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Kombucha Makers Unite; Where to ask and be answered

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There actually was an issue with this in the US for a while, as one brand (GTs) was fermenting so much post-bottling that it became alcoholic! I find my homebrew keeps pretty much indefinitely once refrigerated. Left sitting out it will become too sour to drink after a while but I have not found that to be true in the fridge.

 

Hmmm, might need a bigger fridge... I'm sure I can get through it if it takes 2 weeks for the first ferment, but if it brews up in 4 days I might be in trouble! (It's in the cupboard under the bench next to the oven, so reasonably warm down there.)

 

Plus, I'll have to put my SCOBY to bed for a few weeks while I'm away at the end of next month - I'll read up a bit more about that before it's time to worry.

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Well my resurrected fridge-hoteled SCOBY is working great. Also wanted to share that I finally tried adding a bit of strong hibiscus tea to the second ferment in addition to black cherry concentrate and/or pom, and it's resulted in a beautifully fizzy and dry booch. Really lovely! And I'd had trouble making my booch fizzy, which I greatly prefer.

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Nice tip, M! I'm waiting for my vessel and will then try to conjure a SCOBY from bottled kombucha.

My water kefir is coming out sooo fizzy with zero effort. I'm on autopilot with the process--possibly easier bc it ferments in 24-48 hours depending on heat.

Curious to see how the kombucha process compares.

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Help!

 

So I grew a SCOBY from a plain bottle and this is what she looks like:

 

2F796144-6C60-4C4D-844F-A921F4309E9A_zps

 

It took a few weeks, but totally worth it.

 

I started my first batch of tea 5 days ago, and I finally opened (took over the towel and rubber band) to see if it was ready for 2F.

 

Here is what I saw:

 

D24BEB94-6577-4FAF-B735-E7BD6B4263AA_zps

 

Is this mold?? 

 

Do I need to start all over?

 

If my SCOBY doesn't have mold on her, is she safe?

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Looks like mold. I'd start over. I guess there's no harm in trying again with the same SCOBY, but if the next batch is moldy too, I'd throw her out.

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Is this mold?? 

 

I'd give it some more time before I threw it out, I don't think it's mold.  I believe it's the thickening of the scoby causing the less opaque coloring.  If there's fuzz, I would definitely throw it out.

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Wow, as I look at the picture again (so weird how that happens) I see the really whitish spots with the black flecks in them, um, they look mold. :ph34r:  I had mold on my second batch when I first started brewing and it was black and hairy.  I hope it's not mold.

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C0C39DDE-FF47-43E4-97B7-EAAA98103F13_zps

 

This is what it looks like up close

 

 

 

And here's a shot of how it looks like today:

 

CD50322E-E4FE-4698-836E-DC70D78ED913_zps

 

 

I'm thinking it's mold :/.

 

 

Either way I'm starting a new mother SCOBY tonight.

 

I was planning on 1 cup of sweet tea and 1 bottle of kombucha. It took a while for my SCOBY to grow last time. Any tips in speeding up the process? Or a different mix to use?

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I'm planning on starting with half-gallon mason jars, nothing special. We'll see how it works (waiting until late August, since I know I'll be gone for 3 straight weeks that month)!

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I didn't get any fizz on my first batch (my flavours weren't sugary enough to lead to fermentation), but it tasted great!

 

I made 3 big bottles with different flavours: ginger, lemon and ginger, and coffee. Coffee was amazing, if anyone is keen to try it (just poured about half a cup of cold coffee in the bottle and topped up with 'booch.

 

Gardnermer, I'm so sad for your mouldy batch :(

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I didn't get any fizz on my first batch (my flavours weren't sugary enough to lead to fermentation)

 

um, just in case people are confused reading this: if you didn't get fermentation you would not get the health benefits of kombucha or the flavor (AND it might get moldy). I suspect your batch fermented just fine...

 

Kombucha doesn't need to have bubbles to be "correct" or truly fermented. Although adding sweeter juice or fruit might help you get more bubbles, bubbles can also be encouraged by tightly sealing bottles (less space at the top, more air tight*), shaking bottles daily, etc.

 

*caution: these same steps also increase risk of explosions and broken bottles.

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OK I was gifted a continuous brew batch with SCOBY and I have questions.

 

Question 1: She gave this to me in a sun tea type container with a lid. Is this ok or should the lid be replaced with a cotton cloth and rubber band?

 

Question 2: When I asked her what kind of tea she used she said "Cherry Vanilla Twinnings I think". I believe she has been doing this with herbal tea and she said she usually waits 3 weeks. Is this going to be ok?

