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Kombucha Makers Unite; Where to ask and be answered

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Bit of a rescue mission for me I am afraid!

 

I started a CB just before Christmas - it's just a small one - it came with two small mothers and I set it up with a mix of green and black tea. the first draw was lovely and it remained the same for a couple of weeks. Formed a lovely white creamy looking healthy Scooby on the top which is over 1cm thick ... but then it went very vinegary!

 

I tried starting again but the result is the same. Do I have too much Scooby now between the two that came with the kit and the new one, is that why they are turning sour very quickly (by day 4 there is no trace of sweetness). Should I make a hotel or throw out the original two mothers and just brew with the new Scooby(starting from scratch with a little of the vinegar and new tea and sugar?

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I am not an expert at all, but from what I have seen on this thread, the more/bigger scoby in the bottle, the faster it will eat all the sugar, especially if you are somewhere warm. So if you have 3 scobies in there and also a baby, it is probably eating all the sugar super fast.

 

I haven't brewed a batch yet though, so hopefully someone with more experience will also answer!

 

My first scoby has been growing slowly, because winter... I had it in there for a week and barely saw any change, but I came home from a weekend trip to my best friend's and it was starting to film up over the surface! I'm so excited!

 

Since it is so cold in the winter, I am putting mine in a cabinet under the counter. Not only is there a heating vent right under the cabinet which keeps it warmer in there, the cabinet is right next to the stove, so it gets some ambient heat when I cook (but I keep it on the far side so it won't get too hot and kill the kombucha).

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I've been having very good luck with my kombucha lately. I switched from fruit juice, to using straight up concentrate. I use 100% juice concentrate and my favorite flavors are berry or apple/berry mixtures (apple cherry, apple raspberry, grape, blueberry pomegranate). I make a total of 120 ounces of kombucha a week (3x 32 oz. bottles and 1x24oz bottle) I measure out 1/4 c. juice concentrate for the 24 oz. bottle, then divide the remaining concentrate (from a 12oz. can of frozen concentrate) evenly among the 3 larger bottles. I do CB still in a 1.8 gallon beverage dispenser, but I treat it more like a batch brew (I pull off all my booch at once). I boil a gallon of tap water, then add 1 cup organic sugar and dissolve it, then let it cool for about 30-40 minutes, then add 4 white tea bags and 4 green tea bags and steep them until I remember to take them out (usually an hour or so). Then I let the fresh tea cool to room temp. I pull off my booch from the CB container with my big 4 cup measuring cup and fill my bottles that already have the juice concentrate in them, close them up and turn them back and forth to make sure the juice mixes evenly and set them aside in a warm spot in the kitchen. I do my second ferment for 3 days.

 

For the Cb container, I use my 4 cup measuring cup to pour the fresh tea into the container, but I use a plastic chopstick to wick the tea over to the side of the container and underneath my scoby. My container is hexagonal, so my scoby ends up shaped like a stop sign. I use the chop stick to push one corner down and then the tea follows the chopstick down into the container and ends up under the scoby, so that the scoby can stay floating on top. Currently I have 3 1/4" thick scobies (two are from times I wasn't able to keep them floating, so they sunk and a new one formed). Because it's winter and a bit colder, I keep my whole setup sitting on top of my hot water heater. I have a half-sized water heater that is in my kitchen and is inside a housing that makes up part of my kitchen counter. The top gets slightly warm to the touch from the 120+ degree water being held inside it, so my booch ferments pretty quickly.

 

I was doing things almost the same, only I was using fresh fruit juice (blending fresh fruit and straining it) and my booch was ending up very, very acidic (burned my throat) and alcoholic (I can tell immediately if I've had alcohol). I let it sit for about 3 months just ignoring it, and when I finally got in there and cleaned it all up and got things going again, my booch has been tangy and pleasantly tart, but very drinkable and no more throat burning, as well as no more alcohol. I'm loving my booch again and enjoy having a couple cups of it every night with dinner instead of my old can of coke zero.

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Can anyone tell me how Kombucha compares to Kefir for probiotics?

 

I assume you mean water kefir? They are similar. Kombucha is a bit stronger, ie. less sweet, more probiotics and enzymes, a little easier/more predictable to brew, but the general intent and effect is the same.

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I am new here today and I think I found my favorite thread already!  I love, love kombucha.  I have 2 gallons going at all times and plan on getting a crock soon so I can do a continuous brew.  Imagine my excitement when I read I could still have my Booch!  I plan on trying to find water kefir grains since all I have are the milk kefir grains. 

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*sigh* I just can't seem to get my booch right. I had a nice system going, where I pulled from my CB every sunday, put it in quart bottles with a little juice concentrate and let it sit 3 days for second ferment. But when I tasted it straight up right out of the CB, it was very bland, no tartness at all, too sweet, but not really sweet... So I decided to let it go a few more days last time and tasted it daily and after brewing 12 days it was perfect. I pulled it off, added my juice concentrate and let it second ferment for 3 days again and tasted it. It tasted great. So I drank 2 cups of it after it got cold in the fridge...and it was very alcoholic. I got the feeling I get whenever I have alcohol, which I don't like. So either my booch is non-alcoholic, but very weak and too sweet, or alcoholic and tasty. I don't know what to do to make it less alcoholic...

