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Kombucha Makers Unite; Where to ask and be answered

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I've been brewing my own kombucha for the last eight months or so and I have an awesome scoby that reproduces with every batch. I let each batch ferment for 12-14 days (or longer if I get busy and forget). Prior to Whole30, I would peel off old layers when it got too thick and save them to blend up in my smoothies. I liked the tang and the smooth texture it gave them. Now that I'm giving up smoothies (for twenty-one more days, anyway), I'm wondering what creative uses people have for old scobies - I've read all kinds of things on the web, but would be interested to hear your experiences. Or do you just toss them?

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I've been brewing my own kombucha for the last eight months or so and I have an awesome scoby that reproduces with every batch. I let each batch ferment for 12-14 days (or longer if I get busy and forget). Prior to Whole30, I would peel off old layers when it got too thick and save them to blend up in my smoothies. I liked the tang and the smooth texture it gave them. Now that I'm giving up smoothies (for twenty-one more days, anyway), I'm wondering what creative uses people have for old scobies - I've read all kinds of things on the web, but would be interested to hear your experiences. Or do you just toss them?

I use some of my tea scobies to make coffee kombucha for my husband, I have a huge hotel stuffed with about 25 of them and the new ones that don't fit in the hotel I just throw out. When I'm home for awhile (now that summer holidays are nearly over) and life's not too busy, I usually put a craigslist ad up and offer them for free if the person brings their own jar. That's always fun because people are usually SO excited to get it and to have a real live person to talk to about starting.

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Awesome idea! Plus one for the n00bs right here ... Three weeks ago I didn't know what kombucha was, and now I (hopefully) have a pet SCOBY growing in my kitchen. Either that or I am farming mould.

Apparently getting into this makes you crazy so it'll be nice to have a place for us loonies to hang out together

I too am brand new at this Kombucha stuff, but I'm hooked! I was gifted a baby scoby almost a week ago and I'm anxious to see how it turns out & to try some of these wonderful flavors that have been posted. 

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hello kombucha lovers!  haha :)  I'm glad to see there is such a lenghty discussion here.  I hope to go back and read everything when I have more time.  I've been making kombucha for about a month now and loving it!  I like my home brew much better than the store bought stuff...it's always too strong tasting for me. 

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Ok, so I think I'm a booch convert.

However, my reasonably priced source of bottled booch is now out of stock in all varieties (except for small bottles which aren't very economical, and since the only other suppliers I can find are extortionate I'm wondering how easy it really is (and how much space I'll need) to make my own.

I know all the information is probably in this thread as to what exactly I need, how long it will take, how cost effective it will be etc etc etc but ther are SIXTY SIX pages and my time is somewhat limited...  :wacko: 

I'm not currently doing a Whole30 and so when I spoke to a potential supplier she tried to convince me that Milk Kefir was the way to go (someone local makes it for her), but since I avoid dairy for the most part I'm reluctant to go down that route. She can get kombucha made locally too but she did her best to talk me out of it saying it tastes like vinegar :rolleyes: 

Although I'm waiting on a batch of preserving/pickle jars arriving so that I can ferment my own veg I quite like the idea of waking up with a glass of kombucha with my breakfast so if anyone in the know who happens to be feeling generous with their time would like to give me a quick run down I'd be very grateful!

TIA.

 

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 She can get kombucha made locally too but she did her best to talk me out of it saying it tastes like vinegar :rolleyes: 

You're a free thinker.  Don't let her talk you out of it.  It tastes like vinegar, even the best of the best. It is an acquired taste and I don't mind that, do you?   If it tastes like koolaid, then it has sugar.   GT Original costs $4 bucks a pop where I live.  That adds up very quickly.  Make your own and enjoy it.  Life's too short to do without the finer things in life. Good food and a booch to boost the spirit. 

 

Then there's hooch booch but you won't be making that.  ;) That requires juniper berries. 

 

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The one I've got tastes like fizzy ACV with a hint of something fruity.

It probably IS an acquired taste but I like it, and I felt the benefits of in a matter of days - my stomach just seems so settled. But at the price I'd have to pay to keep buying it bottled I'd have to take out a loan, hence the thought of making it myself. I think this way if I'm successful I can alternate the booch with the kraut (or whatever other veg I make) and get the benefits daily.

