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Kombucha Makers Unite; Where to ask and be answered

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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...

 

The issue with flavored teas like your vanilla bean, is that the oils might damage the scoby or go rancid. This probably wouldn't happen on the first batch, but over time it might. So, depending on your taste for adventure, you could do some batches with the flavored one, maybe alternating with something plain? Do make certain the tea is really tea and not an herbal concoction--green, white, black, etc. are needed to feed the scoby.

 

Personally I stick to plain teas for the first ferment and add flavoring in the second (my scoby is healthy and robust and multiplying) but someday I might pull an extra one and test out a batch with flavored tea.

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GT's Gingerade is my $4 a bottle weakness.  I've been trying for a year to create a copy it still hasn't worked... Has anyone managed to create a copy?  Can my scoby affect flavor - would it be worth growing a scoby from a plain GT bottle to use?

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GTs gingerade and their grape flavour are my two favourites. Recently I got the grape down pat and now I'm goign to start working on the gingerade. I think a lot has to do with what combo of tea you use for the initial fermentation because flavouring, to me, only seems to take it so far. I wondered if using ginger juice and lemon zest (so more gingery and the essence of a bit of lemon instead of the tartness of the juice) might work so that's where I'll go first.

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So I was all excited about brewing my own kombucha at first, but about a year ago just basically got overwhelmed with it and wasn't drinking it as much, and neglected my scoby. It sat atop my fridge for months and months, covered. I had a New Year's brunch at my house today and two of my friends got all excited and split it to take home. It doesn't look moldy at all and was still growing. Are there any safety concerns here, or should they feel free to brew?

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So I ignored my poor little scoby (sitting in a good amount of liquid) for too long and it has mold on it now. :( I really need to toss it and start over. I know the gal that grew and gifted her to me used herbal tea...sounds like this might have helped it mold or is it just that I left it unattended for so long?

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Aww, sorry to hear about your moldy scoby! Veronica has been quite the busy girl in my kitchen - I checked her this morning and she had a baby! Veronica's been exclusively on the bottom of the jar but there's a thin little baby floating at the top (not on the surface, but just below it)! I'm stoked...it's been 6 days since the initial making of the tea she's in so I'm going to do my first brewing! I have several bags of English Breakfast tea in my tea chest - no flavors - and the Cultures for Health website says that it's fine to use (Earl Grey, another I found several bags of, isn't okay). I'm going to make English Breakfast/green tea combo this time and pick up some plain black tea at the store. Here goes nothing!

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So I ignored my poor little scoby (sitting in a good amount of liquid) for too long and it has mold on it now. :( I really need to toss it and start over. I know the gal that grew and gifted her to me used herbal tea...sounds like this might have helped it mold or is it just that I left it unattended for so long?

I think that a scoby built on an herbal tea is not as healthy as one grown on conventional tea so it's possible that she succumbed because she didn't have the right pH? Healthy scobies need the tannins in black tea (or green, oolong etc) to thrive. Maybe try growing your own using plain GT kombucha and some sweet black tea? 1 cup of heated water, 1 teabag, 1/8 cup of sugar added to the bottle of GTs plain and then set with a cloth on top for about 14 days.

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I noticed today that one of the bottles of kombucha after secondary fermentation had what I thought was a baby SCOBY on top but it had stringy dark stuff that was darker than mold hanging from a clear baby SCOBY on top. Being afraid it was mold, I strained it out/dumped it out. The dark strings were purple-ish but still darker than the yeasts I've seen so far.

 

Do you think it could have been mold? Why did this baby SCOBY come out clear instead of whitish like the others? Had the yeasts decided to somehow move out of the SCOBY? The juice I used was an Ocean Spray Concord Grape/Blueberry/Blackberry 100% juice mix but it did have citric acid and a few other things in it. Was that the problem? Any ideas?

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The brown stringy stuff that shows up in second ferment is usually yeast that is hanging off itself or a little scoby. I find my teeny tiny scobies tend to be clear whereas my main guy is solid.

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Okay. I guess it's better to be safe than sorry, so oh well on the throwing it out. I'd rather not poison myself. The berry juice might have made them darker - they certainly looked black until I strained them out.

 

Question - if you flavor your second ferment with juice, what kind/brand/type do you use?

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I use any juice I can find that does not have any additives. My favourite right now is 4 cups of kombucha, about 2/3 cups of pomegranate juice and 1/3 cup of orange juice. SO good. 

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Hi all!

I just bottled my first batch of kombucha on Friday and yesterday while I was burping the bottles I figured I'd have a little sample. It tastes way too sweet! I had let it ferment for 7 days and it was on the sweet side when I bottled, but I was worried about letting it go too long the first time. Is there anything I can do at this point to make it less sweet? Thanks!

Amy

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Keep it on the counter and let it ferment. Just keep burping it to avoid any explosions. You might end up growing a new little scoby in the bottles but you can either just drink it or strain it out.

To avoid this problem in future, I would do the first ferment until the taste is slightly MORE sour/tart than you prefer. Then add your juice and second ferment for 2-3 days. For me that makes it just slightly more tart than what you buy in the grocery store which is how I like it.

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Thanks so much! That sounds perfect. I have definitely learned my lesson and will let it ferment longer in the first place for my next batch. There is definitely a fair amount of trial and error involved!

