“Kombucha Tastes Like Vinegar!”
Have you heard this one before? While many first time drinkers say that Kombucha has a distinct vinegar-like flavor, the taste buds of long-time drinkers are often recalibrated to barely register the tartness of properly fermented Kombucha.
However, if allowed to ferment aerobically for a long time (at least 30-60 days or more in a small batch), the resulting liquid will grow more and more sharply sour until it can rightly be classified as Kombucha Vinegar, almost definitely too sour a flavor for sipping by even the most iron-stomached of Kombucha connoisseurs.
If you brew Kombucha for any length of time, at some point you will forget about a batch or just end up leaving a few Kombucha mothers in fermented tea for longer than normal.
Don’t worry, it’s not ruined…In fact, it now has even more uses around the house and can help you brew up a quick batch of booch too!
What is Vinegar?
Vinegar has been in use as a flavoring agent, preservative and health tonic for over 10,000 years and can be fermented from nearly any sugar containing fruit. The word vinegar comes from the French “vin aigre,” literally sour wine, and was likely discovered by accident when wine was allowed to go bad in the vat. Sour refers not only to the taste but to the fact that it is fermented.
Not unlike Kombucha, the naturally occurring sugars of the grapes, malt, rice or other base ingredient for the vinegar is fermented into alcohol by yeast. Then bacteria consume the alcohol and convert it to healthy acids including acetic acid. Kombucha, like vinegar, is an acetic acid ferment.
Vinegar is well known to have many uses: from treating wounds, to cleaning, to salad dressing, it’s versatile and useful.
Kombucha Vinegar vs. Vinegar: Similar but Different
The typical drinkable Kombucha ferment contains about 1% acetic acid. Compare that to the average vinegar (apple cider or white), which is quite potent in its original state and is diluted to around 5% acetic acid, and it’s clear that Kombucha is much less acidic and less concentrated.
Acetic acid, created by our bacteria the acetobacter, is responsible for Kombucha’s “bite” as well as some benefits. Kombucha vinegar will range higher in acetic acid concentration than regular Kombucha depending on many factors including the time of ferment, amount of sugar, amount of culture used, etc. A typical Kombucha vinegar will contain around 2% acetic acid concentration.
In addition to being easier to drink and containing a wide variety of healthful acids and vitamins, what sets Kombucha apart from vinegar is gluconic acid. Gluconic acid is a highly effective chelator which pulls heavy metals and other toxins from the body. It also imparts a sweet/sour flavor and inhibits bitterness.
How to Make Kombucha Vinegar
If you don’t already have some very old Kombucha fermenting away, Kombucha vinegar is easy to make. Simply allow a batch of Kombucha to ferment until all of the sugar is consumed; usually at least 6-10 weeks is needed. You will know that all the sugar has been converted when the Kombucha tastes really sour.
If you would like to ramp up the power of your vinegar, add 2 teaspoons per pint of vinegar to restart the fermentation process, giving it at least 2 weeks to ferment that sugar away. You can repeat this process as often as desired to increase the acidity of the brew.
Once it has turned to vinegar, you may choose to add herbs to steep in additional flavor. These can be left as long as desired, but in general we recommend straining out the herbs eventually to extend the life of the vinegar. Then use it according to the recipes below. You may already have a small amount of vinegar available in your SCOBY Hotel.
For more about Kombucha Vinegar plus additional recipes, see page 256 of The Big Book of Kombucha.
Here are some of the most popular ways to use Kombucha vinegar:
1. Hair Wash/Tonic/Rinse
A beauty secret of many celebrities is to remove built-up residue from artificial products using a natural vinegar hair rinse . The acetic acid cuts through the gunk, stripping the dull hair and returning a natural sheen. Kombucha is gentler on the hair than vinegar but just as effective. Some use Kombucha as a hair tonic after every shampoo.
We use the Kombucha vinegar on our hair, diluted 50% with filtered water. After rinsing out the shampoo, we apply the Kombucha hair tonic straight to the scalp, starting with the top of my head and working down, squeezing out the excess and rinsing lightly. The aroma quickly dissipates as your hair dries. We like to add herbs for a nice aroma and hair beautifying benefits.
A growing number of people are moving away from chemical laden shampoos altogether by trying out the “No-Poo” lifestyle. Kombucha hair rinse is one option if you want to try “No-Poo”, as it leaves hair soft, shiny, and controls oil.
RECIPES – Herbal Infusions for Hair Tonic
Check out the table below for a variety of herbs to use for different hair types and problems:
There are a couple of different ways to utilize the herbs. We usually add them straight to very old Kombucha, then let them sit for at least a few weeks, breaking down the plant and soaking up the herbal goodness. From there, strain out the flower pieces so they don’t get stuck in hair. Once strained, store the hair tonic in a glass bottle in the shower.
**USE CAUTION & YOUR BEST JUDGEMENT
WHEN STORING OR USING GLASS BOTTLES IN YOUR SHOWER OR TUB**
Another way to infuse the herbs is to steep them in a small amount of hot water for 2 hours or in cold filtered water for 48 hours. Strain and add the liquid to your Kombucha vinegar – this has the added benefit of diluting the old KT. A 50/50 Kombucha to water mix is a good starting point for experimentation.
2. Facial Toner
Vinegar used on the skin has a tonifying effect, inspiring cellular regeneration by stimulating the small capillaries under the skin. The weak acid gently dissolves the bonds that hold dead skin cells together and creates a mild, completely natural acid peel which exfoliates. Because Kombucha Vinegar is at a lower concentration than regular vinegar, this toner can be used daily if desired. Its mild antiseptic properties rebalance the skin’s natural pH, preventing an imbalance of bacteria that can lead to acne.
