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Kombucha Tea Too Sour?

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Sour kombucha mushroom tea
: Free Online Article by the Happy Herbalist
Item Number: LKTeaSour


 What to do with a brew that has gotten a bit too sour ?

STRAINING. Straining removes a percentage of mostly yeasts and some of the bacteria and thins out the taste. This removes some of the bitterness. Strain through layers of cheesecloth. The more layers the greater the degree of reduction.

A slightly sour Kombucha Tea may benefit from Refrigeration for 2-3 weeks. (cold stabilization or  chill proofing). Fill the bottle to the top and do not leave any air space. This is a good method of smoothing out an slightly overly acidic kombucha mushroom tea. A portion of the tartaric acid will precipitate out as crystals. Adding Bentonite Clay or other fining agents will also assist this process and help clarify the kombucha tea as well as add valuable minerals.   

Oaking With Chips or Oak Spirals helps refine Kombucha Mushroom Tea that possess more of a "bite." Use about ¾ ounce (20 grams) per gallon, or about 1-2 inches of the Oak Spiral. If using chips then a bag is necessary.  Place the chips in a cloth bag with a couple of marbles and tie it off with string. Sink this in boiling water for about five minutes. This removes any harsh tannins from the wood and sterilizes it and the marbles. Then remove the bag, allow it to drip drain long enough for it to cool down enough to handle, and then add the bag to the kombucha. Oak may be added during the fermentation process or after during a Second Stage Ferment or during Refrigeration. We have found that Oak adds flavor and mellows out kombucha very nicely. In a side by side test of our White Kombucha Mushroom, adding Oak to the active ferment did not produce as high a ratio of gluconic acid as the non-oak ferment – but still considerably higher than other kombucha ferments.

You may decide to allow the ferment to continue to sour

Put it in a jar - allowing about 1/2 of the space for air and it will continue to sour and mature. Keep in a cool place. Room temperature is fine. It can sit there until we're ready to use it. It becomes more stable as the yeast finish off any fermentable sugar and go dormant. The bacteria (as long as air, sugar, alcohol are present will continue to produce beneficial acids. This lowers the  pH and the Kombucha itself may last quite a long time. This may becomes our Kombucha Starter Tea used to start another ferment, or to continue on to a Second Ferment Stage, or as a marinate  and other sweet sour ideas listed below. Adding Herbs, now or during additional aging and Bottling affords one the opportunity to create mellow and healthy vinegars, personal health elixirs, or culinary delights.

The pH of kombucha should be between 2.0 and 4.0.The pH of the marinade or vinegar (kombucha plus whatever you have added) must be less than 4.6 pH. The pH of any preserved or stored food must be between 2.0 and 4.6.  [reference Pickle Bill]

You can adjust the pH by adding different sugars, herbal teas and spices or other additives like calcium or gypsum. For food items sold at Farmers Markets, etc a pH meter should be used..

The following links provide information on home processing and home canning

However if your intention is to use the recipes right away then the pH is not critical simply follow the Is the Food OK Rule. This is the time honored standard rule I use for any food I'm about to eat 9or drink)

1, Does it look Good?

2. Does it smell Good?

3. Does it taste Good?

Kombucha Tea and Calcium


egg shells, and nuts are high in calcium

Here's a little trick that was used by Robert Barefoot in his book Calcium factor and also from Kombuchal - the 1927 German patented Kombucha.

Add just a pinch or two of calcium carbonate (any calcium will do) to you  slightly sour kombucha. The calcium will neutralize some of the acids as well as create some fizz. May be added just prior to drinking or when bottling. How much o add depends on how much acid is in your ferment. As a guide a semi-sweet nice kombucha tea may have 33 grams per liter (one ounce per quart) of various acids. You don't want to over-do it, as these acids are beneficial and the reason we're drinking kombucha. So start slow.

Kombucha Tea and Ginger

Add Fizz and Sparkle to your Kombucha Brew by adding a slice of  ginger to fresh filtered and decanted Kombucha. Bottle and  Leave at room temperature for 2-3 days and then store in the fridge.





Kombucha Tea

and Molasses


This is a great formula for balancing the Acid/Alkaline ratio in the body and supplies Iron and Potassium. This formula is vital for those with Osteoporosis, Arthritis, and many other debilitating diseases.

1. One cup of well aged (sour) kombucha tea

2. One cup of Organic Black Strap Molasses.

Mix together and store in a glass jar and refrigerate and the hungry kombucha will feed on the sugar in the molasses. Careful of glass exploding if left in the heat.

recommended dosage: 2 to 4 tablespoons a day.


