It’s wintertime, and for many of you, that means it is COLD! Having received a lot of questions lately on how kombucha is affected by the cold, I wanted to take some time and talk about it.
Brewing kombucha during the winter can pose some issues if your house runs below 75°F or so.
The sweet spot for the best kombucha is 78°F. At this temperature, the bacteria and yeast all thrive together. Keeping the cultures happy allows the fermentation to progress properly. As the temperature drops below 78°F, the yeast becomes more and more sluggish, and the fermentation duration begins to increase. After it gets cold enough, the yeast and bacteria will lose their power to protect themselves and can become susceptible to mold and other contaminants. See how to avoid mold when brewing kombucha for more information.
There are a couple of easy hacks that will help you get through winter and keep your cultures happy.
A few tricks to keeping your kombucha warm during winter:
- Probably the best option: purchase a kombucha heat mat. They’re well worth the money not to have to worry about maintaining the proper temperature.
- Use what you have.
- Your oven makes a great incubator. The oven light acts as a temperature regulator. Turn it on to preheat and place your brewing vessel right in there. Monitor the temperature with a thermometer as it can get too hot (mine gets to almost 110°F) in which you would turn the light off and let it hang out. Try to keep it around 80°F, no hotter.
- Wrap your brew vessel with Christmas lights. The heat from the lights helps bring up the temperature, while also providing an interesting conversation piece when friends and family come over!
- Not all places in your house are created equal. Explore the different spaces in your home and see if you have any warm spots. Often the top of the fridge is a warm spot from the rising heat. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight.
- When running at cooler temperatures (70°F-72°F), use more starter tea. Using more like 20% starter tea will give your cultures a slight upper hand to battle the elements. You should still expect longer fermentation times in this range.
If your house is always chilly, you may want 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. See What is Jun Kombucha to learn more!
Don’t let cold weather stop you from brewing. Use these few easy tricks to keep your cultures happy and healthy during the winter!