RECIPE – Lavender Rose Facial Toner
Add 1 Tbsp lavender flowers & 1 Tbsp rose petals to 2 cups of Kombucha vinegar. Allow to steep for 2 weeks. Strain flowers. Apply toner to cotton ball and gently swab face. May be used daily.
Regular drinkers of Kombucha report that drinking 4-8oz of KT daily helps curb sugar cravings, which in turn helps clear up acne from the inside!
3. Cleaning Fluid
Most commercially produced cleaners carry a skull and crossbones – if they are so toxic, then do you really want them on your countertops?
Vinegar has a long history as a cleaning fluid. Here are just a few of the ways in which you can use Kombucha vinegar in your household cleansing routine. For loads more cleaning tips, check out this site.
RECIPE & USES
- Use full strength in a spray bottle on all surfaces. Wipe clean with a soft cloth – no rinsing needed. Add a drop or two of tea tree oil or lavender oil for anti microbial properties and a pleasant scent.
- Spray down showers and tubs to reduce soap scum.
- Add ½ cup of Kombucha vinegar to the wash to brighten colors and soften clothes.
- Remove mineral deposits from your coffee maker or dishwasher – run 1 cup of Kombucha vinegar through a cycle.
- Add ½ Kombucha and ½ water to a bowl. Boil in microwave. Wipe microwave clean.
- To keep the drain running – Pour baking soda down a drain, follow with Kombucha vinegar. When foaming stops, rinse with hot water. Repeat until clog is loosened.
4. Salad Dressing
Kombucha vinegar can be infused with any number of herbs, garlic or savory spices to create unique, flavorful dressings. Greens are often bitter – adding salt makes the greens taste more palatable. Several vitamins found in vegetables are fat soluble so the olive oil aids in delivering them to the body. Plus you get a small dose of beneficial bacteria to help digest your food more efficiently.
Add your favorite herbs to old Kombucha. Allow to infuse for 2 weeks. Strain and combine with your favorite oil, salt and spices.
RECIPE – Hannah’s Mustard Vinaigrette
- ½ cup of old Kombucha
- 2 Tb of rosemary, oregano, sage, parsley and mint – fresh herbs, chopped fine
- 1 tsp ground mustard (THRIVE, AMZ)
- 1 clove garlic (or 1 tsp garlic powder) (THRIVE, AMZ)
After the herbs have infused then combine ¼ cup of Kombucha vinegar with ¾ cup of extra virgin olive oil (THRIVE, AMZ), 1 tsp ground mustard, 1 tsp garlic powder (or 1 clove of fresh garlic finely chopped), salt (THRIVE, AMZ) & pepper (THRIVE, AMZ) to taste. If the mixture is too tart, add a pinch of sugar. Whisk all ingredients together until combined. Pour over salad.
Marinades not only add flavor to meat or tofu dishes but also break down the meats tough fibers. Weak acids like lemon juice, vinegar or wine work best at accomplishing both of these tasks. For less expensive cuts of meat that are known to be tougher, marinating is essential.
Beef and tougher cuts can be marinated for several hours or overnight. For tender meats like pork, only a few hours is needed. I use Kombucha vinegar when I brine a chicken for roasting.
RECIPE – Kombucha Chicken Brine for Roast Whole Chicken
We like to get whole organic, free range chicken at the local co-op. Kombucha Brine can help produce a moist, juicy bird every time.
- One orange, Two limes, One lemon – cut in half & juiced
- 1 cup of quality sea salt
- 1 cup of Kombucha vinegar
- 2 T sugar
- sprigs of rosemary, thyme, oregano, lavender
Chop fresh herbs – rosemary, thyme, oregano and combine with ½ cup of softened butter. Apply liberally to exterior of chicken after brining for delicious flavor and crispy skin.
Add the whole chicken to a deep pot or bowl. Cover the chicken with filtered or fresh water. Add all ingredients. Make sure the chicken remains submerged in the liquid. Store in the fridge overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Drain liquid from the chicken. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Gently loosen the skin of the chicken using your fingers. Insert pieces of garlic and herbed butter/ghee/coconut oil under the skin. Place in roasting pan and bake for 30 minutes. Every 10 minutes, baste the chicken with herb butter. Broil on high for 2-3 minutes to crisp up the skin. Remove from oven when thermometer reads 165 F and juices run clear.
What is your favorite use for Kombucha vinegar?
Leave a comment below!
D AndersonJanuary 4, 2023 at 4:29 am
This is going to sound crazy but it is 100% true. I’ve been “raising” SCOBYs since the early 90’s. At times I would have more than I knew what to do with, so I started putting some of the liquid in a spray bottle and spritzing my plants. They went from zero to a hundred in a matter of days. They became very lush and their growth intensified. I’ve not heard of anyone doing this but it works!
AndreaNovember 4, 2022 at 11:10 pm
Ancient Kombucha is excellent as a moss killer on pavement and the results last for months. It is also good as a weed killer.
AlexandraOctober 21, 2022 at 2:47 pm
You don’t mention boiling – I got some advice to boil the Kombucha before using as vinegar. Not sure what the purpose of that would be. Anyway, it is not necessary?
Also, do I have to put a lid on it? After 60 days, is there any change would it be bubbly?
Anthea TayagOctober 24, 2022 at 4:29 pm
Some choose to pasteurize for a longer shelf life, however that’s not necessary – similar to raw apple cider vinegar, we can leave KV (Kombucha Vinegar) at room temp. It may grow another mother or not. That said, non-pasteurized KV will continue to ferment and you may see bubbles or a new mother. You may cover with a cloth of plastic lid, never metal.
