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Kombucha Makers Unite; Where to ask and be answered

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I ended up running around a big strip mall here to various stores, Big Lots, TJ Max, Target, Pier 1, etc.

 

Almost all of them had some kind of glass drink dispenser, ranging from $20-$60.

 

I ended up getting this one at TJ Max for $16.99 The spigot is plastic, and it holds about 1.8 gallons and it fits under my cabinets! It's full of water to make sure the seal around the spigot wasn't leaking.

 

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Maybe try adding some extra sugar (just a teaspoon) to the bottles when you bottle it?  (That's what we do for our beer and cider, I haven't tried it with kombucha)

 

Mine had a nice light fizz after 48 hours, but not quite what I was hoping for... but I was too impatient to wait any longer.

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For me, the Grolsch bottles had more fizz than the GT bottles, and the ones that had dried cherries (versus just grape juice and ginger) did the best. 

 

Still learning and experimenting...

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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.

 

I take out 1.5L (2 bottles) every 2nd day & top up with the same or sometimes 2 litres. Tbh I am getting a bit sick of it now....but am married to the thing!

My scoby is massive now - the full size of the container - 12 inches? and almost an inch thick. I gave a portion of it away & it grey back pretty fast. I am considering removing the 2 smaller pieces of the original scoby now....before it gets too unwieldy.

 

Lovely container Vian!

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Derval-Can I make a gallon of sweet tea and keep it in the fridge to use to refill the CB container every other day?  I hadn't really thought about what a commitment the CB is. 

 

My new scoby is already thicker than my original (Scooby).  I will be interested to see if he ferments faster.  Scooby has been in a gallon of tea for 2 weeks and it's still not ready.  I thought it would happen faster since it's summer in Florida, but it's still too sweet for me.

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Yes you could do that, good idea. I often have a gap of several hours while my tea cools (I only have 1 large jug!) between taking out my booch & replenishing it.

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The local people who were selling scobys on craigslist here said they don't have any more to share, but they will in about 2 weeks. Now I have to decide if I want to just wait for a piece of their scoby, or keep trying to grow my own from GT's... I was thinking of going up to the big natural market place and see if they have any of the alcoholic GT's that people were talking about having better luck with.

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Big project under way, have removed monster scoby, going to clean it up & start again - it is positively mucky & gross looking....will clear all the gunk off with prev boiled water and make fresh tea. It has got super sour & dark recently - I think the switch to black tea wasn't such a good idea. I will see how it goes for a few more weeks but kind of sick of the "project" now.

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I DID IT! I GREW A SCOBY! Even messing up and using a black tea with orange oil in it, this baby still grew in about 6 days! I'm going to let it thicken up a bit more before I move it into my big jar, but wow, I'm so excited! It literally appeared overnight. I checked on it yesterday and there was nothing but a little blob of something floating at one side, then today it's a beautiful milky film almost covering the whole top! I covered the jar with paper towel and put it in the top shelf of my kitchen cabinet to keep it dark and warm. YAY! :D

 

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Awesome!! Nicely done! Bottled today-blueberry ginger, and working on setting up continuous brew. I'm going to come up with an easy way to do this Derval!

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Looking forward to your updates Meg!  I do CB and pour off about 5 bottles a week.  Like Derval, I end up making the tea that same day and then letting it sit to cool overnight and add it in the morning.

 

I find it very easy to maintain this pattern.  My favorite booch has turned out to be the simplest - black cherry concentrate and ginger.  Tasty, nice fizz and very refreshing!  

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Would bottles like this work for bottling up my kombucha? I believe they are 32 or 34 ounces. They are a bit pricy, but they are local and I wouldn't have to pay shipping, and I have a cupon for $10 off a purchase of $30, so I could get like 5 of them for $20. 

 

http://www.worldmarket.com/product/square-glass-bottle-with-clamp-stopper.do

 

My other option is just using quart mason jars with plastic lids, but the plastic lids are not air tight...

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They will work for sure. I though that buying GT is the way, because at least you get the bottle AND the booch ;) Give your friends and neighbours a shout, they might have lots of bottles....

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Vian-- Do any of the pubs near you sell Grolsch?  We've gotten crates of free bottles from the pub as they just go into the bin otherwise.  (They did take a lot of cleaning as some were still half full of beer...)

 

I'm loving my green & white tea combination, it tastes quite nice just as it is without any other flavours.  Strawberry Mint was nice, but a bit on the sweet side (possibly I should have left the tea to brew for another day or two before drawing it off) and I've got a bottle of ginger and a bottle of lemon ginger in their 2nd fermentations.

