How to Clarify Kombucha
As kombucha brews it has the tendency to become cloudy. This is a good thing, as it shows that the microbes are working hard to make your booch a probiotic powerhouse of a drink!
However, when it comes to bottling and drinking – you might find that you want to clarify your kombucha to make it more ‘clean’ looking.
There a few different methods you can use to clarify your kombucha, depending on your needs. Let’s take a look.
3 Ways to Clarify Kombucha
There are three main ways with which one can clarify kombucha.
Straining kombucha is a very common method used for clarifying. Besides effectively removing particulate, and giving a nice clear booch, it also has some additional benefits.
Benefits of Straining Kombucha
Besides making kombucha more palatable on the eye, clarifying can also be of benefit to the quality of the final booch.
When clarifying kombucha, what you will mainly be taking out are the free floating yeast particles. While these are a neccesary part of kombucha – an overabundance of them can cause issues. If you clarify and remove these yeast particles before the second ferment or bottling, you can experience the following benefits:
Less Volatile Kombucha
The yeasts are the guys which have a lot to do with the volatile nature of kombucha. They can cause premature souring, too much carbonation, short lived carbonation, and high pressure build ups. If you get rid of any excess which are free floating, you will probably experience more consistent second ferment results.
Reduced Explosion Risks
A less volatile kombucha brew also means reduced explosion risks. Whether doing a second ferment without an airlock, or simply bottling up your booch – clarifying your kombucha before either of these steps will help to minimise the risk of an excessive buildup of pressure.
Better Flavor Profile
While the yeasts are vital to the brewing process of kombucha (and good for us), a high concentration of them in your finished kombucha can lend it a metallic taste. Removing some of the yeast particles via clarifying can often yield up some good improvements in terms of flavor.
Ways to Strain Kombucha
To give you some ideas, here are a few ways people strain their kombucha:
- Using a sieve lined with a wide mesh type of cloth (good for medium batches).
- Using a large funnel lined with a wide mesh type of cloth (good for large batches).
- Using a pour over manual coffee maker lined with a coffee filter (good for small batches).
If you want some more detailed info on these methods, check out How to Remove Particulate from Kombucha and How to Filter Your Kombucha to Remove Yeasty Stuff.
#2 Letting it Stand
One of the simplest ways to clarify kombucha is to let it stand bottled in your refrigerator for about a week. It will naturally start to clear. This is a great technique if you want clear kombucha and do not feel like the hassle of straining. In addition, while straining can be beneficial -there are also instances where straining is not going to do your brew any good.
Why Letting Your Kombucha Stand to Clarify Can Be the Best Method
Sometimes You Need the Yeasts
If you do not have a lot of yeast action going on in your kombucha – then using a method like straining and filtering can actually not be such a great idea. All of the benefits which can be enjoyed from straining are only valid if you have a lot of yeast activity in your brew. However, if you do not, then taking out the free floating yeasts in this way can hinder second ferments and make your bottled kombucha seem flat in texture and taste.
#3 Adding Gelatin
This is a trick sometimes used in the conventional brewing industry. It sounds weird, but is very effective. This method is best to use if you do not want to reduce yeasts to much, and are doing secondary ferments.
How to Clarify Kombucha Using Gelatin
The process is very simple. All you need to do is dissolve a touch a gelatin into your second ferment, By the time it comes to bottling – your brew should be clear.
- Dissolve 1 teaspoon of gelatin per quart of kombucha, with a small amount of hot water.
- Stir until dissolved. (Add more water if you find that the gelatin is not dissolving)
- Allow this to cool right down to room temperature.
- Add the gelatin mix (it might be a little solid!) into your second ferment and stir to dissolve.
And there you have it – three main methods of clarifying your kombucha! Before setting on which one to use, take into consideration the following factors:
What level of yeast activity do I have, is it high or low? This will help you to determine if you want to strain.
Do I do second ferments? If you do second ferments, and do not have an excessive amount of yeast activity, you might want to try out the gelatin method.
Do I have time to let my kombucha sit in the fridge? If you do, then maybe try out the refrigeration method, as this requires no work on your part, only time.
If you fellow booch makers out there have any tricks which you use and want to share – we are always happy to hear from you. : )