MelissaNovember 24, 2021 at 7:10 pm
Hi there! I’ve been following your helpful advice and brewing my own kombucha. I only do a single fermentation, leaving it on my counter and drinking about 1/4 cup a day treating it as medicine for my digestive issues and acid reflux. Unfortunately it ferments quicker than I can drink it (I’m brewing 1 gallon). The current jar has been fermenting for 3 months and is quite vinegary so I’ve been diluting about 1/4 cup of kombucha vinegar with 1 cup of filtered water to drink it instead of making a new batch.. is it okay to do this/ continue drinking it as a vinegar as long as it’s diluted? Or do I need to find other uses for it and make a new batch to drink? Thank so much for your help!
Hannah CrumFebruary 26, 2022 at 6:42 pm
Hi Melissa! Yes, drinking well aged Kombucha or KV (Kombucha Vinegar) diluted with water is very beneficial as it has a higher organic acid content. Buffering it with the water is key so that the pH shifts and it tastes better – like lemon in your water =)
PemaMarch 26, 2021 at 1:56 am
Hi there! I just got the Big Book of Kombucha and am *loving* it. I started a batch of kombucha vinegar, and have a question. I put it in a mason jar with a top, and then realized that perhaps it still needs to breathe to ferment further. Is that correct? Do you leave it with a breathable top to ferment? That specific direction probably wasn’t included because perhaps it’s so obvious, but just wanted to check! Thank you so much! <3 Pema
Hannah CrumApril 2, 2021 at 5:58 pm
Yes – here is a post with more information –> Cloth Cover or Hard Lid
LaraSeptember 14, 2020 at 10:49 am
I was gone for quite a while and forgot about my brewing kombucha. Now I have around 2 gallons of k-vinegar. Your post gives me really good recommendations on how to use the k-vinegar but now I need to know what to do with the SCOBY. Your instructions say to include 1-2 cups strong kombucha, but mine is now vinegar. Will that reproduce vinegar? Can I use this SCOBY to start over? Can I use this sour liquid to create kombucha? Do I need to dispose of the SCOBY in my compost pile and start my brew over from scratch? This is my first time trying to make my own kombucha so I don’t have a Hotel started. I’ve searched your site to find an answer but haven’t found one yet. How do I start over?
Hannah CrumMay 16, 2021 at 2:51 pm
Sounds like you are overthinking it. Grab one of the SCOBYs, add some starter liquid to a batch of sweet tea, voila – now you’ve started over! Its really simple – just give it a try. Here’s the recipe again in case you need a refresher.
TobyMay 16, 2020 at 9:58 pm
How can I measure the amount of sugar in my finished kombucha?
Hannah CrumMay 16, 2021 at 3:04 pm
Its a bit challenging to do so at home. You might try a refractometer for a ball park measure.
PollyApril 4, 2020 at 2:31 am
I just discovered a three year old jar of jun vinegar in the cupboard. It has formed multiple scobys. Two questions, is the vinegar still edible and can I use the scobys to brew a fresh batch of jun? I
Hannah CrumMay 16, 2021 at 3:07 pm
Yes! Give them a go – they might be weak to start, but after a few cycles will be back up to speed. Mold is the indicator that anything is wrong.
Thiago RossatoSeptember 10, 2019 at 6:38 am
For hair tonic, the recommended herbs must be used all togheter, or just one of them?
Hannah CrumOctober 1, 2019 at 4:35 pm
Use any combination you like, one or more from each “category” you want in your tonic. The exact combination is a personal choice, not all need be included. 🙂
Cintia FerreiraJune 24, 2019 at 9:38 am
Great advice on dandruff, can`t believe I`m struggling with the problem while the solution is sitting in the kitchen counter! My only concern is having kombucha run down the drain, I`ve heard terrible stories of scobies growing up and causing trouble. Any advice on that?
Hannah CrumJune 28, 2019 at 3:10 pm
SCOBYS need a sugar source in order to thrive – have not come across anyone who has actually had this problem ever (we live in the digital age, surely photos would exist somewhere!) so do not worry and give it a try!
Uncurl DIY Brazilian Keratin TreatmentApril 14, 2019 at 5:03 am
This piece was delightful on every level. Glad I never threw away the six bottles of over-fermented kombucha that are so explosive I can open them only outdoors!
SallyNovember 13, 2018 at 7:25 pm
Wow! great ideas and so glad that you all found so many ways to turn vinegar into awesomeness!
LynneAugust 2, 2018 at 7:01 pm
I way over brewed a batch and so appreciate the k vinegar tips! I threw out most of my scoby since it was really thick and felt like plastic it was so firm! I was able to peel off enough to start my next batch. For the future are there any thoughts about using the scoby like this? Or get rid of it? Also my big question, I have my scoby hotel in the fridge. Is it supposed to be out?
Hannah CrumAugust 3, 2018 at 4:56 pm
Hi Lynne – glad the post helped! Yes, there are definitely uses for your old SCOBY –> https://www.kombuchakamp.com/kombucha-scoby-cultures-top-5-other-uses We also recommend removing your SCOBY Hotel from the fridge –> https://www.kombuchakamp.com/scoby-hotel-video-quick-tip
JohnJune 21, 2018 at 3:07 pm
What I do is mix some KV with freshly made KT so that I get the degree of soreness that I prefer and drink it down. I’m also assured that I get the right amount of gluconic acid in the process as well as other enzymes.
