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Kombucha Makers Unite; Where to ask and be answered

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I like it! Sabrina and Josephine. :)

 

Hubby is drinking some of the kombucha too - this new flavor we can both drink straight which makes me happy. He doesn't drink it during the week but helps out so to speak over the weekends. I might have to get another fliptop bottle so I can make more at a time...or maybe not...decisions decisions!

 

Has anyone used kombucha to help their plants? I've got a couple of pots on my windowsill and the soil isn't that great. I'm wondering if the bacteria/yeasts in the booch would help colonize the soil and make it richer...off to research...

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So are most of you using fruit juice for second ferments?  I had been using ginger but I'm giving up on recreating GT's Gingerade... ain't gonna happen.  I put a spoonful of blueberries into my last second ferment (bottled in GT bottles) and all it did was turn the booch dark - I can't taste them at all.  I was just given a Nutribullet which, per my dad, is as good as his juicer so maybe I can make ginger juice and I'll give the Gingerade one more shot.  But besides that is using fruit instead of juice why I'm not tasting anything?  

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So are most of you using fruit juice for second ferments?

 

I use whole fruit, but way more than a spoonful: I put a full bag of frozen tart cherries (or cranberries or peaches, but usually the tart cherries) and let it go 5-7 days. I get good flavor that way. I have not had luck with sliced or grated ginger, but moderate success when adding ginger juice FWIW.

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So are most of you using fruit juice for second ferments?  I had been using ginger but I'm giving up on recreating GT's Gingerade... ain't gonna happen.  I put a spoonful of blueberries into my last second ferment (bottled in GT bottles) and all it did was turn the booch dark - I can't taste them at all.  I was just given a Nutribullet which, per my dad, is as good as his juicer so maybe I can make ginger juice and I'll give the Gingerade one more shot.  But besides that is using fruit instead of juice why I'm not tasting anything?  

 

I use fruit juice a lot, but mostly because I'm too lazy to cut up fruit, it's so much easier to buy a few bottles of juice to keep in the pantry and then they're there when I get around to bottling for my 2F. 

 

When you did the blueberries, did you cut them up at all? When I do use berries, I cut them at least in half, and larger things like strawberries I cut into fourths. More surface area exposed in the booch=more flavor, from what I've read.

 

If you figure out the Gingerade thing, please post how you did it. I've given up on recreating any of the GT's flavors, they never turn out quite right. Although they're often good anyway. I recently put some frozen raspberries, slices of ginger, and lemon juice in some, and while it wasn't Trilogy, it was pretty good.

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What you using for a container for a second ferment?  I usually just use GT bottles.  So I have about 2 cups of booch in there - any idea how many cups are in your second ferment container?

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I used Maine wild blueberries so, no I didn't cut them :)  My husband actually suggested maybe mashing them next time but when I put in mush (as in the grated ginger I tried last time) I got nasty mini SCOBY/ginger blobs floating at the top of my bottles.  I just scooped them out before drinking but no chance of converting any non-booch drinkers if you handed them a bottle of that!

 

I'm hoping that fresh ginger juice will help.  I've tried store bought ginger juice but that didn't work.  I've tried ginger slices, chunks and grated - non of which worked.  Every once in a while one of the bottles right out of the fridge would be pretty close but nothing reliable.   I even tried candied ginger once (but used too little because I didn't want to add 200 calories of candy to each bottle...) 

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I used to use fresh fruit purees but didn't love the sludge that was left at the bottom of each bottle. I use juice now, plain Grape juice in 2F (and English Breakfast in first brew) and it comes pretty close to the GT's grape. And it's nice and clear.

I've found that raspberry puree, cherry puree + vanilla and the grape juice are the only ones where the flavour of the finished product is even close to the flavourings that I put in. (I had decent luck with apple juice, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods and a clove....a LOT like Brew Dr. Apple Chai)

I'm considering purchasing a juicer so I can make my own juices to flavour.....but then I think, I make absolutely everything we eat or use on our bodies, do I really want to make something else? LOL.

I use the Ikea flip top bottles so had to puree the fruit or I'd never get it out of the bottles.

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Hi all,

 

I mostly use dried fruit and flowers, but mostly flowers - it's easy peasy.  1F is a ratio of 3/4 black to 1/4 green tea (6 blk, 2 grn and 1 cup of sugar per gallon of sweet tea).  2F - currently I pour my perfectly fermented 1F buch into 1/2 gallon growlers and add one tablespoon of hibiscus or lavender to each, let them sit on counter (burping daily; being very careful when burping the hibiscus - it gets VERY fuzzy) for 2 to 4 days then once I need product to drink or the buch is crazy fizzy I decant through a mesh strainer into ez cap bottles, usually mixing the the lavender and the hibiscus 50/50.  At this point I will leave these bottles on the counter as I drink them, but will usually put a bottle in the fridge if I'm not going to drink it right away.

 

Last year a friend gave us a bag of dried raspberries, they made the most delicate delicious buch, so yummy.

 

I'm not sure it's possible to duplicate the commercial buch flavors when you're doing small batches.  I suppose if you had a lot of time on your hands and gallons and gallons of buch you might be able to get close.  I just try something different every once in awhile.  So pleased with the lavender experiment, it is very nice.

