Best Kombucha Accessories
To make kombucha you do not need high end, fancy or expensive equipment. Just the opposite in fact. The neccesary items for making kombucha at home are everyday things like pots, jars and bottles.
Having the essentials such as the right brewing container, covering and storage bottles is great. However sometimes having the right ‘accessories’ for kombucha making is just as important.
With kombucha making, the key is not purchasing a whole host of accessories. Rather make sure that you have the right items. And if you find that you do not have everything you need, then you can consider purchasing whatever it is additional that you need.
have a look at this guide and make a check list. You might find that through having the right accessories kombucha brewing becomes even easier and quicker than it already is.
Kombucha Accessories Checklist Guide
The following is a checklist for all the side items which you can use in the kombucha brewing process. Most of them you will probably already have at home.
The Right Pot for Boiling Water and Brewing Tea
I know a pot is not really an accessory, but the right sized pot for making your kombucha is really great. So if you do not have one already, get a pot which is nice and big where you can boil the water and brew the tea for your kombucha all in one shot.
If you are using tea bags, then you will not need a tea infuser. However, if you really want to make high quality kombucha, then using tea leaves is recommended. The reason why tea leaves are considered to be better than tea bags is because the paper from tea bags influences the taste of the tea, and of the final kombucha. Also, loose tea tends to often be of a better quality as it is open to the eye and not hidden in the tea bags.
Best Tea Caddy/Infuser
So, if you want to use loose tea and take your kombucha up another notch, then you will need a tea caddy. They are available in all sorts of shapes and sizes. I am not an expert on tea caddies, but from my knowledge I would recomend the largest one you can find (seeing as you will probably be filling it with enough to brew +1 gallon at a time). Stainless steel is probably your best bet material wise.
Note: You can also use a french press for making the tea. It is not however quite as convenient as a tea caddy, because you will have to probably make a few batches, and decant it all back into your pot.
If you do not have any measuring cups, gift yourself a set. They are invaluable in the kitchen, as mugs and drinking cups all varying in capacity, and very rarely equal 8 oz. For kombucha brewing, being accurate is a bonus. Especially when it comes to good SCOBY management, you want know exactly how much sugar you are giving the SCOBY, because lots of SCOBY problems can be remedied by adjusting the sugar quantity slightly. Even just making sure that you are sticking to the recommended quantities is a good way to ensure happy SCOBYs.
Best Measuring Cups
When buying measuring cups, look for a nice set which fit into each other and is reasonable quality.
If you do not already have a sieve or strainer in your kitchen, then you might want to look at getting one for your kombucha making. Sieves are great for straining out free floating yeast particles. They are safe to ingest, but can look really attractive in your kombucha and be off putting to drink down. You can also use sieves and strainers to remove any debris which is left over from flavoring after a secondary ferment. If you have added additional herbs, fruit and spices you can easily strain these out before bottling.
As the strainers will not be doing heavy work, all you need is an inexpensive set of the plastic mesh variety.
If you are hooked on natural vinegars for cooking, and have not yet begun to clean with spirit vinegar, then you might need to stock up on this for your kombucha making. Spirit vinegar is a must have for cleaning and sanitizing your kombucha equipment. It is not advisable to use antibacterial washing up liquids or soap, as residues can collect on your items and discourage the good bacteria of the kombucha.
It is also not a good idea to use natural vinegars for anything kombucha related as the microbes can cross pollinate into the kombucha makeup and change it.
So get yourself some spirit vinegar if you do not already have.
Plastic or Stainless Steel Spoons
If you only have wooden spoons in your kitchen pick up a set of plastic or metal spoons. Wood is not recommended for kombucha brewing, as foreign microbes can be introduced to the brew from the grooves in the wood.
Whether you choose plastic or metal spoons, you can go with an inexpensive middle of the range set.
Having a nice wide mouthed funnel to use when you need to bottle up your kombucha will save you a lot of drops of messed kombucha! You will probably also find that you will end up with more fizz in your kombucha. I used to pour my ready kombucha into a big pouring bowl with a mouth first, and then pour it into my waiting bottles. Every time you pour the kombucha you will end up losing more carbonation.
The best type of funnel for this job is one with a wide mouth. Again, you do not have to buy an expensive funnel, just one which will last and do the job.
Along with a friendly funnel, some sort of syphoning set up is great to have when it comes to bottling. One reason for this is that you can easily decant the kombucha out of the brewing vessel without having to up end it. This is especially handy if you are working with a really big and heavy jar of kombucha. The other reason is that again, you lose less carbonation. Lastly, it also enables you to take liquid from anywhere in the jar. So for example, if you want to take yeast rich starter liquid from the bottom of the vessel, you can do so! Without a syphon of some kind, this is quite difficult.