Kombucha Tea Gargle for a sore throat Kombucha Tea and Honey mixed together take before bedtime for a restful sleep. Boil equal parts and inhale the steam for headaches. Nagging cough or sore throat: Drains sinus.

For Really Sour Kombucha


I have used sour kombucha liberally on my dog's hot spots even when he ha chewed himself raw. Almost instantly it calmed him down and allowed the skin to heal within a few days. Works on people too. Applied directly on burns and scrapes. Baby mushroom work best as they can be left in place.

Foot Soak

As a Foot Soak  Be sure to well age the kombucha because if there is any sugar left it dries sticky and itchy. Rinse well if there is any sugar left

pet wash

As a pet wash. Wet a wash cloth in sour kombucha and wipe down your dog, cat or horse. Dirt comes right off without leaving that wet-dig smell.

softer skin

For softer skin beat an egg white until frothy and add a tablespoon each of honey and Kombucha Let dry completely, then sponge off with cool water.

Itchy Skin ? try Kombucha Vinegar instead of Soap simply rub onto skin and forego the irritation of soap


on a cotton ball on your face every night helps prevent pimples and improves skin tone. First wash face thoroughly. Then rinse well with warm water to open pores) apply kombucha, wait a few minutes, hen rinse with cool water to close pores.

As a Douche 

dilute well aged kombucha at least half with water, more water if there is discomfort. Use at room temperature.

soothing bath

For a soothing bath. Combine a cup Kombucha Tea and a small handful of sage, allow to sit for awhile and add to the bath.

Hair Rinse

leaves a fresh vibrant feeling. Shampoo, Kombucha, Rinse. Kombucha Tea in the final rinse takes the fizz out of a new permanent and to revive an old one.  

Kombucha  Cream

Blend with Aloe Vera , skin cream and or with a Vitamins Mineral supplement & Vitamin E. Certain natural oils like glycerin will (over time) be broken down by the kombucha as the SCOBY feeds on the natural sugars present. May even form a mushroom in your jar!

Suggested Use:  For rough or irritated skin, to soften skin, use daily apply liberally and wipe off.  Not necessary to rinse but recommended when using the first time. As a Hair Rinse after washing hair apply to wet hair, leave on for a few minutes rinse off.


Add a few ounces into a vase holding fresh flowers and the flowers actually seem to perk up.


pour blended KOMBUCHA (with other compost items) around and under flowers and plants   Kombucha  Compost works very fast. good for acid loving plants like: rhododendrons, azaleas, summer sweet, camellias, acers, pieris, avocado trees, gardenias, hibiscus, tomatoes, peppers ...  to many it seems Kombucha has  saved ailing plants and trees with a well placed culture. Keeps slugs and snails at bay - seems they won�t cross the KOMBUCHA Snail barrier!

Food Ideas


mellow and mature your Sour Kombucha Tea.

Strain well and consider adding Herbs & Spices to create a personal healthy vinegar

Sour Kombucha will benefit by aging with oak. This process is an important step in maturing fine wine and the finest vinegar. First clarify your kombucha. Siphon or draw off only the top clear portion of the kombucha, leaving the brown sludge behind. (give the brown sludge (yeasts) to your plants or use in baking) Strain through several layers of cheesecloth. You can also use Bentonite Clay to add health benefits as well as clarifying your kombucha.  Oak will mellow and mature. An Oak Cask is excellent for this, or one may simply add some oak spirals which is simply, quick and inexpensive method to greatly improve the flavor.


marinating chicken, shrimp, beef or pork. Use as you would vinegar.


Soak  sprouts with Kombucha instead of water, When  sprouted  cut up bits of fresh Kombucha  and toss together with peanuts and cashews. 

Take along your Kombucha Sprouts  to a Dinner Party. 

Never Be political Correct !!


Batter Fry

Dip chunks of Fish and vegetables  into two cups of Kombucha and then into a batter made up of equal parts  flour and  cornmeal, salt and pepper, and a twig or two of dill and fry in olive oil till golden brown. Serve with Sparkling Kombucha

Kombucha Marinate

1 cup Kombucha Tea

1 cup Soy Sauce

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

4 to 6 cloves of chopped garlic

1 small onion

Mix the ingredients together and marinate. Keep refrigerated. Use within a few days

Use spices and herbs of your choice. refer to our section on adding herbs for more ideas.

for kombucha crunchy pickles:

use smaller cucumbers.
add a little fresh onion slices
add a hunk of horseradish root
top the cucumbers with folded horseradish leaves or raspberry leaves 

KOMBUCHA Salad dressing

Start with some zesty vinegary KOMBUCHA Brew and to your delight add a clove of Garlic, bright red hot pepper, some oregano,  sage,  fresh ginger. Olive or Sesame oil. For a creamier texture add mayo.

