The key to a delectable kombucha, aside from its ingredients, is the quality of its fermentation. A not-so-secret strategy of booch-lovers is using a kombucha heating pad to control temperature during fermentation. If you want to level up your game against molds or have lost a few brews due to fickle weather, a kombucha heater might give you a fighting chance.
Find out more about the kombucha heating mat or heating pad and how it can help you achieve your best-tasting kombucha brew. You’ll also learn more about the pros and cons of the different types of kombucha heating pads, so you can have an educated decision when buying one.
What is a kombucha heating pad?
A kombucha heating pad or heating mat is a tool that allows you to control the temperature of the kombucha to prevent it from getting too cold. It helps keep the temperature at the optimal kombucha brewing temperature, which is around 75 ℉.
Benefits of using a kombucha heating pad
In cold locations, it can be a struggle to brew kombucha. The cold temperatures can cause a sluggish bacteria culture that may lead to longer fermentation, mold formation, and weak-tasting kombucha.
Using kombucha heaters like heating pads or mats can help you reap the following benefits:
- The consistent warm temperature helps keep the bacteria culture awake. It also allows the yeast to work at a normal pace – not too slow and not overactive.
- When the fermentation is at a normal pace, there is a balance between the beneficial bacteria culture, alcohol, and acids present in kombucha.
- The perfect balance on temperature allows the second fermentation to build enough carbonation at the expected rate. Therefore, there will be no instances of exploding bottles or disappointment due to the lack of fizz on your drink.
- The taste will also be a good combination of sweet and tart with a kick compared to a weak or too sour taste.
- Controlled heat also helps the yeast turn sugar into acids at an optimal level. The presence of acids in kombucha helps fight contaminants that cause molds.
Questions to ask before buying a kombucha heating pad
While a kombucha heating pad can give a lot of benefits, you must consider some factors before buying one. Here are some questions to help you decide if buying a heating pad is a luxury or a necessity:
- Do you often have mold problems when brewing your kombucha? Molds often form when due to contamination and slow fermentation. When the beneficial bacteria are sleepy and sluggish, they don’t form enough acids in kombucha that make it vulnerable to mold formation. If you keep on having mold on your brew, it’s better to buy a kombucha heating pad to keep the fermentation going.
- Do you have an efficient HVAC system that heats the house well during winter, spring, and fall?`The cold seasons are a threat to your kombucha because they can jeopardize its quality. However, if you have an efficient heating system that keeps a consistent temperature indoors. You may no longer need a heating mat.
- Do you live in locations that often have sudden fluctuations in temperature? Some areas experience different seasons in a day. If you live in one, brewing kombucha can be a struggle. So, having a heating pad can be justifiable.
- Do you live in a colder region? If your answer to this question is yes, Heating pads will be the best friend of your kombuchas.
- Does your second fermentation always fail to build carbonation? Second fermentation often needs to be above 75℉ to keep the yeast turning sugars into carbon dioxide. To achieve that, you can place the bottles in warmer areas of the home or, instead, buy a heating pad or mat to keep them in one place.
Types of kombucha heating pads
If you see that having a heating pad is a necessity, you must know which type of heating pad will work best in your favor. The two types of heating pads have their respective pros and cons. Here’s a brief background on each type of heating pad based on the experience of most brewers:
Heating wraps give your kombucha jars a warm snuggle during the cold winter months. They are efficient in providing a balanced distribution of heat around the jar. However, most heating wraps can only wrap so much. It will not fit a large brewing jar If you are brewing a lot of kombuchas. Here are its other pros and cons:
- Equal heat distribution
- Compact and neat
- Easy to use
- It may not fit on large jars.
- It can only heat one jar at a time.
A heating pad is a good option if you’re brewing more than one kombucha jar. It can keep several bottles warm during the second fermentation. However, in brewing large containers, the heat may have a hard time reaching the top, causing fluctuating temperatures.
- Can warm up several bottles at a time
- Keps kombucha jars in one place
- Easy to use
- May not regulate consistent heat distribution in large brewing jars
Best heating pads for brewing a tasty booch
There are now tons of kombucha heating pads available in the market. In choosing the best heating pad, you must consider several factors, such as energy cost efficiency, temperature control features, and accuracy.
To help you find the best ones, we listed five of the best below.
Hemlock Home Brewing Heating Mat is a beginner-friendly option. It has a temperature control with three settings and uses 10 watts. It can snuggle a 1-gallon kombucha jar, making it ideal for those who brew big batches of kombucha. It comes with a thermometer strip, so it is easier and more convenient to check the temperature of your booch from time to time.
Propagate Pro Heating Wrap is another praised option in the kombucha community because of its efficiency in warming up kombuchas. It looks more like a belt than a wrap-around mat that comes with a thermometer strip to monitor the temperature on the jar.
It runs on 7 watts which consumes less energy than its competitors. However, the only way to secure it around the jar is a rubber band that comes with the item.
Craft a Brew’s Kombucha Heat Wrap is probably one of the most aesthetically pleasing of all the wraps. It comes with a thermometer strip and 4-setting temperature control.
Brewers like it because of its adjustable velcro strap that can fit both 1-gallon and 2-gallon jars. The settings correspond to the following temperature levels:
- High: Colder than 65 °F
- Medium: Between 66 – 70 °F
- Low: Between 71 – 73 °F
- OFF: 75 °F or warmer
kitchentoolz Waterproof Heat Mat is a belt-type kombucha heater that wraps snuggly around jars through its hook and loop fastener. It doesn’t have controls like others but warms kombucha jars up to 80 ℉. It also comes with a thermometer strip to gauge the temperature of the kombucha.
Onto the heating mats, we have the most affordable VIVOSUN Durable Waterproof Seedling Heat Mat. It is available in different sizes depending on how many kombucha jars you are brewing. It runs on 18 watts which is efficient if you’re brewing several bottles at once.
It can heat up to 104 ℉ and maintains an ambient temperature of 68 ℉-77 ℉, which is .ideal for kombucha. You can buy it as a set with a thermostat here.
If you’re brewing a huge batch of kombucha in a large jar, Propagate Pro’s Heating Pad is the best option. It is a 12-inch round heating mat available in 12 watts, 25 watts, and 25 watts kombucha heater with a thermostat. It is easy to use, and its thermostat controller works like a charm in preventing over fermentation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do you need a heat mat for kombucha?
You can brew kombucha without a heating mat. However, you may need one if you experience any of the following:
- You live in a location where it’s constantly cold or with fluctuating temperatures throughout the day.
- You have cold drafts around the house that change the indoor temperature during winter.
- You often have a sour-tasting kombucha.
- Your kombucha is always contaminated with mold.
- The kombucha bottles always fail to carbonize during the second fermentation.
What is the best temperature for kombucha?
The best kombucha brewing temperature is 75 ℉. However, you can still get the best results if the temperature falls around 75 ℉ to 80 ℉.
How do you use a heat mat for kombucha?
Place the kombucha jars on top of the heat mat and cover it with towels to retain the warm temperature at the top part. You can warm multiple kombucha bottles or jars in a heat mat.