 

Need to investigate some other flavouring options when I make it to the big supermarket next.  Cherry Ginger sounds lush.

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That's a great idea getting used beer bottles with those swing-top lids from bars! I might call around and see if I can come up with anything :D

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My scoby sunk! I think I moved it too much and it sunk down in the jar, will it be ok?

 

Also, I ended up with three 32oz. bottles for my second fermentation. My plan, since I'm continuous brewing, is to remove about 26 ounces of kombucha from my large jar (holds 1.8 gallons, but I don't think I'll ever have it full to the top) every 4 days, then add about 6 ounces (20%) fruit juice or puree, and let it ferment again for 4 days, then put it in the fridge. Each bottle is 32 ounces, so I'll be able to drink 8 ounces of kombucha per day, 4 days worth from each bottle, then the next bottle should be ready.

 

Obviously, this is how it would work in a perfect world and I know I'll have to do some trial and error to get the timing right. Depending on how fermented the kombucha is after the first 7 days, I may have to draw all 3 bottles at once so it doesn't turn to vinegar, lol. My house is pretty warm, so I expect the scoby to work quickly.

 

Also, the bottles I got say to hand wash only. I don't have a dishwasher anyway, but I would be afraid to boil them for sterilization. Would it work pretty well to fill them with really hot water from the tap with some bleach in them to clean the bottles before bottling my kombucha? Should I bleach and clean the bottles each time I fill them as well?

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My scoby sunk! I think I moved it too much and it sunk down in the jar, will it be ok?

_________________________

 

scobys sink sometimes. This is nothing to worry about. More will film on top. Ideally don't move the jar around much in the future, but it's fine.

 

_________________________

 

Also, the bottles I got say to hand wash only. I don't have a dishwasher anyway, but I would be afraid to boil them for sterilization. Would it work pretty well to fill them with really hot water from the tap with some bleach in them to clean the bottles before bottling my kombucha? Should I bleach and clean the bottles each time I fill them as well?

_________________________

 

I would NOT use bleach, although I guess some people do. Vinegar works, and just makes me more comfortable....if you want to use bleach make sure it is very well diluted (1 gallon water to 1 tablespoon bleach). With vinegar you can use it straight. 

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It's already got another scoby forming on top of the liquid! 

 

I have another question...Everyone says to use filtered water, but what if your tap water is really clean and good already? My neighborhood has it's own water tower separate from the city water and our water, while full of minerals and has a very high pH (about 8.0) it is very low in chlorine and free of fluoride. Our city water tastes like a swimming pool, but I happily drink water from our neighborhood out of my tap because it tastes so good. I don't even use water conditioner in my fish tanks anymore to remove chlorine and chloramines.

 

After boiling the water to make tea, and then letting it cool, I imagine whatever small amount of chlorine is in our water would evaporate out, so would my tap water be safe for kombucha?

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Oops, I boiled my water for the 10-15 minutes when I first started the CB, but had forgotten about it since then and have just been using my kettle.  And I haven't killed my scoby yet, which considering my track record with plants is impressive.

 

I've just checked out water quality report and there's very little chlorine in our water (<.3 mg/L on average and .6 mg as the max).  I've also been wondering whether we have hard or soft water (as the laundry detergent box specifies different amounts depending on the water) and the water report tells me that too :)  Obviously, this is why I get nothing done around the house, I'm too easily distracted.

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I boiled 5 quarts of water this morning and dissolved 1 1/4 cups sugar in it, then steeped 5 green tea bags and 5 white tea bags in it for about 10 minutes. Then I let it sit and cool until this evening and put it into my drink dispenser, added my scobys with the 3 cups of liquid they've been growing in, and covered with two layers of unbleached muslin held down with a rubber band.

 

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No, there is not. There is a bit of plastic on the outside that is painted with metallic paint, but the whole inside part that will touch the tea is plastic.

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MAJOR BOOCH EXPLOSION!

 

So today is day 4 of my second ferment.  I had 8 Grolsch bottles to burp.  3 of them totally exploded.  (The first one caught me off guard...as in blueberries in my hair and on my ceiling.)

 

What did I do wrong?  Were they too full?  Did I wait too long to burp?  I can deal with the mess (okay...my hubbie can), but I lost most of the booch in those bottles.  :(:(:(

 

Help!

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Too much sugar in the bottles? (Either from the fruit you added, or your original brew)

Too warm where you're storing the bottles? 

I wouldn't think the amount of room left at the top would make a huge difference.

 

I'd go with the temperature they're being stored at (as mine hasn't been exploding).  Maybe put them in the fridge after day 2 next time?

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