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The one I've tastes like fizzy ACV with a hint of something fruity.

It probably IS an acquired taste but I like it, and I felt the benefits of in a matter of days - my stomach just seems so settled. But at the price I'd have to pay to keep buying it bottled I'd have to take out a loan, hence the thought of making it myself. I think this way if I'm successful I can alternate the booch with the kraut (or whatever other veg I make) and get the benefits daily.

Yes, absolutely.    You'll have it down to a fine art in no time.

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Ok, so I think I'm a booch convert.

However, my reasonably priced source of bottled booch is now out of stock in all varieties (except for small bottles which aren't very economical, and since the only other suppliers I can find are extortionate I'm wondering how easy it really is (and how much space I'll need) to make my own.

I know all the information is probably in this thread as to what exactly I need, how long it will take, how cost effective it will be etc etc etc but ther are SIXTY SIX pages and my time is somewhat limited...  :wacko: 

I'm not currently doing a Whole30 and so when I spoke to a potential supplier she tried to convince me that Milk Kefir was the way to go (someone local makes it for her), but since I avoid dairy for the most part I'm reluctant to go down that route. She can get kombucha made locally too but she did her best to talk me out of it saying it tastes like vinegar :rolleyes: 

Although I'm waiting on a batch of preserving/pickle jars arriving so that I can ferment my own veg I quite like the idea of waking up with a glass of kombucha with my breakfast so if anyone in the know who happens to be feeling generous with their time would like to give me a quick run down I'd be very grateful!

TIA.

 

The trouble with kefir grains is that they need to be fed constantly or they will die. The scoby from making kombucha does not and will sit happily in its liquid for weeks before you have to feed it or make a new batch.

 

Here's the summary I wrote for my blog way back when:

 

SUMMARY! Time wise it will take you about 20 minutes every 6-9 days or so once you get going.  Get/make scoby. Brew and cool sweetened tea.  Dump equal amounts tea and water into large glass vessel with scoby. Come back 6-9 days later and start tasting.  Put tea in bottles when it tastes good to you. Put fruit or juice in bottles if desired. Refrigerate immediately if plain, counter ferment sealed & covered with towel if using fruit.  About 30 hours, burp daily.  Refrigerate.  Start again.

 

So it takes up as much space on the counter as whatever size your brewing vessel is.  And it takes as much time as brewing some tea at the start of your batch and pouring it into bottles at the end of your ferment cycle.  It's so, super, ridiculously easy!

 

You can PM me if you want more directed advice, I've got generosity of time right now!  :) 

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Brilliant. Thanks for this ladyshanny!

I'm gonna start looking for a starter kit and get brewing.

No doubt I'll have more questions as I go along!

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Brilliant. Thanks for this ladyshanny!

I'm gonna start looking for a starter kit and get brewing.

No doubt I'll have more questions as I go along!

The person who could get you local kombucha, ask them if their source would share a scoby and some starter liquid (which is just plain, unflavored kombucha) -- typically kombucha brewers have more scoby than we know what to do with, so they might be willing to share. Never hurts to ask, anyway.

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The person who could get you local kombucha, ask them if their source would share a scoby and some starter liquid (which is just plain, unflavored kombucha) -- typically kombucha brewers have more scoby than we know what to do with, so they might be willing to share. Never hurts to ask, anyway.

Will do, thanks Shannon - I've had a quick look online at Starter Kits & there is currently a delay on all of them due to the scoby's apparently not liking the cold weather so this could work well for me 

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So I love kombucha but yes it is pricy and adds up quick, Especialy when I drink an average of 4 a week. I would LOVE to make my own. Any recommendations on where to start??

Hi Summeradele,  there are 66 pages in this particular thread with instructions, tips and tricks.  If you don't want to read through all of that, a quick google search will tell you how to get started.  :)

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So after doing some research for starter kits online they all have sugar. Is it always necessary to add sugar when making your own kombucha? Or is adding sugar a personal preference? Also they are averaging around 55$. Is that sound about right cost wise?

