If you’re thinking about home brewing kombucha, finding out exactly where to store your kombucha is important for creating the right fermentation conditions. Storage plays a significant part in the health of SCOBY, taste, and fizziness of the booch, and the activity of contaminants.
In this post, check out how you can store kombucha, the things you have to avoid, and the ideal places in the house where you can safely brew your booch to perfection.
Three stages of storing kombucha
The fermentation process of kombucha involves three stages which include first fermentation, second fermentation, and long-term storage. At a glance, the three stages look straightforward. However, the level of storage requirements differs at every stage.
- First fermentation = Storage requirement level (High)
The first fermentation of kombucha is the most crucial part of the fermentation process. The brew is very sensitive to temperature and any fluctuations can affect the activity of the SCOBY. The perfect kombucha temperature at this stage is 75 ℉ or within 75 ℉ to 80 ℉.
- Second fermentation = Storage requirement level (Medium)
Storage for the second fermentation is less complicated than the first one. At this stage, you will focus on the carbonation of your brew and how to prevent it from getting too vinegary.
- Long-term storage = Storage requirement level (Low)
The last stage involves storing your kombucha for consumption. It is the stage where you will gauge how long kombucha can last after opening the bottle and for long-term keeping.
Why does storage matter for kombucha?
Identifying where to store kombucha can make or break your fermentation. Here’s why:
- Prevents mold growth: Temperature fluctuations and exposure to mold contaminants in the surrounding environment can compromise the safety of your brew.
- Maintains the optimal brewing speed of kombucha: Warm temperature can speed up the fermentation process of kombucha, making it too vinegary in a shorter time. On the other hand, cold temperatures slow down the kombucha fermentation process, increasing the risk of mold growth.
- Keeps the SCOBY alive and kicking: SCOBY can die when placed in direct sunlight.
- Keeps off contaminants that may compromise kombucha: Storing kombucha in a moist and moldy cupboard can waste a whole batch of booch.
- Prevent cross-population of good bacteria: Placing kombucha next to other fermenting foods like kimchi and sauerkraut may cause some cross-population of bacteria.
- Keeps bottles from exploding: The bottles of kombucha may explode during the second fermentation due to the carbonation buildup. Carbonation happens when kombucha continues to ferment at room temperature.
- Allows the kombucha to maintain its ideal taste: When kombucha ferments too fast, the taste may become too sour to the point it’s beyond drinkable. It can be also risky to drink since too much accumulation of lactic acid in kombucha may cause some serious side effects.
What are the things that you have to avoid in storing kombucha
Medical experts consider kombucha safe to drink as long as it is prepared properly. To keep your homebrew safe to drink, here are some of the things and locations that you have to avoid when storing kombucha:
- Direct sunlight
- No airflow
- Exposure to harsh chemicals (insecticide, cleaning sprays, and other air pollutants)
- Indoor plants
- Moldy cabinets
- Other fermenting foods
5 Ideal Places Where To Store Kombucha While Fermenting
Here are the five ideal places to store kombucha at home to get you started in your homebrewing journey:
- Pantry: Pantries are usually dry, clean, and well-ventilated which are all the qualities needed for storing kombucha while fermenting.
- Closets: In the absence of a pantry, coat closets are also an ideal place for kombucha. It keeps them away from sunlight and there’s a lot of space for the brew to ‘breathe’. Most homebrewers occasionally open the closet doors to improve the airflow.
- Kitchen center island: Center islands are an ideal place as a kombucha station since it is away from direct sunlight and an undisturbed area compared to the counter next to a sink.
- On a table away from temperature fluctuations: Cold drafts in some parts of the house can cause inconsistent temperature indoors. Place the kombucha on a table somewhere in the house where the temperature remains around 75 ℉ to 80 ℉.
- A place away from contaminants: The colony of bacteria in kombucha is too microscopic so are the bad bacteria and pathogens in the air. To ensure that no contaminants can jeopardize your precious brew, keep it in a clean, dry, and undisturbed place.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Should kombucha be refrigerated?
Kombucha during its fermentation should not be refrigerated because it will slow down the activity of the SCOBY by turning sugar into acid. Once the second fermentation is done, kombucha should be refrigerated to halt the fermentation process and keep its kombucha flavor. Otherwise, it will become more acidic and taste vinegary.
Can you store kombucha in a cupboard?
Yes, if it’s free from any moisture, mold, and dust. As an alternative, homebrewers also use their coat closet to store kombucha.
Where do you store kombucha after bottling?
After the second fermentation, we’d recommend storing your bottled kombucha in the lower part of the fridge. This is because the temperature at the top of the fridge is too cold and can affect its fizziness.