You can use a simple length of pipe to do syphoning. There is nothing wrong with using a plain piece of hose, and they can work great. The only problem with the pipe is that you will have to manually create the suction to get the kombucha flowing. If you do not feel like having to huff and puff on the end of the syphon, you can purchase an auto syphon from amazon.
Ph Meter or Ph Strips
If you want to get pretty accurate with your brewing you might want to use a ph meter or strips to measure at what level of acidity your kombucha is. Well brewed kombucha should usually read between 2.5 and 4.5.
This insight into the acidity levels can be particularly useful at the start when you are setting up your ferment. The reason for this is that it is important to make sure that the tea / starter liquid mix which you put your SCOBY into for the new batch does not read above 4.5. If it does, then this means that the solution is not acidic enough to keep out pathogens like mold.
Because kombucha is not always brewed to the same strength, even if you always use the recommended amount of starter liquid, it is difficult to know if the solution is actually acidic enough. Testing the ph at this point will ensure that it is always one hundred percent safe from invasive microbes. This is because you ensuring that your kombucha is never too alkaline at the start.
Have you got anyone in your family and friends circle who keeps telling you that kombucha is unhygienic? Get hold of some ph measuring items and tell them to leave you alone. ; P
Best Ph Measurer
If you are looking for a quick cheap option, then ph strips are fine, they will do the job. They will however run out, whereas the ph meter should last for years. Ph meters also give finer readings, however this is not critical for the purpose of measuring the ph of your kombucha.
Ph strips should be available at your local pharmacy, or if not you can find them online. Ph meters you will likely be able to pick up at a home brewing shop, otherwise on amazon.
Another little gadget which can be useful to some is a hydrometer. Hydrometers measure residual sugar levels and are commonly used in the brewing industry. If you have to be careful regarding to the sugar content of your kombucha, you can check using one. By the way, we have two posts on the topic of reducing sugar within kombucha. If you need to know more check out How to Brew Kombucha With Less Sugar and How to Make Kombucha Without Sugar. Check them out if you are keen to make low sugar kombucha.
Straws you say! Yes, straws can form part of your kombucha making equipment. They come in very handy if you want to taste your kombucha along the way to see how close to ready it is. You can simply insert one down the side of the brewing vessel, past the SCOBY, and then put your thumb over the open end. Take the straw out and have a sip. This way you can tell exactly how far along your kombucha is, without have to upset the brewing process.
The best (and most fun) straws for this are either reusable bamboo straws, or glass straws. Neither of these two substances will interact or disturb the kombucha cultures. These types of straws are also wide enough to be able to hold a fair amount of liquid. Which you need to be able to get a good taste.
Yes, kombucha can be dressed up. Online you can buy little sleeves and caps! The sleeves slip up the sides of the brewing vessel to protect the cultures from sunlight and UV. The caps are made out of fine mesh with an elasticated edge for covering the top of the brewing vessel. Of course you can do the same with a cloth and rubber band, and you can protect your brewing vessel from light with a towel wrapped around it – but if you want to get cute with your kombucha, then get some of these.
Kombucha Climate Control Items
On a less frivolous note, the fermentation process of kombucha is highly dependant on the temperature at which it takes place. Ultra cold temperatures can stall fermentation completely, or slow it down to the point where the SCOBY loses condition. If you are experiencing temperatures below 76 degrees, then it might be a good idea to get something to keep your kombucha warm. Kombucha prefers fairly even temperatures, and don’t enjoy heating up and cooling down continually. So keep this in mind when selecting what to use to keep your brew warm.
Best Kombucha Warmers
The ideal type of warmer for kombucha is one which wraps around the container completely. As opposed to something which sits underneath like a hot plate. Nowadays you can purchase kombucha warmers which are specifically designed for the purpose of keeping kombucha warm. Or you can use an electric blanket. However do be careful not to overheat your kombucha as it will cook! I say only use an electric blanket if it has a very low setting. Preferably one which is within the ideal temperature range of kombucha which is 69-70 degrees.
And that is it for our list of kombucha accessories! Let us know if we have missed any which you have found to be useful.
Whether or not you require all of these items is up to you – as each brewer’s situation is different. However you will most likely find that if you do not have them already, the right sized pot, measuring cups, a wide mouthed funnel, and a syphon will stand you in good stead no matter what your set up.