Thursday, September 17, 2015

What is Water Kefir?

water kefir philippines

If you've never been to the fermenting world, you probably have not heard about water kefir. But if you’ve been following my kombucha brewing journey and been making kombucha tea yourself, you may have come across the topic water kefir, or I may have mentioned it to you once or twice. Water kefir is another type of fermented drink. I’m very tempted to call it fermented water, because that’s what really is. But most people raise their eyebrows when they hear “fermented water” and confused face that’s like asking “why would you ferment water?” Call me crazy, but I’m telling you, you should ferment water and make water kefir. Anyway, so what is water kefir?

Water kefir, also called as tibi, tibicos, Japanese water crystals and sugar kefir grains, is a type of fermented water cultured using water kefir grains. These grains are like kombucha’s SCOBY but they have different types of bacteria and different colonies of yeast. They are called grains, because they are small crystals, unlike kombucha SCOBY that is a lump of bacteria and yeast.

water kefir philippines

I have just started fermenting my own water kefir, but my mom used to make it about 7-8 years ago. I can’t remember if I tried her water kefir before, but she said she threw it away because couldn’t take care of it anymore. Also, it was growing like crazy and she was afraid it might grow inside her stomach. LOL.

So what’s in Water kefir?

Water kefir grains contain Lactobacillus, Streptococcus,Pediococcus and Leuconostoc bacteria with yeasts from Saccharomyces, Candida, Kloeckera according to Wikipedia. These bacteria and yeast are probiotics that are good for our gut health.

What does water kefir taste like?

Plain water kefir tastes like sugar water. When it ferments longer, it starts to taste tangy, like kombucha but lighter. If you don’t like the taste of Kombucha, you may like water kefir. You can also experiment with flavors as you can do second fermentation.

water kefir philippines
Fermenting water kefir. Photo by: Little Eco Footprints

What I love most about water kefir is the carbonation. Unlike Kombucha in which carbonation is quite difficult to achieve, in water kefir, you’ll have carbonation even if it’s only been a day since you fermented it. So if you’re into soda-like carbonation, you’ll love water kefir too.

Have you tasted water kefir before? If so, please tell me what you like about it in the comments below!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

How to Setup a Kombucha Continuous Brewing System

Credits to: Peachy Obligado

Do you always run out of kombucha tea? If you do, it's time to setup a Kombucha Continuous Brewing System.

Here are what you need:
  • a large glass jar with a metal/food grade plastic spigot
  • a clean piece of clothing or coffee filter
  • a rubber band
  • a kombucha SCOBY
  • starter tea from previous batch of Kombucha
  • water (depends on how many gallons you will make)
  • tea bags (for every gallon of kombucha you make, use at least 6-8 tea bags)
  • sugar (1 cup per every gallon)
What to do:
  1. Prepare your sweet tea by boiling your water. Once the water starts showing bubbles, turn off the fire and steep your tea for 8 or more minutes depending on how strong you want your tea. 
  2. Remove the tea bags and add your sugar. Stir until the sugar has been completely dissolved.
  3. Let the sweet tea cool down. Once it has cooled down, pour it over to your glass jar with spigot.
  4. Pour your starter tea and SCOBY to the jar. 
  5. Cover it with a piece of clothing or a coffee filter and secure with a rubber band.
  6. Wait for 3-10 days or until your kombucha tastes tart and a little sweet. Once your kombucha is ready, you can harvest your produce by bottling and flavoring.
  7. Refill your CB system with sweet tea. 
Wait there's more!

As you can see, making a continuous brewing system is not very different from making kombucha by batch. But the beauty of making a CB system is that you can have kombucha anytime you want and on tap, because you can make more than a gallon. 

Note: Whenever you get kombucha tea from your CB system, replace it with the same amount of sweet tea. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Kombucha Tea Second Fermentation

Blackberry Kombucha Tea

The best thing about making your own Kombucha tea is that you can experiment with the flavors and have fun doing it! When you're done with your first fermentation (when you make unflavored kombucha), you can choose to do second fermentation. This is the stage when you play with flavors. So, how do you do this?

How to do Kombucha tea second fermentation?

To do this, you need to harvest your produce and put them in bottles or mason jars. Meaning, you need to get the Kombucha tea you have fermented for 3 or more days. (When doing this, make sure your hands, funnels, bowls and whatever you will be using are clean. I would even suggest to use clean gloves). Also, don't forget to leave at least a cup of Kombucha tea to your jar. This will serve as your starter tea, if ever you will be brewing another batch.

