Inexpensive Heat Mat Ensures Tastiest Home Brewed Kombucha

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Controlling the temperature of your kombucha brew is the easiest ways to ensure that you bottle your kombucha when it is at its tastiest. The temperature of the brew is directly related to how long the brewing process takes.

It also impacts the health of the SCOBY. Brewing kombucha at too cold a temperature results in weak SCOBY growth, and weak flavor. It also makes your SCOBY susceptible to mold – your worst kombucha brewing enemy.

Sweet Spot

You will likely discover that there is a certain sweet spot in the brewing process at which time the kombucha is exactly to your liking – slightly tart, with a hint of sweetness. To find this sweet spot each time you brew requires that the fermentation process occurs at a consistent temperature.

Temperature Matters

A quality digital thermometer and taking the time to record the brew temperature at regular intervals will make sure your kombucha brewing process results in a delicious brew every time.

Related: Learn about the best digital thermometer for kombucha brewers here

The SCOBY will be happiest and produce the best kombucha at its optimal temperature of between 78 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. If you keep the room where your fermenter is located at that temperature, then you are all set.

However, if the room is much colder than that, it is best if you have a way to keep your brew warm.

There are a few ways of accomplishing that. You can purchase specially designed heating units designed for kombucha brewing. If they are within your budget, they work well.

The better ones (top two in the list below) even include a temperature control making them the ideal solution.

These  fermentation brew heaters have excellent ratings from customers.

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We have found that the most inexpensive way to keep kombucha brewing at the proper temperature (and one that has worked for us for years) is something called a seedling warming mat. It is a plastic mat that is large enough to wrap about halfway around the fermentation jar and creates a small amount of heat. It will warm the brew evenly.

Below is our selection of low cost heating mats that will keep your brew at the correct temperature.
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The only drawback we have found to using an inexpensive heater is that there is no easy way to control the temperature exactly. That is also true of some of the dedicated heaters above that wrap around the kombucha brewing jar.

However, by using an outlet timer, you can set the heating mat to go on and off at regular intervals. With a little experimentation, it is easy to control the kombucha brew within a couple of degrees.

We have found, that using this method, we can control the brewing process so that it takes about one week for the SCOBY to finish its job and produce kombucha that is exactly the way we like it, every time.
Any of these outlet timers will turn your heating mat on and off at set intervals. With a little experimentation, it is easy to find the correct amount of heating to keep your brewing temperature between 78 and 82 degrees.

We have recently discovered an easier way to keep our brew at the perfect brewing temperature during the cold months. The manufacturers of seedling mats  sell thermostats that work well to keep the temperature perfectly in the correct range. The thermostat plugs into the power outlet and the heating mat plugs into the thermostat.

A temperature sensor probe is included that is affixed to the outside of the brewing jar. It senses the temperature of the jar and controls how much heat the heating mat puts out.

If you purchase or already own an inexpensive seedling heating mat, purchasing a thermostat insures that it is easy to keep the brewing temperature perfect.

Here are our picks for the top rated thermostats.

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By purchasing a thermostat-heating mat combo you can have your kombucha brewing at the perfect temperature with almost no effort! This is the method we now recommend!

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If your kombucha brewing is taking too long, if your SCOBY is getting moldy, or if your kombucha is not coming out as tasty as you’d like, you are surely brewing at too low a temperature. Add a heat mat to your brewing process and make your best home brewed kombucha ever.

Has a heat mat helped you to make faster, better tasting kombucha? Please leave a comment.

6 Comments

  1. Nikki

    Hi there! I just bought a seedling heat mat + thermostat. Do you put the thermostat sensor directly into the brew, or do you tape it to the outside of your fermentation vessel? Thanks!

    Reply
    • neilalan

      Hi Nikki and thanks for your comment. I would be hesitant to put anything metallic into brewing kombucha. Kombucha is quite acidic and would likely break down the metal probe over time. I recommend taping the probe to the side of the fermenter.

      After it has been working for 24 hours, check the temperature of the brew with an instant read thermometer. Then you can adjust the thermostat temperature setting so that your brew is in the correct temperature range. It should work really well and insure that your brew is at the perfect temperature. Especially important if the room is cool! Happy brewing.

      Reply
  2. Paul

    I am making my first batch of kombucha. I have a heat mat BUT it takes my kombucha to 82 degree’s farenhiet is this too high

    Reply
    • neilalan

      Hi Paul. Thank you for your question. 82 degrees is only a little high–your kombucha should brew just fine. But, if you would like it to brew a little slower, here is the trick. Add a little bit more space between your kombucha brewing jar and the heat mat. In other words, don’t place the mat right against the glass. That will cool it down a bit. Happy brewing!

      Reply
  3. Brad Johnson

    How do I keep kombucha brewing at 80°F in an apartment with no air conditioning during summer.

    Reply
    • neilalan

      Hi Brad, that is a good question. If I understand you correctly, your apartment reaches temperatures over 85°F in the summer, or even hotter? At those temperatures, the kombucha will brew very quickly. You still may get good kombucha–you’d have to try it. I’d recommend checking the fermentation progress often. Perhaps you could use a swamp cooler idea–wrap a wet towel around your fermenter and let evaporation keep it a bit cooler. Good luck.

      Reply

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