One  favorite vinaigrette is a zesty KOMBUCHA with Tarragon



 2 ounces Aged Kombucha Brew

 1 tbsp olive oil

 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

 1 pinch favorite seasoning

 1 tsp of honey

Grilled Kombucha Marinated Salmon

1 cup Kombucha Tea

1 cup Soy Sauce

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

4 to 6 cloves of chopped garlic

1 small onion

Mix the ingredients together and marinate fillets in the  refrigerator overnight Grill over hot coals and serve with lemon and orange  slices over wild rice.  

Kombucha Banana Strawberry  Smoothie

10 ounces orange juice

4 ounces Kombucha tea.

One piece of fresh Kombucha colony (sized to palate)

5-6 large fresh strawberries

1-2 large banana

Blend all ingredients at high speed in your blender until smooth

more ideas

Mix with fresh strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, artichokes, for a cool side salad

Green Kombucha  take fresh green tomatoes, bell peppers, chilies, cucumbers and cover with Kombucha


Dog Biscuits

2 cups whole wheat flour       

1/2 cup corn meal

2 tsp vegetable oil 

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 egg                                               

3/4 cup Kombucha Tea

add vitamins - minerals - herbs (fresh ground flax seed, or flax seed oil, or similar oil good for the skin and hair)  

mix together and shape into doggie bones, add more flour if necessary. Use a fork to put air holes. Bake for 1/2 hour at 350F

Dogs and cats

and Tumors

In their book "Kombucha Tea for your Health and Healing", Alick and Mari Bartholomew state ...

"Several people have reported to us how their elderly Cats and Dogs have shown a significant improvement in health and vitality after being given Kombucha. Skin has improved and coats have become glossy, in addition to brighter eyes. Other senses had improved with an overall increase in energy.


We were told of a Cat 15 years old who had a tumor, and was given 1 teaspoon of Kombucha tea in its water every day. Its energy improved to the point of being quite Kittenish, and its bowel movements returned to normal."


leave Kombucha Tea  in a loosely covered bowl and as the liquid evaporates the Kombucha Tea turns to taffy.

- try adding herbs and spices for candy or herbal drops.

What about the Mushroom itself ....

The mushroom itself is cellulose, healthy and edible and very tough. I remember reading that the Russians used to use the mushroom to make shoe leather during the war.

Burns and scrapes

apply mushroom directly

the young thin ones hold to the contour of the body

Morgellons disease

one person reported success


Slice or chop and give small pieces directly to dogs, horses

Slice paper thin and prepared like Calamari. similar to tofu, cut up sautéed with veggies and sauce. Add to Soups and Stews.

Sliced Kombucha Mushroom with Hot Peppers and Kombucha Tea -  Sizzling


caution with placing the mushrooms in a blender. You need liquid to avoid burning out your motor.

Blend a Kombucha Mushroom  with 2 gherkins, Load lots of Kombucha Vinegar over french fries, and arrange neatly in a small dish, slice of lemon and lime to garnish and voila!,   Gherkin Pomme Fritters a La Kombucha.

Kombucha Banana Strawberry  Smoothie

10 ounces orange juice

4 ounces Kombucha tea.

One piece of fresh Kombucha colony (sized to palate)

5-6 large fresh strawberries

1-2 large banana

Blend all ingredients at high speed in your blender until smooth,

and the Mushroom itself is edible


Kombucha is a natural cellulite product.


Dried Kombucha also make a fun and healthier chew toy for furry friends

Kombucha Drum  Skin   & Leather-Like Stuff

Use the souring kombucha to make a large mushroom and to make a drum skim or other artwork. Add a bit of sugar and tea mix (up to 50%) and place in a large container the size larger than you wish to create. see section below on drying mushrooms.

see also How to make make Kombucha Extract, and the famous D1 Drops

have a favorite recipe let us know and we will list it here as well as your comments and suggestions  


presented by

Ed Kasper L.Ac, Acupuncturist & Herbalist

417 Laurent St. Santa Cruz, CA 95060

toll free 1-888-425-8827 local 831-425-8801

to order Kombucha starter kits


Our liquid extracts are the most potent form of a botanical elixir. 

The Happy Herbalist’s Pharmacy features fresh-made Remedies Designed Exclusively For You

copyright 2006-2008. all rights reserved Ed Kasper LAc

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