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I'm having a really hard time finding any juice that doesn't have additives. It makes me mad that "100% juice" means juice AND citric acid AND whatever else. I have one compliant apple juice (ingredient: apples) but that's it for now.

 

What are your favorite fruit-based flavors for the second ferment? I tried strawberry vanilla but it didn't taste that good (although I add it to my morning smoothie and it's delicious there) and I now have a peach ginger bottle and a mango ginger on 2F.

 

I use a 50/50 mix of green/black tea for now and this time I am finally starting to see some little bubbles...

 

Edited to add: Peach/ginger bubbled over when I burped the flip top bottle after only 24 hours. I'm still weaning myself onto kombucha so as not to have too terrible of gut symptoms in response. I'll try it tomorrow - I'm excited for bubbles! Even my mango ginger one seems to have some bubbles but it didn't bubble over (it's in just a plain jar, though, and the lid's press for safety button was harder to push than when I sealed it up).

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I'm just getting started with this whole brewing adventure, but I used freeze dried raspberries, blueberries, mango, and ginger. I just picked up dried cherries at Trader Joes and will use that on my upcoming batch. Tonight I am drinking my first whole glass of raspberry/blueberry ginger and I have to say it turned out delicious! Maybe slightly too sweet, but really good for my first batch! I also bought a big glass container on amazon today so I can switch to continuous brewing instead of one batch at a time. It's such a nice bubbly treat during the W30.

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Today marks the day I attempt to make my first scoby! I'm actually making two in separate jars. I tried kombucha for the first time yesterday (although I had been reading this thread for almost a week now)! I can definitely see what all the fuss is about, I love the flavor!! I bought (what I believe is) all the stuff I need to do CB, as that sounds like the most simple way to do it. I haven't even begun to consider flavoring a yet, but I think I have a little while before scobies are ready for that!

I am very happy to see that there are still a few people around on this thread!

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I have been thoroughly enjoying drinking my homemade kombucha this past week! It tastes especially good ice cold. My second batch should be ready for the fridge this afternoon and I'm excited to try my new flavors (cherry, currant). This weekend I am going to bottle my third batch and switch over to continuous brewing. It's been so much fun learning about the process and it's really low maintenance!

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I'm having a really hard time finding any juice that doesn't have additives. It makes me mad that "100% juice" means juice AND citric acid AND whatever else. I have one compliant apple juice (ingredient: apples) but that's it for now.

 

What are your favorite fruit-based flavors for the second ferment? I tried strawberry vanilla but it didn't taste that good (although I add it to my morning smoothie and it's delicious there) and I now have a peach ginger bottle and a mango ginger on 2F.

 

I've been doing pomegranate orange...which is amazingly delicious but much too expensive to continue with.  The pomegranate juice I buy is 100% pomegranate...but it's also over $10 for a litre bottle so that's too crazy for me.

 

I may start watching Craigslist for a juicer....so that I can juice in season fruits and then I know exactly what is in them.  I used to do fruit purees but it makes the end product quite murky & sometimes chunky which I don't enjoy.

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Well, Veronica is dead. Long live Veronica!

 

Basically...I went to do a new batch yesterday. When I removed the hair band holding the cover in place, I notice the cover isn't how it was. I open her up to take a look...and she has a MASSIVE bubble and she was filling up the mouth of the jar, dry on top. Around this time I notice a fruit fly buzzing around. I can't tell if it was under the cover or not. Needless to say, I pitched Veronica (to the food trash with you!) to avoid the possibility of maggots in my brew.

 

HOWEVER, there was a smaller baby on the bottom of the bottle...had been down there for the whole brewing time...never had access to the surface. So baby is now working away in my bottle and I'm using a jar ring to hold my cover down, not a hair band anymore. Since baby was so small I gave him/her extra starter to beef up. Now to name the baby...

 

What was left of my first brew is now becoming apple/ginger. I had way too much ginger in the mango and peach gingers, so I just did a very small knob in the larger bottle and just straight apple in the smaller jar. I did find apple juice with apple juice as the only ingredient...but nothing else. I have an orange that will be squeezed for the next batch just to try it.

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Just wanted to post a new and kind of odd flavour that turned out INSANELY fizzy and quite delicious. Basically I was looking for juice that is just juice, no additives, and not a billion dollars. Enter prune juice. Seriously. The first brew was done with English Breakfast tea and the second fermentation was 3 cups KT and 1 cup prune juice.

I found the finished product had a bit of a strange after taste to it but my hubby put a squirt of lemon in and it is fantastic!! It'll be one of my repeat flavours around here, for sure!

If you make this one, definitely make sure to burp your bottles during second ferment, it gets pretty pressurized!

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I've been having consistent fizz/bubble over during burping with a combination of frozen blueberries and orange/blood orange juice. I lost half of one of my bigger bottles that way, but I've gotten better at quickly recovering the bottleneck to keep from losing all my precious booch.

 

I have to set up a hotel soon, I've got 3 1/4" thick SCOBYs that are making me a bit too much right now...

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Oh, yes, orange juice gives nice fizz also! I did a pomegranate orange combo that was really good....but pure pomegranate juice is super expensive!

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