Autumn LindsethApril 25, 2018 at 10:26 am
How long is too long? I left mine brewing for over a year and the scoby has grown to fill at least half of the jug. Can I use these to make more? It looks really happy in there.
Hannah CrumJune 28, 2019 at 3:20 pm
We advise adding some sweet tea first to see if it reproduces and then use the fresh growth in a new vessel. Older SCOBYs can take a few batches to get back up to speed.
JodyFebruary 4, 2018 at 2:20 pm
How do you store KT vinegar or hair/skin tonic? Fridge or cupboard? Real cap or fabric cover? Don’t want it to explode! If counter, won’t it keep brewing and make a scoby? Don’t want to try to get that out of my hair!
Hannah CrumJune 28, 2019 at 3:14 pm
KV already has less sugar and therefore won’t fizz. Store in a cupboard just like regular vinegar.
Susan MartinOctober 28, 2017 at 9:58 pm
I made a batch of kombucha tea, and thoroughly mixed, placed them in two 2-L glass containers as I did not have a gallon jar. After 12 days, (the weather is getting cold here) I bottled them. One jar tasted a tad on the sweet side and a little fizzy. The other jar was quite vinegary. What would cause this? thank you
Hannah CrumJuly 7, 2018 at 9:54 am
Its the nature of the brew – since the organisms in each vessel vary slightly, so too will the brews even if done side by side on the same day with the same ingredients. Welcome to the magic of fermentation!
Linda harrisonJune 20, 2017 at 6:01 am
I like to use is to soak my fruit and veg to remove waxes and chemicles I dilute it in purified water and leave fruit and veg for 20 minutes.
MarkMay 16, 2017 at 7:28 am
I’ve brewed some kombucha vinegar on accident, 18 gallons of it actually. Can I just use it in place of starter?
Hannah CrumMay 3, 2018 at 5:39 pm
Yes! Kombucha Vinegar can definitely be used as starter liquid.
Basia BartoszApril 9, 2016 at 10:24 am
Just tried something that had been brewing in the back of my brain for awhile. Having recently fallen in love with Korean hydro-gel beauty masks, I wondered if I could make my own from an “old” scoby that had formed in my hotel. Since the hotel is a 2 gallon jar, the scobies are fairly large, and this one, being fairly new, was relatively thin. I took the plastic backing from one of my Korean masks and used that as a template for cutting eye openings and a nose vent. Although the scoby wasn’t large enough to cover my whole face, it covered the forehead, around the eyes, over the nose and on top of the upper lip! I left the scoby on for 1/2 hour, then removed it gently. WOW!! It made my skin look TERRIFIC!! I took the scoby/mask & dropped it into a little Mason jar with some KTV to keep it full of those gorgeous acids and enzymes. With careful handling, I should be able to reuse it several times!!
Hope EilertsonMarch 2, 2016 at 5:43 pm
1/4 cup Blueberry Kombucha (left to turn to vinegar)
2 Tbs Honey (I used wildflower)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or grape seed oil)
1/2 cup fresh Blueberry s
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until combined.
Will keep in fridge for at least a week.
VanessaFebruary 12, 2016 at 12:35 am
Hi, I had to find your page again to comment, I use kombucha vinegar for everything that requires lemon juice or a little tartness. Ive been making delicious hommus with it lately and even put a dash in mashed potato.
But tonight I had a brainwave, coconut oil wasn’t doing much for my son’s cradle cap, but KV and a soft brush- its nearly gone! I cant wait to wash it gently tomorrow, in sure we’ve seen the last of it 🙂
MichelleApril 20, 2015 at 6:46 am
I accidentally made ktv,at first I was bummed. Then I remembered seeing store bought vinegar infused with various herbs.I bought sprigs of rosemary and used lots of garlic (we are garlaholics)and placed my gallon of vinegar in the fridge. I have been using this mixture for salad dressing and to make Xtra sour dough bread that has hints of rosemary and garlic. I put flour,some sugar and a pinch of pink hymilayn saland set in a warm place in the kitchen. I feed my mixture for a few days. When it gets really bubbles, I then make my artisan sour dough bread!I love it Xtra sour and the garlic makes it so yummy.I have used my mixer with the dough hook when the dough is sticky, but manageable I turn it out onto a floured surface and knead, let it rise and I form the dough in a round shape when iraises again I place it on a stone baking sheet bake ware and bake at 350.lately I’ve been adding some virgin olive oil to my dough mixture.
AngieApril 16, 2015 at 3:13 pm
I have been brewing KT vinegar for a couple of years now. It is my favorite household cleaner. The longer I let it ferment I have started to notice crystals forming on the cloth covering the top and around the edge of the container above the liquid. I was wondering if anyone else had noticed this happening. Possibly acetic acid crystals? These are definitely crystals of some kind, not mold, and only seems to happen when the vinegar ferments quite a long time and evaporates some. Anyone else seen this?
Hannah CrumApril 21, 2015 at 6:34 am
My first thought is they could be sugar crystals if the KV isn’t sour enough. Crystals may also form in cooler temps so as it warms up, you may find the crystals disappear.
LISAMarch 27, 2015 at 10:23 am
Firstly, after reading all these comments I may have answered my first question….and that is, I have so many scobies now that I used multiple in my usual batch brewing jars and let it sit for the usual 7-10 days and it was strong like vinegar so I’m assuming that multiple scobies have sped up the process so as to make it taste vinegary? OK well am glad I have learnt a whole lot of new ways with KV then here……
Secondly, I see Hannah your wrote never to put the scobies in the fridge, but I was told this is the hotel for when you are not using them…now I am confused….can you clarify so I can take them out of the fridge or not….I just have so many and not enough containers for the tea.