 

That said, once you get adept at making your own you won't have to buy it anymore and the memories of those flavors will fade.  Similarly as we get some distance between us and commercial soda pop the effervescent quality of the buch can satisfy our desire for bubbles.  And if bubbles are what I'm after I drink la croix.  

 

For when we're not doing a Whole30 (which I am on day 10 of my 4th one) I found this organic ginger syrup (if memory serves it is ginger infused honey) that makes a really delicious drink.

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I picked up some oven dried apricots the other day and chopped up a few pieces and put them in 32 oz of KT to second ferment.  I was so excited about the possibilities that I had to try it on day 2........so delicious.  Day 2 tasted better than day 4, so I still have some tweaking to do to figure out how best to brew it.

 

Has anyone else tried dried fruit?

 

Day 20 today, plugging along.

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Sorry....I read this thread earlier and then when I had a moment a bit ago to get on here and ask my question I didn't read what else had been added.... so y'all have already answered my question.  :)  Thx.  

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Woo! I was trying to read this whole thread but couldn't. Haha. I'm brewing my own booch too! I cheated and bought a kit off amazon and the reviews said the kit didn't come with a scoby so I bought one separate. Anyway the review was wrong and now I have 2 brews going. So exciting. My first batch from the kit is very good but my other one is very vinegary. The instructions said to add a whole cup of vinegar so I did.

It's like a science project!

I have only drunk it plain, but these flavor ideas are awesome! I'll have to try that one day.

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After giving up on my GTs gingerade copy-cat attempts I decided to try one more time.  I thought maybe the SCOBY had something to do with it... so I got 2 plain GTs and put them in a big ol' jar with some sugared tea and grew a GT SCOBY.  I figured I'd pass this along since there is conflicting info out there about whether with GTs "new" formulas growing a SCOBY is possible.  

 

It was.

 

Its been about a 2 weeks and its a decent size already.  

 

Less expensive than buying a kit too!

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I just started my first attempt to grow a SCOBY from GT's original. We'll see how it goes. Its warm here in CA so I'll hopefully have something big enough to play with in a couple of weeks.

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So glad to find this thread! I've restarted my batch after a fallow period with a lot of black tea and the darkest sugar I could fine and the culture is coming together nicely. I'm very eager to get my favorite rosemary kombucha back into my daily intake. 

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My two batches have been sitting untouched since Memorial Day weekend...I checked on them yesterday and the SCOBYs are 2-3 INCHES thick! I am quite impressed. Now to get over the morning sickness aversion and take care of them...

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So glad to find this thread! I've restarted my batch after a fallow period with a lot of black tea and the darkest sugar I could fine and the culture is coming together nicely. I'm very eager to get my favorite rosemary kombucha back into my daily intake. 

 

why the darkest sugar? Dark colored sugar tends to be high in molasses, which is high in mineral content. Such mineral content is fantastic for water keifer, but too many minerals will yield yeasty kombucha--maybe not on the first batch, but after a while. Kombucha does best on organic cane sugar.

 

Also, in case you were wondering, alternative sugars don't work for kombucha either, at least for long term, so no coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup or stevia. There is a culture that grows on honey (Jun tea), but you need a Jun scoby for that one.  :)

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I use it for that exact reason. I don't use it every time, but lighter sugars simply don't yield a suitably complex flavor for me. I find that cycling through sugars at various points creates a more robust flavor overall. I use dark sugar roughly ever 4-5 batches, but I mind the carbonation pretty closely. I've had batches go wrong (too yeasty, one case was very dramatic a few years ago) but the yeast makes its excitement known pretty quickly and it has been easy enough to correct through removal and dilution. 

 

I've never succeeded with water kefir, but the only starters I've been able to get my hands on so far seemed as though they were in a fairly weakened state. I've never tried any 'non-sugars' in brewing. 

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He who dares and all that ... I do want fizzy kombucha. Will just have to accept possible kombucha bomb as a possibility (or should that be inevitability?).

Quality of glass is a big deal here as well. Heavy swing tops like those used by Grolsch are excellent. We once used glass swingtops that were really only designed to hold water to store milk kefir during a Labor Day picnic and the pressure of the active fermentation split the bottles right down the seam as they sat on the table. Not all glass is created equally. Start there. Remember, there's glass out there that's designed with withstand the pressure of champagne and other carbonated beverages. 

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Quality of glass is a big deal here as well. Heavy swing tops like those used by Grolsch are excellent. We once used glass swingtops that were really only designed to hold water to store milk kefir during a Labor Day picnic and the pressure of the active fermentation split the bottles right down the seam as they sat on the table. Not all glass is created equally. Start there. Remember, there's glass out there that's designed with withstand the pressure of champagne and other carbonated beverages. 

I use the Ikea flip top bottles and have been for over two years, no troubles and lots of bubbles.  ;)  I have started to switch over to the grolsch style bottle as my hubby drinks the growlers of beer in the summer so I basically get the bottles as a happy bonus. I like them better because they have a much tighter seal but I like them less due to the fact that you cannot see what's in them.

 

I would probably not leave any bottle sealed and on a picnic table in the heat of summer because of course you'll get more fermentation which increases pressure.  But I do secondary in them for two days and then refrigerate and they are fine.  :)

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How big is that jar you have it growing in?  As long as the new batch isn't too huge, I would think it should work.  You could always wait another week just to be absolutely sure.  Wouldn't want to have to start over if it wasn't quite up to the challenge.

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