Once you are done with first fermentation and have all the tea in bottles, this is when your start flavoring your kombucha tea (click this link to learn how to flavor your booch). When you're done flavoring your Kombucha tea, this is the time when you need to let it go on to second fermentation.

To do that, just keep your bottled k-teas outside the fridge. You can keep it in your kitchen tables, pantry or counter top or inside a cooler without the ice. Just make sure they're safe. Let them sit there for about 1-3 days then do a taste test.

In the Philippines, since it is hot, Kombucha tea ferments faster. So, I suggest that you taste test after a few hours. If the taste is right to you, then go drink it. If you want a richer flavor, let it go for a few more hours to days. But keep in mind that the longer it ferments, the more tangy it will become. And if you want to ferment them longer, you need to burp them to let the air come out of the bottles and avoid explosion.

Once your kombucha tea tastes right to you, you can either drink it straight up or keep them in the fridge. That will continue to ferment in the fridge, but the fermentation process will slow down.

If you have questions about Kombucha tea, message us on Facebook.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How to Store a Kombucha SCOBY?

Do you have a Kombucha SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) but don't have time to brew your own booch yet? If so, you may be asking, "How do I store my scoby?"

Many people have asked me about this question. Most of them are worried. Well guys, stop being anxious about your SCOBY. For all I know, SCOBYs are really forgiving. If you don't want to use them yet, because you don't have the materials or ingredients to make your own Kombucha, or whatever is your reason, the best thing to do, is to keep them in a small jar, or a glass bowl. Then, make sure you include the starter that came with it when you acquired it and cover it with a clean piece of cloth or the lid of your jar. Or if you got the SCOBY from me, just keep it as it is. Yes, in the ziplock bag with the starter tea.

Keep them safe!

You don't need to refrigerate the SCOBY. Just keep it in a safe and warm place. Once you are ready to make your own Kombucha tea at home, your SCOBY will be stronger and bigger.

Friday, February 13, 2015

What Type of Tea Can I Use to Make Kombucha?

Kombucha Tea with SCOBY
Lately people have asked me what type and brand of tea I am using in brewing my Kombucha tea. So today, I'm going to answer that question here.

What Brand of Tea should I use to brew Kombucha tea?

To me, brand doesn't really matter. My philosophy is that, as long as you can read and pronounce the labels and it's organic, it's good to go. The only brands of tea that I've used so far are Stash and the custom-blended tea of GetKombucha and I've never had problems. Therefore, it's up to you what brand of tea you want to use.

Green, Black, White, Oolong, Herbal Tea or Flavored Tea?

Green, Yellow, Oolong and Black Tea

As for the type of tea to use in brewing Kombucha tea, I think most Kombucha brewers would agree to stick with black, green, white, oolong or a combination of these four. Why?

Kombucha needs tannins.

Tannins are a class of compound that can be found in Camellia Sinensis, or the real teas (black, green, white and oolong. This is what gives tea astringent and the bitter taste. It is also what gives Kombucha some of its goodness. Kombucha needs tannin, aside from sugar, to brew.

If it's your first time to brew Kombucha tea and your SCOBY is still young, I suggest you use the teas with tannins instead of Herbal and Flavored tea, to make a healthy environment for your culture.

What if I couldn't find the right Tea?

As I've said above, if it's your first time to brew Kombucha tea, use only real teas. If it's not your first time and you have a spare SCOBY, go on. I've tried using flavored tea to brew Kombucha and although I didn't encounter any issues, the SCOBY didn't grow.

If you still want to try Herbal and Flavored teas, use it during second fermentation. So that you can still get the flavor that you like.

I hope this answers your question about what type of tea to use in brewing Kombucha tea. If you have other questions, please leave a comment below.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

How to Flavor Kombucha Tea?

Kombucha tea is delicious as it is, but when it is flavored, it is even more yummy. My favorite part about making my own Kombucha tea at home is when I add flavor. Why? Because it's so fun and you can use any flavor that you fancy. So if you want to take your Kombucha tea to the next level, I suggest you do second fermentation, also called as 2f, and start flavoring your booch.

How to flavor Kombucha tea?

It's easy, just add anything you like.