Finally, I do have one large plastic water bottle that holds 5 litres which I used with my last brew, I know I should use glass but it held all that I needed it to hold…..I put it in the fridge and it was fine…..can u tell me if this is ok, and could the bottle have exploded from the pressure a)if I had left it out of fridge and/or b) in the fridge?
Thanks for answering my Qs….I’m going to add some herbs to my KV now so I can get rid of this dandruff I’ve had for the past few years…..hopefully…
Hannah CrumApril 8, 2015 at 11:25 pm
1) Yes – that is why it is so vinegary – too many SCOBYs
2) Take them out of the fridge. They may need to be composted and from the sound of it, you have more than you need, so it might be a perfect time to let some go. Here are some other uses for SCOBYs.
3) Some prefer to 2F in plastic because it is not prone to explosions whereas others are concerned that the acidic Kombucha will leach toxins from the plastic. Of course, bottling in glass always runs the risk of explosion (at room temperature). Pick your preference!
SusanMay 6, 2014 at 8:20 am
Shrubs are becoming popular again. Has anyone made any shrubs with KV?
HeidiFebruary 28, 2014 at 4:29 am
Thank you so much! I wasn’t sure what to do with my forgotten Kombucha so thank you for answering my questions.
LeaFebruary 10, 2014 at 9:09 pm
Hi there. I have been trying to get my kombucha vinegar to taste as strong as apple cider vinegar. i find that i can hardly taste it on salads etc. should i add more sugar or something- if i specifically want vinegar rather than kombucha?
Hannah CrumFebruary 14, 2014 at 4:24 pm
Adding sugar will help to increase the tartness – that and allowing it to ferment for longer.
IvanaJanuary 25, 2014 at 12:16 am
Thank you so much for your suggestions- I found this page after returning from a 2 month trip and coming home to big jar of kombucha vinegar. I started using it as conditioner, instead of apple cider vinegar. After infusing it with Kaffir lime (aka bergamot) my hair has never been so beautiful and soft, and my chronic dandruff is completely gone. Kaffir lime is traditionally used in Southeast Asia for healthy hair. The peel contains the natural oil with the beneficial properties, so I cut it off the fruit and let it soak in the kombucha vinegar for 1-2 weeks like you suggested. It makes for a delicious citrusey scent. I also put a little bit of kombucha vinegar in face masks- mixed with tumeric, yogurt, fresh aloe gel, honey and spirulina- and it leaves my skin hydrated, exfoliated and plumped up. I’m just careful about getting it in the eyes- the pro-biotic bacteria can cause irritation.
MaryBeth DrakeDecember 9, 2013 at 11:17 am
I am always trying to get stickers off glass jars and bottles to reuse for craft storage and other household storage. I have used Goo Gone which works okay but is expensive and hard to find. I read online that vinegar is good for dissolving gooey stickers so I tried it. Presto! It works great! Today I was cleaning out my Kombucha making jar and tasted the liquid that had been languishing there for a few months. Woo Hoo! VINEGAR! WOW! I decided to try it to remove the stickers from a pretty liquor bottle. I had strained it through some coffee filters to get the boogies out, so I laid those on top of the sticker! WHOOPIE! It works even better! I still had to scrape a little but it really dissolved that goop left by the sticker. I will bottle the vinegar and label it for other household uses!
Ron BowrenOctober 11, 2013 at 1:11 am
I just bottled my third batch via the continuous brew method, and my system is working great so far. The Booch tastes great, and my SCOBY is pure white and healthy looking.
After I brewed my first batch, I drew out 8 – 16oz bottles of Booch. I filled the bottles close to the top, then placed them in a large plastic storage box (in case there might be a leak or busted bottle), and covered the bottles with a black bath towel…then placed it in my kitchen pantry.
I then brewed 4 cups of new tea (4 green & 2 Breakfast Black Tea and distilled H20), and let it brew for 10 minutes, then stirred in 1 cup of organic sugar while it was still hot.
Next step was to pour the hot sugared tea back into the 1-gallon distilled water bottle, and shake it up. I then checked the temp with a stainless steel food thermometer, and each time it has checked at just below 80 degrees F.
I then poured the gallon of new tea into the crock to replace the gallon I had removed.
So far this has worked perfect for me, and easy to do without too much fuss. During the bottling process I have been trying a few different flavors, and they have all tasted good, just very little Fizz so far.
During the last batch I filled each bottle all the way to the top, then used the new caps I purchased from Hanna (instead of the old plastic GT ones). The nice thing about the new caps is that the inside of each cap drops down into the bottle a little, just enough to help displace any air that might have gotten trapped in the bottle and prevent the CO2 production we want.
So at this point I have one batch in the fridge (that I am drinking), and two batches in the pantry covered and fermenting. Going to let the second batch ferment for 7 days this time, and the third batch maybe for 10 days? Hope that puts the Fizz into Booch that I am looking for. So for now I am a happy camper!
Hannah CrumOctober 22, 2013 at 8:54 pm
Yay! Glad to hear you are enjoying your CB. As for the fizz, you may want to remove the bottles from the fridge for a few moments to let the yeast wake up. When it is too cold, they may not make any bubbles. I personally never put my booch in the fridge and drink it over ice when I want it cold.
IreneMay 23, 2021 at 9:26 pm
If you don’t store finished booch in the fridge, does it not keep fermenting leading to an explosion??
Hannah CrumJune 6, 2021 at 12:15 pm
When making vinegar, we’ve left it with a cloth cover until the sugar has been consumed and turned into vinegar. Thus, just like raw apple cider vinegar, we can safely stored the closed bottle at room temperature without fear of explosion.
