Is my kombucha too sweet/sour?

Two frequently asked questions:

  • Is my kombucha too sweet?
  • Is my kombucha too sour?

Kombucha brews start off as sweet tea and end up as effervescent, acidic, somewhat dry kombucha. If a ferment is allowed to brew past its ideal drinking stage, it eventually looses its carbonation, becomes very acidic, and more or less starts to resemble apple cider vinegar.

Generally, it can be said that your kombucha will be ready when it tastes good to you. You can safely sample an ongoing kombucha ferment by using a straight straw, sneaking it around the edge of the SCOBY baby at the top of the brew as best you can not to disturb it, and taking  a sip from the bottom of the brew vessel. Ongoing brews cannot be trusted to be homogeneous; they will tend to be more acidic near the surface and more raw toward the bottom.

If you plan to bottle your kombucha and let it sit somewhere warm before drinking it in order to give it time to carbonate. If this is the case, you may consider bottling your kombucha two or three days before you estimate it to be at its prime drinking state. This kombucha will be a bit sweeter and thus contain more unprocessed sugar for the yeast to feed on while carbonating. This is an entirely optional measure; alternatively, you might add a teaspoon or so of sugar before bottling.

If your kombucha is deemed "too sour," there's not much you can do to reverse it. It is better to keep a close on your brew than neglect it, as once it is past a state of preferred flavor and effervescence, it will gradually brew into a vinegar within two weeks. One might attempt to cover up for a prolonged brew by adding addition sugars or flavors, or allowing it to refrigerate for several weeks to mellow and dry out in flavor. These methods, although haphazard, may result in a palatable beverage.

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