Brewing Kombucha in a Cold Kitchen

Brewing Kombucha in the Winter

Is Your Kombucha Brew Too Cold?

It’s wintertime, and for many of you, that means it is COLD! Having received a lot of questions lately on the proper temperature to brew kombucha, we wanted to take some time and address that issue.

Brewing kombucha during the winter can pose some issues if your house runs is cold. Ideally, kombucha likes to ferment between 75 and 85 degrees. If you live in Florida like me, that doesn’t seem so odd, but many of you say your kitchens are much colder.

Kombucha SCOBY

How to Keep Kombucha Warm

There are a few things you can do to help keep your kombucha brewing strong during the winter.

Use a Kombucha Heating Pad

First, and probably the best option, is to purchase a kombucha heating pad. They’re inexpensive and will keep your worries at bay by knowing for sure that your kombucha brew is warm enough to do its thing and do it well.

When the temperature drops, it’s not as if your kombucha will go bad. It’s the same idea as refrigeration. The fermentation just SLOWS as the temperature drifts below 75F. It does, however, increase the likelihood of mold growing on the surface, so you’ll just need to be careful about that. Curious about mold? we have a post that goes into detail on how to avoid mold in kombucha.

Kombucha Heating Pad - Keep Your Kombucha Warm

Use More Kombucha Starter Tea

Second, is to use more starter tea. The more starter tea you use, the quicker the ferment goes, a sure plus in the world of winter temperatures. When running an optimal temperature, 10% of starter tea is recommended. To achieve a similar timeline of seven to ten days in colder temperatures, try 20% or even 30% starter and adjust as necessary.

You can also use stronger starter tea, from a hotel or older brew. The stronger the tea, the more developed and effective it is at fermenting. Having a SCOBY hotel comes in handy! If kombucha is something you’re really getting into, add a SCOBY hotel to your ferment squad, you’ll thank yourself when it comes time to use it. More on SCOBY Hotels here.

Find the Warmest Spot

Third, is to take a thermometer and find the warmest place in the house. Not all areas or rooms in your home will be the same temperature as your thermostat. There’s no rule saying it has to stay in the kitchen, either. If there’s a spot in your house that is warmer than any place in your kitchen, go ahead and keep it there as long as it doesn’t receive direct sunlight! And don’t forget about it :).

Heating Kombucha With Oven Light

Get Creative

Fourth, get creative. Placing your kombucha brew above the refrigerator is common, as it’s usually the warmest spot in the kitchen. You can even place your jar in the oven with the oven light on for heat. Monitor the temperature and turn off the light once the desired temperature is achieved. Oven lights may run at different temps, though, so don’t forget this step. You don’t want the brew to get above 90F. I use this trick for proofing sourdough and inoculating tempeh, too. If you go this route, let the household know it’s in there, you don’t want someone preheating the oven for a pizza.  

Try Brewing Jun Kombucha

The fifth is to consider brewing Jun tea over traditional kombucha. Jun ferments comfortably at lower temperatures, between 68 and 77F, and maybe a better option if your house maintains those temperatures. You can refer to our post on what is jun kombucha to learn more! Want to learn how to make jun kombucha tea?

Don’t let the wintertime stop you from brewing!

If you have any cold weathered brewing advice, please contribute in the comments and let us know :)