TobiSeptember 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm
I let me first batch sit for a month before adding mango for the 2nd fermentation. I tried it 2 days later and it is super vinegary! Since I added mango can I still make vinegar out of it? I have it in the fridge right now so should I remove the mango and let it sit on the counter for awhile?
Hannah CrumSeptember 17, 2013 at 6:40 am
Yes – use it for marinades and salad dressings. You may want to strain the fruit out if you will be storing it for a longer period as the fruit may cause the flavor to change over time (not in a good way).
noële SandozJuly 29, 2013 at 9:29 am
Having been bothered from heartburn and all kinds of digestive problems for so many years, I started drinking Kombucha ( bought at our coop). 10 days ago I placed about 4oz. of Kombucha combined with ” Yerba Mate tea” and the sugar, in a glass bowl, covered it with an old , clean cotton kitchen towel, and am keeping it in the bottom of my closet. On top of the liquid there is now a ” scoby” ( fairly thin) and the liquid tastes slowly less sweet, almost like the Kombucha I buy at the coop.
What do you think of that?? Do you recommend I still should buy one of your scoby for starter. I really like what I read on your comment site, very interesting. Thank you, Noële
Hannah CrumJuly 29, 2013 at 4:03 pm
Since the Kombucha culture reproduces, it is best to start with a quality culture for a lifetime of healthy brews. Here is an article about growing SCOBYs.
AutumnJuly 10, 2013 at 6:17 pm
Thank You for sharing this information. I ve been brewing for only a couple months. I’m truly enjoying this process and drink… I live in Hawaii and unfortunately. the brew got away from me and I now have Vinegar 🙂 I’ve tried to mix in new KT ..still pretty strong. QUESTIION: can I store the New Brew Vinegar – in the plastic container that my Cider Vinegar came in..( I’m not going to drink it.) I’m going to try it in cleaning .. maybe even laundry ( If it doesn’t stain – a test fabric) Thanks for all Your Info
Hannah CrumJuly 29, 2013 at 6:16 pm
Yes. If you will use it for cleaning, then that will be fine.
DeboraJune 28, 2013 at 6:06 pm
I love cooking with Kombucha vinegar. I use it when making Chicken Adobo, which is a filipino dish and calls for apple cider vinegar. I like it on my tomato, cucumber and mozzerella salads too. I have three gallon jars going on rotation and i have a scoby hotel that was filling up too fast, so i separated a few scobys out into smaller jars just to make KT vinegar. I also use KT on my face. It’s a great skin softener. I’ll need to try it on my hair next. We have very hard water. Thank you for your webpage Hannah.
NettieJune 23, 2013 at 2:58 pm
I recently got my mom to switch from apple cider vinegar to kombucha vinegar. In the summer we have tons of cucumbers, onions and tomatoes. We would slice them and add vinegar (sometimes a bit of sugar) and let it sit overnight. This makes a wonderful salad. Now, when I brew my kombucha to drink, I have another batch going for the vinegar. My Grandma (cooked with vinegar a lot!) was from Germany, she said that using vinegar cleaned the “fatty rubbish” from our bodies. That still makes me smile.
Hannah CrumJune 26, 2013 at 10:11 pm
Thanks for sharing, Nettie! I love making tomato, feta salad with KV. This time I also added cucumber & a little onion – yum!
CarolJune 16, 2013 at 11:40 am
Very pleased to read this article. I left my kombucha way too long and it had turned to vinegar.
I have just descaled my kettle with it! Just covered the element and boiled it up and about 20 minutes later, the limescale was gone!
Fab. I then mixed up a batch with some liquid soap and water and put in a spray bottle. It shined up my stainless sink nicely and removed limescale from around the taps!
I then cleaned the front of my kitchen cupboards. This is a revelation! Have remade my kombucha and will try it at 7 days. 🙂
DonnaSeptember 28, 2013 at 9:34 pm
That’s a great idea about the spray for shining up your stainless steel sink Carol. I have very highly mineralized water here and I’m looking forward to giving this a try. Thank you!
BethJune 5, 2013 at 6:38 pm
Just want to clarify, the K vinegar is fine to just store in the pantry, right? Does it have a shelf life or time frame you would recommend to use it up? Thanks!
Hannah CrumJune 18, 2013 at 1:00 am
Shelf life is indefinite for KVinegar. However, if you are infusing with herbs, you may want to remove them after a couple of weeks to prevent off flavors.
omagoshJune 1, 2013 at 9:41 pm
Im a Kombucha brewer & consumer & I am just now starting to read up on how to use my over-fermented batches & excited to try out some new kombucha projects. I read in the comments how 1 gal used the tea to dissolve chicken necks for a bone broth & Im concerned….if the vinegar so readily & rapidly dissolves chicken bones, what does it do over time to our teeth (with daily consumption)?? If it does indeed slowly strip the calcium from our teeth, then should I b concentrating on supplementing extra calcium or take a bone-building supplement mixture or just eating more calcium-rich, green, leafy veggies? Just wondering what is the smartest way to avoid enamel-wear if it’s a preventable threat cuz Im already aware of the immense benefits of regular Kombucha consumption. Thanks!
Hannah CrumJune 4, 2013 at 2:44 pm
Kombucha is alkalizing. Although it is acid on the pH scale, when it hits the digestive system it does the opposite and helps the body remineralize. In terms of breaking down chicken bones, that process likely takes an extended period of time. Enamel damage is due to the mouth having pathogenic bacteria. When you drink KT, you put the healthy bacteria back into your body which balances the whole system.