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If you google "kombucha second ferment" you will have all the resources you need for flavoring and second fermenting.  ;)

 

My absolute favorite and the easiest ways (I love easy) I've figured out to flavor buch is with dried hibiscus flowers, chopped up ginger and dried raspberries (a friend of ours gave us some and we didn't like eating them so I threw some into a couple of bottles of buch, chaching!).  Oh, and not necessarily in the same bottle.  One of these days I'm going to try juices, but probably not until I retire in about 7 years, ha.

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I made my last 2 batches of kombucha with loose leaf jasmine tea I got at the asian market. I just tasted it and HOLY COW is it good! And it got ULTRA fizzy! Is there any issue with using Jasmine tea every time I brew? Only ingredients are Green tea and Jasmine flowers.

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Hey gang!

I've finally decided to get back to brewing. My enormous multiplied scoby has been in her refrigerated hotel for more than a year. Anyone foresee any problems with that? I guess I'll just forge ahead and find out.

Any of the original gang still around? Have any fresh new flavors or other discoveries to share? So happy to be back. My GT habit was starting to break the bank again and I just needed a day off to get all my stuff together to make it happen. . . .

Also, and I don't know why it only just occurred to me to do this, glassware ho that I am, but booch tastes so much better and feels so fancy and special when sipped from a champagne flute. I may have found the solution to my summer cocktail anxiety, at least at parties!

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I am very interested to see how it goes.  I've read it's both okay and not okay to refrigerate your Scoby.  Please keep us posted.

 

I recently used canned homemade (steam extracted) concord grape juice to second ferment and it came out gently carbonated.  Very grapey though, not sure how I feel about that.  Have been thinking about using some of the grape juice and adding another flavor to overpower it, but haven't come up with anything yet.  I'm open to suggestions, maybe tumeric :wacko:

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I'm thinking about trying out juice for second ferments when the time comes. I always used whole fruit to varying levels of success, and it seems juice leads to better fizz. And me likey fizz. It goes better in the champagne flutes that way! ;)

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I'm currently in mourning as I had to throw baby and mother out because of fruit flies and fuzzy blue mould :blink:  :angry:  - I was not a happy camper last night.  Out to buy some plain GT's and start over.....

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LadyM, I was wondering something very similar - mine has been neglected since January, sitting in its hotel on top of my fridge. I checked it for mold and it looks fine, so now that I'm back from a vacation I think it's time to start again!

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LadyM, I was wondering something very similar - mine has been neglected since January, sitting in its hotel on top of my fridge. I checked it for mold and it looks fine, so now that I'm back from a vacation I think it's time to start again!

 

Let us know how it goes! We'll have to compare notes.

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No.  I keep mine in the basement in a cool dark place.  I don't think they have to be in the fridge.  I don't know that it would hurt, though.

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NEVER put a scoby in the fridge!! A scoby hotel should be at room temp. All you need to do is leave the scoby in a jar somewhere dark and occasionally add some fresh sweet tea. It will stay dormant (but healthy) for months and months.

 

http://www.kombuchakamp.com/2011/10/kombucha-brewing-problems-dehydrated-and-refrigerated-scobys.html

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Well, that advice, I'm afraid, is a little late for me, Vian. I read conflicting info last year when I chose to do it.

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My SCOBY has been hanging out since last year when it started to get too cool around here for proper brewing. I have not been adding any tea as it sat above the refrigerator. This will definitely be an experiment as I start brewing again! No mold but such a strong odor of vinegar of course! I think I will get a bottle or two of plain GTs and put my SCOBY in there and start brewing again. Like you said LadyM, it gets to be an expensive habit when not brewing your own!

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RE: SUGAR IN KOMUBCHA

 

Sharing info for those who are interested - as a Type 1 diabetic, I have the advantage of being my own experiment on exactly how much and how quickly foods raise blood sugar...  (that means my body doesn't produce insulin, I have to put all of it in externally, so I am a 30+ year living glycemic index - I eat/drink - I test my blood sugar a bit later - I know exactly what that food/drink did to my glucose level).

 

I have made 4 batches of kombucha. I don't bother fizzing; flavors are great, I buy them in GT, but I also like it "straight" and it's easier that way at home.

 

The first time I made it I followed my friend's instructions and let it go only 8 days. The closet temp was probably low 70s. It was delicious, but definitely sweet/tangy, so I looked up info on line. In various places it says, "Don't worry, the sugars get eaten by the scoby." However, I noticed it did raise my blood sugar more than the low grams of sugar I expected.  :(

 

This last time I was on vacation, so it brewed for probably 12 days. It is much more tart than sweet. I still like it that way - I think my body craves this stuff! With additional time, the scoby "ate" more of the sugars. My N=1 proved that this round was DEFINITELY less of a blood sugar hit. 

 

MORAL OF THE STORY:  For those that care, if it tastes really sweet, it probably is!

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