Updated: Aug 30
Hello again from Mom's Bucha,
Ever wondered about the black and brown slimy strands that are floating around and attached to your kombucha’s pellicle (or SCOBY)? That my dear friend, is yeast! Yeast is that wonderful thing that gives all kombucha that funky tanginess that we love. At some point you have probably thought about the hard core competition of yeast vs. bacteria that is going on in your vessel of bucha right now, and though we could question the possible dilemmas that befall us brewers in regards to yeast and bacteria, Mom’s Bucha is here to help you answer some of those questions for you.
The bacteria depend upon the yeast to convert the sugar into a food source which the bacteria then eat (yummy!), and the yeast in turn make the fermentation process happen and release carbon dioxide for the fizz we all love. So how do we know if our Kombucha has a yeast to bacteria balance?? The simplest way is to use your eyes and your nose, even before tasting!
Here are some key points to consider:
The bottom of the fermentation vessel is usually layered in a mass of yeasty strands. If your kombucha smells and tastes too strong and yeasty, try straining or dumping that yeast pile out of your culture (or hotel). All the while making sure you don't use that mix of yeast filled liquid to start fermentation on your next batch, or in the case of Continuous Brew (CB), just strain it out!
On the other hand, if your bucha tastes weak, look in your culture and hotel for that same funky juice at the bottom of your vessel that is teeming with strands of yeasty goodness and add that to your next batch!
Here in the case of CB, make sure your temperature is in an ideal range. A stable 72 degrees Fahrenheit to 78 degrees Fahrenheit is a good place. If your brew space is too warm, the yeast will overtake the bacteria and the imbalance will cause off flavors to occur, at the very least. Too high a temperature and/or too much sugar often results in yeast overgrowth while colder temperatures and not enough sugar can result in low yeast counts.
Trial and error is something every brewer goes through!! Welcome this new challenge as a fun part of the learning process.
Now…What to do with the yeast that you might be removing? This versatile yeast, known as 'Saccharomyces Cerevisiae' can be used to bake bread, make beer, as well as ferment your next kombucha brew. For more information about yeast check out this website.
That's all for now dearest friends.
P.S If you liked what you read here, consider donating to Mom’s Bucha’s crowdfunding fundraiser…more information about our efforts can be found here.