ZanyduckMay 29, 2013 at 5:39 am
LOVE the info!! Thank you! What is the affect of Kombucha vinegar on hair color (herbal or regular)?
Hannah CrumMay 30, 2013 at 3:55 pm
Some have discovered that regular consumption of Kombucha can restore gray hair to its original color. It doesn’t affect every body the same way, so your personal results may vary.
ToriamMay 7, 2013 at 2:41 pm
I make a KV/ lavendar oil facial toner. I’m going to switch to tea tree oil since the weather’s getting warmer.Something really cool-I gave a freind some of this mix a few weeks ago to try on her son’s medication-resistant eczema. It worked so well that his dermatologist is going to give me a call soon.She said she has other patients that are the same way and everything they try doesn’t work or stops working after a few weeks. I wonder how this is going to go? I also have a freind with this rash between her thighs that is medication-resistant also. YAY KOMBUCHA!!!
OliviaJuly 26, 2013 at 3:27 pm
Wow, would love to try this for my husband’s eczema. How much lavender oil/KV did you use, and did you dilute it at all?
AnnMay 7, 2013 at 2:28 pm
I can not tell you how relieved I am to FINALLY figure out what the problem was! I don’t recall reading this anywhere about needing to keep the SCOBY in a particular size range (I think this probably affects those of us who choose the CB method primarily) for proper fermentation and it is such a VALUABLE piece of the puzzle IMO!
If I have missed where this is in print in your ebook, could you bring it to my attention? And if it’s not maybe you can add it next time you update the book and also post it somewhere on your site somewhere with the CB brew FAQs or under “things to be aware of”?
Your awesome Hannah and I’m so grateful for you and this forum!!!
RuthMay 4, 2013 at 7:21 am
I also have kombucha vinegar! Yeah! Question is my scoby is huge as my container is wide. Can I cut it into quarters with vinegar dipped scissors and run 4 batches?
Hannah CrumMay 6, 2013 at 4:33 pm
Theoretically, yes. However, make sure that you have enough culture & starter liquid for the smaller batches so they don’t get mold and have a full Kombucha flavor.
AnnApril 30, 2013 at 3:15 pm
Hmmm, maybe this is my problem? So a too thick scoby won’t ferment the kombucha properly? Would that lead to a vinegar situation?
How often should one “thin out” the scoby? Mine does get thick quite rapidly.
Hannah CrumApril 30, 2013 at 8:40 pm
The short answer is yes. Kombucha needs oxygen to ferment properly. If the SCOBY is too thick, it only allows for an anaerobic process to occur which favors the yeast rather than the bacteria which can cause off flavors. Trim your SCOBY with a pair of scissors (dip in vinegar to sanitize).
KatiMarch 22, 2013 at 11:05 am
I really need help. I’ve been brewing kombucha for a year now, and have my first salty tasting batch. I checked everywhere for mold, but did or find any. Please advise!!
Hannah CrumMarch 31, 2013 at 3:59 pm
Maybe you used salt instead of sugar? Toss it and start again!
GinnyMarch 11, 2013 at 4:33 pm
Am I reading the chicken brine recipe correctly that you put the butter on the skin BEFORE soaking in the KT brine? I’ve always buttered my chicken just before it goes in the oven. I’m looking forward to trying this with the chicken and herbs I got at the farmer’s market this week!
Hannah CrumMarch 11, 2013 at 6:35 pm
Thanks for pointing out the mistake in logic. The herb butter is applied AFTER the brining is complete. Super yummy – let us know how it turns out =)
FionaFebruary 11, 2020 at 2:37 pm
Just a question about your brining recipe. Is it 2 teaspoons sugar or 2 tablespoons?
Not familiar with what the capital T means
Hannah CrumFebruary 13, 2020 at 2:30 pm
Tablespoons – the common abbreviations are tsp (teaspoon) & TB (tablespoon) – so the capital T is for the bigger sized spoon.
LindsayMarch 9, 2013 at 10:31 am
I have several layers of scobies in each of my jars … at some point do i pull them apart and place them in a scoby hotel?
Toby ReyFebruary 24, 2013 at 2:17 pm
I left my continuous brewer alone for a couple of month and now have a bunch of vinegar. I’m trying to convince my wife that we can use it so I went looking for this article to provide proof.
I can use a cup or two of the vinegar to start my new batch right?
Hannah CrumFebruary 25, 2013 at 11:46 am
Yes! Kombucha never “goes bad” or “spoils” due to its protective, low pH. Kombucha Vinegar makes excellent starter!
LISAMarch 27, 2015 at 10:05 am
Reading down the list of Questions, heres the one question I was hoping was answered and wasn’t 🙁 why why why does this happen? 🙁
I have too many scobies now…
Hannah CrumApril 21, 2015 at 6:40 am
Why does what happen?
LaniJanuary 28, 2013 at 2:48 am
Is there a time limit to how long you can infuse herbs/spices in kombucha vinegar? I was thinking of bottling the KV with some garlic or chillis or herbs like basil or maybe some orange peel and then giving it as gifts. Thanks for this really useful article.
Hannah CrumJanuary 29, 2013 at 5:08 pm
Garlic and herbs can be left in the bottle for extended periods of time. I’d be cautious with chillis as they can be quite powerful in the KV and may need to be removed after a few days depending on how spicy you want the vinegar to be.
Diana SerresJanuary 3, 2013 at 3:31 pm
I have let my booch ferment too long and am sure it is vinegar now. Can I still use one of the ‘scobies’ to make a new batch or are they ruined? Also, is it OK to have more than one scoby in there?
