How to Counter Extreme Seasonal Temperatures for Perfect Kombucha Brewing
Does The Changing Of The Seasons Affect My Kombucha?
Yes! The seasonal fluctuations in temperature are directly linked to the level of activity within your SCOBY culture. If you are living in a mild climate, then the temperature differences will not be that drastic, and your kombucha brewing will most probably not be affected very much. You might notice a difference in how fast your ferment matures and takes on a sour tang from the organic acids produced, but otherwise you probably won’t have to make any adjustments.
If however the temperature difference between winter and summer is very wide, you might find yourself having to make some to changes to where you keep your kombucha vessels while the tea is brewing, and how you treat the ferment.
What To Expect with Extreme Temperatures and Kombucha Brewing
In summer, if the temperatures are very high, you will most probably find that your fermentation will go very quickly and mature at a rapid rate. Which is not always a good thing! In winter however, if the temperatures drop and keep below 49o Fahrenheit (18o Celsius), the bacteria and yeasts within the SCOBY culture can become dormant. In this situation your ferment will either be extremely slow, or fermentation will not take place at all.
While slow fermentations are preferable as they produce a better quality of kombucha with higher concentrations of organic acids and vitamins, cultures which take longer than 30 days to ferment the sweet tea base are border line dormant.
What To Do to Counter Extreme Temperatures
It is possible to brew between 49o Fahrenheit (18o Celsius) and 95o Fahrenheit (35o Celsius). But the best temperatures lie between 69-71o Fahrenheit (21-22o Celsius) and 82-84o Fahrenheit (28-29o Celsius).
If you are experiencing temperatures out of the inner range of ideal temps, along with brewing problems, weird tasting kombucha (such as being too yeasty flavored) or malformed SCOBYs, then it is most probably the temperature which is causing your brewing hiccups.
And if you are experiencing temperatures outside the outer range of temperatures in which it is possible to brew kombucha, then this is most definitely going to be the cause of any problems which your are experiencing.
Room Temperatures are Too Cold
If temps are really low, your culture is going to sleep and fermentation is just not happening, then the brew needs to be a bit warmer. Raising the temperature of the ferment slightly should solve your problems.
The ideal thing is to find a spot in your home which is automatically warmer:
- On top of the fridge.
- On top of a warm water aquarium
- In the warmest room of the house.
- Preferably on a wooden, plastic or some other insulated surface. Avoid stone, metal, glass or tile.
If this is not possible, artificial warming methods can include:
- Electric blankets.
- Hot plates.
- Kombucha specific warming trays.
Try to avoid artificially heating your brew, as this leads to uneven heat distribution, and fermentations do best in solutions which have an even temperature. If you have to use artificial heating, then be careful not to overdo it. It might be that only a small adjustment in temperature is needed for an awesome ferment.
Room Temperatures are Too Hot
If it is getting very hot, what most likely will be happening with your brew is that it will be fermenting way too quickly (in less than 7 days), and the yeasts will be overactive. You might even pick this up in the smell.
Once again, the ideal thing is to find a spot in your home which is automatically cooler:
- Away from anything running which is producing heat.
- In a room at the back of the house or apartment, on the side where the sun does not shine.
- In the basement.
- In a cool cupboard, perhaps on the floor, especially if the floor is stone or tiled.
If the coolest spot in your house is not cool enough then you can try this trick:
- Get hold of a large cooler box & ice packs (If you do not have any just freeze some plastic bottles filled with water).
- Place the brewing kombucha along with the frozen ice packs or bottles in the cooler.
- Place the lid on top, but askew, so as to let in air.
More Information about Temperatures and Brewing
If you want to know more about the effect of temperatures on kombucha brewing and SCOBY health, and what you can do to counteract any problems you might run into, have a look at Warm Weather SCOBY Care: Brewing Kombucha in Hot Weather and Cool Weather SCOBY Care: Brewing Kombucha in Cold Weather.