Home Brewer Profile
Brewing since: 2014
Favorite second ferment flavors: Ginger
Alyshia is our first home-brewer profile from beautiful Victoria, British Columbia. Student, yogi and vegan health enthusiast, Alyshia began brewing kombucha at home nearly two years ago, and it has since become a well-honed part of her weekly routine. She is a great example of someone who started with uncertainty—hunting down a Mother scoby in her area was a challenge in itself—but has developed into a confident brewer, thanks to experience and learning. She shares some of her tips and stories with us.
Kombucha Hunter: What made you decide to start brewing your own kombucha?
Alyshia Lawless: I got into brewing my own kombucha after I realized how amazing I felt after buying store bought brands, so much that In got to the point where I ended up replacing drinking coffee with it as a pick me up. Because of this I came to the conclusion to start making it myself as a way to save money ( $5 for a bottle at the grocery store!) as well as be able to enjoy the process of fermenting it myself.
KH: How have you grown as a home-brewer since you started?
AL: I feel I have grown as a home-brewer due to the fact that when I first started it felt extremely daunting and even somewhat easy to screw up ( first batch I tried moulded on me!) to now being at a point where it is effortlessly apart of my weekly schedule. It takes no time at all now to whip up a batch and be able to time it out perfectly from one batch to another, as well as upping the amount I make at one time without having any hiccups.
KH: What were some of your biggest challenges or setbacks when you began your journey?
AL: When i first started the biggest challenge was firstly even being able to track down a Mother to start brewing with ( i suggest CL if you don't know any home brewers personally) Another challenge was not paying attention to the type of tea that I was buying that ended up killing one of my mothers. Another challenge was also getting into the routine of remembering what day i started brewing on, without letting more than 8 days roll by or not remembering if it has even fermented for a week yet.
KH: How would you describe your brews?
AL: I would describe my Kombucha to be a good balance of both sweetness with the right amount of that fermented tang. By far my favourite flavouring is ginger. Its a simple one, but it gives me that satisfaction of drinking a ginger ale without all the bad stuff.
KH: What is your favorite tea to use for first ferment?
AL: My go-to tea from the beginning has always been Ridgeways organically grown black tea. Its a taste and brand that I can always count on to make some good brew!
KH: How many batches do you usually brew at the same time?
AL: Depending on how much kombucha I decide to make, I usually have two to three batches going at once. I make them all at the same time and let them ferment usually for 7-8 days. It only takes maybe 10-15 minutes out of my day to get the tea brewed. I then put the kombucha that had been fermented in mason jars where I typically flavour about half of them and then leave the other half as is (usually my flavours consist of ginger, spirulina, apple, and mixed berries) The amount I make ends up being enough to allow me to have some daily throughout the week as well as have plenty to give some away to family and friends!
KH: What advice would you give to a kombucha lover who wants to start brewing their own booch?
AL: My number 1 tip for those starting out as home brewers is to not get discouraged! I have failed before with it, as well as have had a couple batches that taste nothing like the store bought brands which left me feeling dissatisfied. But play around with the amount of time that you ferment, the brand of tea, as well as the sugar you use (I have tried coconut sugar, natural cane sugar, and organic white sugar and they all taste completely different as well as make a huge difference in carbonation). Just keep going until you find what works for you, and sooner than later it will come as a no-brainer to make a perfect batch every time.