Thanks for any advice for this newbie. 😉
Hannah CrumJanuary 13, 2013 at 11:29 am
The sourness of Kombucha vinegar doesn’t adversely affect the cultures, so you may use them again to brew up a fresh batch of booch. You may keep a couple of cultures together but if it gets to be too thick of a layer, then the Kombucha won’t ferment properly as it won’t allow for oxygen exchange. The fermentation process for Kombucha is both aerobic (with oxygen) and anaerobic (without oxygen) which is why we use a cloth cover rather than a lid.
KenMay 30, 2018 at 9:45 am
What do you mean to thick. do you mean too wide so that it turns it anaerobic?
I am a newbie also. How much culture is in the Scooby anyway as compared to the liquid starter and so I’m sure a lot of beginners ask this but if I put two scobys etc will it produce the kombucha faster. I guess I’d like to know more about what a Scoby is anyway and why you really need it at all if you have an extra minute!
Hannah CrumAugust 3, 2018 at 5:30 pm
Thickness does not refer to width. Yes, adding a 2nd SCOBY CAN speed it up, but there is a point at which there is too much culture in the vessel (ie too thick) and then it slows down because there isn’t enough oxygen penetrating the liquid.
EdJuly 6, 2013 at 5:40 am
The scobie’s are fine and you can add a cup of your strong brew with your scobie to start your new brew. I normally end up removing some of the old scobies especially in warmer weather. It seems to make it to fast. I’ll often toss the oldest darkest ones and keep one or 2 lighter ones. It helps timing the brew I like to wait 12 days to 14 days.
TheAncientOneJanuary 2, 2013 at 4:44 pm
I never did get my free ebook on Kombucha Tea
Hannah CrumJanuary 2, 2013 at 10:02 pm
Each chapter arrives via email – 1 a day for 5 days. I went ahead and restarted your subscription – check your spam folder if you don’t see an email from Kombucha Kamp!
Jess @ Crunchy Hot MamaDecember 19, 2012 at 11:59 am
Shoot! Wish I had found this sooner…I just poured my last batch down the drain because I let it go too long. At least I’ll know for next time.
Thanks for all the information 🙂
PamelaDecember 18, 2012 at 8:25 am
I have a continuous batch that has been going for months. This morning while adding the sweet tea mixture to the container, I accidentally picked up the white vinegar that I rinse my hands with and poured a small amount in before realizing! Have I ruined my perfectly tuned batch????
EdJuly 6, 2013 at 5:34 am
No adding a small amount of white vinegar is recommended when starting a batch it raises the acid level making it hard for mold to grow. when you get your kombucha going it is not necessary but wouldn’t hurt it. PS don’t use apple cider vinegar as it can add foreign batchiara and hurting the original Kombucha mushroom.
Hannah CrumJuly 29, 2013 at 6:37 pm
Only use distilled vinegar in a pinch. Best to just use good, fermented KT as your starter liquid as it has the healthy bacteria & yeast.
SuperHandsJuly 30, 2012 at 1:09 pm
I’m soo glad my accidental Booch-Botch turned into yet another form of liquid gold!
DianeApril 29, 2012 at 8:49 am
what is the best way to pour the tea from the container
faithfulFebruary 22, 2012 at 3:24 pm
Hi Hannah! Recently I was making bone broth from chicken backs. I didn’t have any ACV so I immediately thought of the Hotel I have on my new kitchen counter. I dipped into it and got my 3/4 cup to add to the simmering bones. By 24 hours the bones had almost completely dissolved and at 48 hours there was no sign of whole bones only crumbles & residue to be strained out! I was surprised at how much better KTV worked than ACV in leaching the calcium from bones. It will be interesting to se what happens the next time I use pork or beef bones. Just thougt I would pop in & let you know my terrific results! 🙂
noreenSeptember 30, 2012 at 7:34 am
Just wondering if you have put KTV in another batch of chicken broth and had the same experience?
DonnaSeptember 28, 2013 at 9:24 pm
This is really interesting. I would like to make bone broth for my dogs. I’ve been trying to find a way to cook the bones down until they dissolve, now I know, add vinegar. Thanks Faithful!
May I ask how much vinegar you add to about what quantity of broth?
Sue MJanuary 11, 2014 at 9:50 am
Can share your broth recipe? Is it like making regular chicken stock? thank you so much!
Hannah CrumJanuary 15, 2014 at 8:05 pm
I make both chicken & beef broth. They are basically the same recipe: Chicken heads & feet or Carcass – Beef knuckles or tail – mire poix (celery, carrots, onion), scraps, 1-2 cups of Kombucha Vinegar and simmer for a few hours!
Jessie Demos Wicker via FacebookFebruary 22, 2012 at 10:35 am
I always put some of my finished brew into a large glass dropper bottle and squeeze onto cotton pads as a toner/makeup remover. Of course being careful around the eyes. I mix it with clays twice a week to do a facial mud mask. I also use it as a hair rinse and a cleaner in place of sprays. It really removes a lot of dirt!
Danielle Albini via FacebookFebruary 22, 2012 at 8:20 am
Thanks! I’ve got a whole batch of vinegar to use up 🙂
Tresa Rose via FacebookFebruary 22, 2012 at 8:08 am
Great information – Thanks 🙂
Suzanne Herbert via FacebookFebruary 22, 2012 at 8:06 am
I just over brewed my kombucha into dern near vinegar so I’m happy to see this… thanks (I still drink it though lol)
Jackie Dana via FacebookFebruary 22, 2012 at 8:05 am
Brilliant! A friend and I were JUST talking about doing this! Thanks for the info.