 

Question 3: It looks like I have a baby growing on the bottom, is that normal? Until recently the mama was on the bottom but now that has floated to the top. It's been 2+ weeks and I tested the PH today and it looks somewhere between 3 and 4 and it still tastes slightly sweet, but hard to tell with a flavored tea.

 

I'm also having much difficulty getting anything out of the spigot which indicates I might need to remove and clean anyway. 

 

Thoughts, advice, answers? :-)

 

 

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exciting! here are my thoughts:

 

Question 1: She gave this to me in a sun tea type container with a lid. Is this ok or should the lid be replaced with a cotton cloth and rubber band?

 

Yes! The first ferment needs to breathe, so replace the lid with cloth+rubber band asap.

 

Question 2: When I asked her what kind of tea she used she said "Cherry Vanilla Twinnings I think". I believe she has been doing this with herbal tea and she said she usually waits 3 weeks. Is this going to be ok?

 

I think cherry vanilla twinnings is black tea+flavoring, not pure herbal, which is good. Kombucha needs real tea to work (it might be ok for one batch but the scoby will die eventually without real tea). Black tea, green tea, oolong, something like that would be good. It can have flavor like the cherry vanilla or earl grey or whatever, but the scoby will be happier and healthier if you don't include flavoring in the first ferment. save flavors for the second ferment when the mother isn't in the brew--otherwise you might have a slow growing sluggish scoby or get mold or who knows what.

 

Question 3: It looks like I have a baby growing on the bottom, is that normal? Until recently the mama was on the bottom but now that has floated to the top. It's been 2+ weeks and I tested the PH today and it looks somewhere between 3 and 4 and it still tastes slightly sweet, but hard to tell with a flavored tea.

 

The mother and baby can be anywhere--especially if you have been moving the container around. I think it is best if the baby can form a kind of seal on the top of the liquid, but don't freak if it doesn't work out that way. I've found timing to be pretty forgiving, but then again, I like mine really sour. I've never taken PH measurements, so I haven't a clue about that.

 

Good luck!

 

 

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Thanks Mary! I didn't start this myself it was gifted to me as a full package, will definitely use a regular tea when I start feeding it. The cloth cover needs to be 100% cotton correct? Something like a tea towel? I think I have that but not sure if I have a proper sized rubber band.

 

And then my understanding of continuous brew (assuming I can get the spigot on this one to work) is that once 25% of the tea is gone I can add new tea and just wait a couple more days correct?

 

I really expected it to be ready by now as it has been in the 80s here for 2 weeks, but the gal that gave it to me says it always takes hers 3 weeks which seems really long to me.

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The cloth cover needs to be 100% cotton correct? Something like a tea towel? I think I have that but not sure if I have a proper sized rubber band.

I don't know if 100% cotton matters, since it doesn't touch the tea or the scoby. I use some scraps of quilting-weight fabric that are probably mostly cotton, pretty tight weave but thin fabric. For rubber bands, the band off asparagus bunches works pretty well for me. They break after a few months and need to get replaced, but it's not a big deal.

 

I haven't done continuous brew so I can't comment on that part. good luck!

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I use a linen dish towel and a big ribbon. As for continuous brew, I generally bottle all but a cup or so of the fermented tea before adding fresh sweet tea to the original SCOBY batch. In the summer, it generally only takes about a week for the new batch to then be ready for second ferment. Though I've only ever used the taste test, no ph strips here. And FYI, I've enjoyed green and white tea best. Have fun!

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Am I right to assume this is not whole30 compliant because of the sugar?

 

If you check the Can I Have list, the rule is, as long as there's no sugar added after the first fermentation, it's okay.

 

Here's the exact quote:

Kombucha: Read your labels

We like the probiotic benefits of ‘booch, and we think it makes a fine addition to your Whole30 menu. Just read your labels carefully—sugar listed in the ingredients generally means that it was added after fermentation, and that’s a no-go. Some varieties, like GT Dave’s Enlightened flavors, have fruits and fruit juices added, which are just fine.

- See more at: http://whole30.com/2013/06/the-official-can-i-have-guide-to-the-whole30/#sthash.8YSFvFQ0.dpuf

 

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I finally went and got a SCOBY from my friend. I have yet to decide on a final name for him/her. Veronica perhaps? Maybe. Regardless, I have a half gallon jar full of tea with this alien in it. I am now the weird person with strange foods...and have finally become as close to the mom described in Kid History's Healthy Eating video...minus the kids!

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Okay...question that I feel like I know the answer to but don't want to kill Veronica (or Judy, not sure which I'll go with).

 

Can I use flavored black/green full-caf teas as my initial ferment? So the entire box of vanilla black tea in my tea chest that hasn't been touched in years...can I use that to use it up? I feel like that would be delicious with some sort of herby flavor added to second ferment...

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