Yes, you can add just about anything you like to add to your Kombucha tea. But I usually use fruits, whether fresh, dried, candied and preserves. Some people use hibiscus, jasmine and other flowers and herbs. Some people also use spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc.

Using Fruits to Flavor

Like I said, using fruits to flavor Kombucha tea is the most common practice. If you are going to this route, I suggest using fresh fruits. If you can't find fresh fruits, you can use frozen. Once you have found a fruit you want to use, you can chop them or squeeze the juices if you have a juicer and add that to your kombucha tea.

Mango Kombucha Tea

Rule of the thumb: If you're flavoring using chopped fruits, use 20%-30% flavor and 70%-80% Kombucha Tea. If you're using fruit juice, use 10%-20% fruit juice and 80%-90% Kombucha tea.

Fruits You Can Use to Flavor Kombucha tea:

  1. Mango
  2. Pineapple
  3. Orange
  4. Strawberry
  5. Cherries
  6. Grapes
  7. Grapefruit
  8. Blackberry
  9. Blueberry
  10. Peaches
  11. Kiwi
  12. Elderberries
  13. Lemon
  14. Watermelon
  15. Banana
  16. Pear

Using Spices to Flavor

Honestly, I've never tried flavoring Kombucha tea with a plain spice. When I add spice, I also add fruits; like Apple and cinnamon. So, I cannot give you an objective advice. If you're going to add spices, I suggest to go by how strong you want the flavor to be.

Pineapple Kombucha

Spices You Can Use to Flavor Kombucha tea:

  1. Cinnamon
  2. Chai Spice
  3. Nutmeg
  4. Vanilla beans
  5. Pumpkin pie spice

Using Herbs to Flavor

Herbs can also be used to flavor Kombucha. When adding herbs, it's best to experiment until you get your desired strength. 

Herbs You Can Use for Flavor:

  1. Jasmine
  2. Lemongrass
  3. Lavender
  4. Chamomile
  5. Pandan leaves
If you have already flavored your Kombucha tea, the next thing to do is to let it sit for 1-3 days at room temperature if you want to do second fermentation. If you don't want to wait for a few more days like me, then drink your flavored Kombucha tea right away. 

Want to start brewing your own Kombucha tea at home? Find out where you can find Kombucha tea in the Philippines here.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

How to Make Kombucha Tea at Home

Most people think that making Kombucha tea at home is challenging and not worth the effort. What they didn't know is that it's fun (and it feels like you are inside Dexter's Laboratory experimenting with ugly SCOBY) and it's totally easy! Not to mention you can save a lot of money from making your own, instead of buying.

So how do you make your own Kombucha Tea at home?

Makes 1 Gallon of Kombucha Tea. If you want to brew more, adjust the recipe as you see fit.


  1. Live Kombucha SCOBY/Kombucha Culture/Kombucha Mother
  2. 6-8 green/black/white tea bags
  3. 1 cup of sugar (either white or brown. organic is preferred)
  4. 1 gallon of water
  5. 1 cup starter tea

Equipment Needed:

  1. A gallon jar
  2. A clean piece of cloth or coffee filter
  3. A rubber band
  4. Stainless steel pot


(For first fermentation or 1F)
  1. Place 4 cups of water to your pot and bring it to boil. (Tip: don't let the water boil completely. Once it starts showing bubbles, add the tea bags. This will help in keeping oxygen in the water and will help you get a nice fizz.)
  2. Once it boils up, add your tea bags. (Don't stir!)
  3. After 8-10 minutes, remove your tea bags and add 1 cup of sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Mix your sweet tea to the rest of your water and pour it to your jar.
  5. Add in the Kombucha starter tea to your sweet tea and mix.
  6. Add in your Kombucha SCOBY to the mixture. 
    Kombucha SCOBY
  7. Cover your jar with the cloth and secure it with a rubber band. Place it in a dry and warm place.
  8. Wait for 3-7 days.
  9. After 3 days, taste your kombucha tea. If the taste is tart and sweet to your liking, it's good to go! You can now drink it as it is or mix it with your favorite fruit juice or you can go on to second fermentation.
Bottled Kombucha Tea. Pineapple and orange flavor.

Note: Don't bottle all your Kombucha tea after first fermentation. Leave at least 1 cup. That will serve as your starter tea the next time you make a new batch.

Mango Kombucha Tea

Want to start brewing Kombucha tea? Find out where you can score a SCOBY and a starter tea here.