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Kombucha Makers Unite; Where to ask and be answered

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I just bought some GT's Guava Goddess kombucha to try it (never had kombucha before at all) and it's really tasty! Now I totally want to start making my own. I think I'll buy a bottle of the original unflavored one and start trying to grow my own scoby!

 

I drank half the bottle this afternoon and am feeling slightly buzzed, lol. "Trace amounts of alcohol" my behind!

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Thanks! :D

 

I got my bottle of GT's Original yesterday and put it in a quart mason jar with a paper towel on top, held in place with the mason jar ring and put it in my kitchen cupboard. I also added a cup of sweet tea to it, I used Tazo Focus for my tea because I had it. It is black tea with roasted Yerba Mate, orange essence, and cocoa peel. 

 

I had a question though, I love vanilla, and last year made my own vanilla extract as gifts for family at Christmas. I have several bottles of vanilla extract left (I used grade B madagascar vanilla beans and Costco brand vodka, which is basically Grey Goose). I'd really like to try a cherry and/or peach with vanilla flavor for my Kombucha. Now, I also had a few beans left over from making the vanilla and stuck them in my granulated sugar canister to infuse the sugar with vanilla. Would any of the vanilla flavor survive if I used the vanilla sugar to feed a batch of kombucha? Or would the vanilla extract be ok to use?

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Note that it might take a longer time for scoby to grow. Oils in teas are not that good for yeast.

Vanilla. Are u on wh30? Then vanilla extract is out. I wouldn't take chance and try the vanilla sugar. I have never tried it or heard anyone trying it. Maybe someone else with chime in regarding this.

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Hmm, I didn't think of the oils in the tea. Should I start over? I also have plain green and white teas with nothing else added. I wonder if the oils could go rancid and ruin it...

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It says oils in herbal teas should never come in contact with the culture, so I guess that means I have to start over. Oh well, it's all about learning, right? On the bright side, I found someone locally that sells scobys for $10, so maybe I can get one there...

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Well, you can sti keep the jar and see what happens ;) Megmac grew her with "oily" tea. But yeah, it will take forever probably. Don't worry, it's not a rocket science, you'll be a pro in a matter of couple batches.

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I grew mine with Earl Grey, which is an "oily" tea.  It did work, but it took about 3 weeks, and wasn't as solid as other people's scoby.  I have another one started with plain black tea and it's doing MUCH better, and is only about 10 days in.  So I wouldn't throw it away, but maybe start a second one with plain and see what happens.

 

My Earl Grey scoby is just about done fermenting his first real batch.  I'll be able to tell you more once I see how that turned out.  It's been 11 days and I think I'm within a day or two.

 

Flavoring question-I bought some blueberries for this round.  Do I mash them up or put them in whole?

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Question - I will be going away in a couple of weeks time for about a week.  How would I keep Scoby happy during this time.  I haven't made up my mind to give it another batch to ferment while I'm away or just let it rest.  I'm thinking that if I give it another batch to ferment it might go to far to the vinegar side.

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Carlaccini, I've done this a couple times and what worked for me was to feed the SCOBY a lot of tea to which I'd added more sugar than usual, so it needed more time to ferment. Then I bottled when I got home.

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Question - I will be going away in a couple of weeks time for about a week. How would I keep Scoby happy during this time. I haven't made up my mind to give it another batch to ferment while I'm away or just let it rest. I'm thinking that if I give it another batch to ferment it might go to far to the vinegar side.

Google Scoby hotel. :)

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who mentioned vinegar eels? I haven't seen anything about those...I used to grow them on purpose to feed to baby fish (I keep freshwater fish). You keep them in jars with a mix of apple cider vinegar and water.

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For anyone who has not yet vomited, I also googled whether or not vinegar eels were edible by humans.  They are.  Or at least they do no harm.  In fact, what the article actually said is that compared to the other bacteria we accidentally ingest, the eels are nothing to worry about.  This one is going to take me some time.

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Does anyone around here do continuous brew kombucha? Essentially, you fill a large drink dispenser (kind with a spigot at the bottom) with your sweet tea and scoby, let brew like normal, then pull some of the liquid from the bottom into bottles for the second fermentation and add fresh sweet tea in the top in an ammount equal to what you removed.

 

I was thinking of trying this method and was wondering if a container like this would work http://www.amazon.com/New-Wave-Enviro-Gallon-Refrigerator/dp/B001UJMOH2/ref=pd_sim_k_2 I'm afraid that the shape of it would create too much surface area that the scoby would have to cover or something...

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I would worry more about the plastic.  The first one I tried in plastic didn't grow at all.  Everything I have read talks about glass, but maybe that's just coincidental?  I bought a glass one with a spigot at Target for $22 because I am going to try CB once I've got this process down.

 

I'll be curious what the experienced brewers think.

 

How much do you plan to take out at one time?  That part has confused me-some sites say to remove a bottle or 2 every day or 2, others seem to take a lot more.

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People are more wary of plastic because of BPAS and chemicals leeching into your food.

 

Both Derval and I are doing CB with plastic vessels. (I couldn't find any glass ones here and it was only a bit more to buy the scoby with the container than the scoby itself)  Derval has been doing it for longer than I have, I'm just drinking my first batch right now.  But the scoby has grown to fill the container and covered the whole surface area after about 12 days.

 

But, you might find it really difficult to get the scoby out of that container when you wanted to clean it out or if you wanted to start a second batch.

 

I took out 1 litre the first go and it's been 48 hours since then and I think I could take out another litre now.  Going to give it another day though, as I'm still in the really early stages of learning how this all works.

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