Insider Tips with Kombucha Mama Hannah Crum

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I am so excited to kick off my Insider Tips series with a dear old friend of mine, Hannah Crum, the Kombucha Mama and brewer extraordinaire. Hannah and I met years ago when we were both in college, purple hair was all the rage, and loud booming electronic music in strange locations was a normal part of our weekends. We’ve since both grown up, ditched the purple hair (for now anyway), and Hannah moved out west to the L.A. area where she helps kombucha brewers, among other things!

When I first started blogging several years ago, I loved to write about my foodie adventures, both in my own kitchen and in others’. When I got an inkling to start brewing my own kombucha at home, I remembered this was Hannah’s area of expertise and was delighted to see she had lots of free information about brewing on her website. After a few months of home brewing I decided to ask Hannah for her own organizing tips when it comes to home brewing kombucha. Here’s part one of what she had to say (stay tuned next week for part two!):

Tracy: You’ve been brewing kombucha (KT) for several years now. Tell us a little bit about how you got started.

Hannah: I first discovered Kombucha while visiting an old college buddy in San Francisco. His girlfriend had these mysterious, shrouded jars of “Kombucha.” I had never heard of it but was intrigued. Upon returning to LA, I bought my first bottle and it was love at first sip! Now, true confessions, I’ve always been the type to drink out of the pickle jar, so the sourness was right up my alley. At nearly $5 for 16oz, I knew I had to find a SCOBY and make it myself. That’s nearly a decade ago and I’ve been making it ever since!

Tracy: How much KT are you producing per week now ?

Hannah: Well, we have a VERY small artisanal brand of Kombucha – Hannah’s Homebrew – which produces only a few cases a week, just enough to keep our diehards happy and keep a few bottles on the shelf here in Los Angeles, but it does sell out quickly! I also serve as Master Brewer for a few restaurants around town that offer fresh Kombucha on tap or by the glass. At home, I usually brew up a few gallons a week, a lot of which goes into the Continuous Brewers or into flavor experiments (flavoring guide coming soon!).

Additionally, we consult for start-up Kombucha companies to assist them with navigating entry into the beverage business. We believe that every town should have its own local Kombucheria and as such, our main focus is not on bottling Kombucha for sale in stores but, rather, to teach people “how to fish.” Teaching others how to safely brew Kombucha at home leads people down a path of rediscovering real nutrition, which is one of our main goals here at Kombucha Kamp.

Tracy: I believe I read somewhere you have 4 or 5 continuous brewing vessels going at any one time. How do you keep them sorted out and the dates straight for the different batches?

Hannah: We drink Continuous Brew Kombucha at home as it is super convenient to pull a fresh glass right from the spigot. Rotating the vessels ensures you are drinking the tastiest brew. Our vessels are varied based on color and type of material. Plus we have colored brewer “t-shirts” that help us keep them straight too. For instance we have 3 porcelain brewers – one black, one blue & one white, an oak barrel, and a stainless steel brewer. Every week I make a batch of top off tea. On Saturdays that fall on odd numbered days, I fill the 3 porcelain brewers ( 3 is an odd number). On even numbered Saturdays, the other 2 (2 is an even number). I always say it’s not necessary or even a good idea to try to base your routine on what others do. Kombucha will help you find your own rhythm.

Whether you opt for a visual system, a numerical system or a combination of the two, everyone finds their own system that works best for them. This is the beauty of individual expression that we each bring to the act of creation and fermenting at home is a subtle reminder that we all participate in the cycles of life.

We also label some of the jars with the Label Once labels. This makes it easy to change the date and even leave some variables that don’t change, the same.

(These are the same labels I’ve been using at home for my own kombucha adventures, I guess great minds really do think alike!).

Stay tuned till next week for part two of this Insider Tips interview with Ms. Hannah Crum! In the meantime, check out Hannah’s website to see if brewing your own tasty kombucha is a project for you. Then join us next week for some freebie downloads to help you keep your brewing activities organized!

Do you brew your own kombucha at home? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

~Tracy
Holistic Professional Organizer and Clutter Coach at Synergy Organizing, LLC
www.SynergyOrganizing.com

©Synergy Organizing 2012

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