucha or sweet tea. As long as there is enough liquid in the vessel so that it doesn’t all evaporate before you return, the cultures will be safe. After all, they are in a pH protected environment that prevents harmful microorganisms from colonizing your brew. Then when you return home, you will either have some delicious Kombucha to enjoy or will have some Kombucha vinegar to use in other ways.
Tracy: Is there anything you’d like to share about organizing your kombucha that I haven’t asked?
Hannah: Well, since we are talking about a food item, what my husband began teaching me from his years in the restaurant biz has been invaluable. Just the level of keeping everything clean, changing out your jars of SCOBY every once in awhile to prevent too much yeast build up, always using new culture and liquid for each batch. Basically just investigating your particular business for whatever “best practices” apply and making sure to work on those. Every niche is a little different, so make sure you are paying attention to the needs of your business.
A big thank you to Hannah for providing us with these helpful hints on getting organized when it comes to home brewing kombucha! Stay tuned for our next post in the Insider Tips series!
Hannah Crum is The Kombucha Mamma, founder of Kombucha Kamp, the most visited website in the world for Kombucha information, recipes and advice. Along with partner Alex LaGory, Hannah is also an industry journalist & Master Brewer, directly mentoring thousands of new and experienced Kombucha brewers and providing consulting services for Kombucha start-ups since 2004. Kombucha Kamp classes, advice and reporting have been featured in BevNet, Beverage Spectrum Magazine, Whole Life Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Elephant Journal, Vital Juice and many others while her instructional video series with E-How/Expert Village has racked up over 1 million views. Hannah is also a leader and featured speaker in the Southern California Real Food movement, using the “Kombucha Lifestyle” as an introduction to other fermented foods, gut health, the human microbiome, “bacteriosapiens” and more. She has truly lived up to her title as The Kombucha Mamma by shipping freshly grown, full-size Kombucha starter cultures to more than 10,000 people worldwide and offers kits and Continuous Brew Packages, the ultimate in convenient homebrewed Kombucha, via her webstore. Kombucha is incredibly easy to make and a lifetime supply can be made from one fresh, healthy culture. Learn more and get a Free “Do-It-Yourself” Kombucha Guide with brewing, bottling & flavoring tips by visiting: http://www.kombuchakamp.com/kombucha-recipe. Don’t forget the Kombucha Kamp motto: Trust your gut!
©Synergy Organizing 2012
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