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So after doing some research for starter kits online they all have sugar. Is it always necessary to add sugar when making your own kombucha? Or is adding sugar a personal preference? Also they are averaging around 55$. Is that sound about right cost wise?

Sugar is required to do the first fermentation, yes. The sugar is consumed by the scoby during the fermentation process.  As long as no sugar is added after the first fermentation, you're fine. No clue on cost of a starter kit, you'd probably just have to shop around.

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That's what I was thinking. Just wanted to confirm, thank you! So does it only need to be fermented twice if you are adding juice or sugar after the first fermentation? Also, I have a bunch of mason jars, would those work?

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Have a read through this thread.  Almost every question that you can ask as a beginner maker is answered here.  You can also google and get many good websites like Wellness Mama and I think Stupid Easy Paleo and that will provide you with loads of information.

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That's what I was thinking. Just wanted to confirm, thank you! So does it only need to be fermented twice if you are adding juice or sugar after the first fermentation? Also, I have a bunch of mason jars, would those work?

 

The second ferment in smaller, air tight(ish) bottles is not necessary, but even without adding any fruit or juice or anything, might give you more fizz, if you like it fizzy. First ferments may get some fizz, but usually not much.

 

If you like it plain without flavoring, you might look into continuous brew, which you do in a container with a spigot (like a glass sun tea jar with a plastic spigot), and can just draw it off a glass or bottle at a time as you want some, and replace what you've taken off with sweet tea periodically. You can still do a 2f with a continuous brew too if you want to.

 

For batch brewing, mason jars will work just fine. 

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I went to a Kombucha class and will share some of tips I got (my first batch is really strange but I think I used the wrong tea and not really sure what to do with it).

 

Don't

  • Use a cloth on top that has holes (we have a cloth here called Chux and it's bad as it lets fruit flies in), it needs to breathe but not let bugs in
  • Booch shouldn't overheat or be too cold, next to the stove or window can be a scoby killer
  • Use non-black tea - tip was first batch should always be black tea and if you use other teas later, always follow with a black tea batch to boost the scoby, ongoing use of other teas can either kill or make the scoby sick/fail - if you can find it, some people find the organic ones brew better but this might just be local brands
  • Forget about your booch

Do

  • Keep your spare baby scabies - they can live in the fridge for ages
  • Use airtight bottles for second ferment if you want fizz
  • If you want yours to look more like the store bought, strain it before it's final bottle (our teacher did this as a third step after 2nd fermentation complete)

My big mistakes so far is I totally forgot I made the booch (so have way overbrewed it at first ferment) and I thought I had used black tea but it was actually a dark green tea (lotus tea), so I'm considering throwing it all out and starting again as my booch looks really weird (but it may just be a giant scoby). I was a bit overexcited after the class and I didn't want to wait to start, but in hindsight this was a mistake and I picked a tea from what I have  :rolleyes:

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Thank you for all the pointers!! I have started growing my own scoby! I'm super excited about it. I used a mason jar with 3.5 cups of black tea, 1/4th cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of gt's organic raw kombucha (unflavored) and tried to get the little baby scoby from my kombucha in there too (it was very small) Covered it with a few coffee filters and rubber banned it.

Question: should I use only one filter? As I saw someone mention that it needs to breathe ? Also my jar is pretty much filled to the very top. Should I poor some out or is this ok? The only other container I have is about a 3 gallon one with a spout that I was going to brew the actual kombucha in. And last question is I don't really know where to keep it. My kitchen has lights under all the cabinets that stay on so I didn't want constant light on it, I do have one section without a light but it's right by the stove and I know extreme heat can hurt it, and then I thought in my bathroom under the shelf but thought that would just be weird haha so I currently have it my my closet in my hallway that we don't go in much. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

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Hi Summeradele, these are pretty specific kombucha brewing questions, most of which has been covered in the 67 pages of this thread. I would suggest that for directed kombucha brewing advice, you probably want to pose your questions on a brewing forum.  

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Thank you for all the pointers!! I have started growing my own scoby! I'm super excited about it. I used a mason jar with 3.5 cups of black tea, 1/4th cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of gt's organic raw kombucha (unflavored) and tried to get the little baby scoby from my kombucha in there too (it was very small) Covered it with a few coffee filters and rubber banned it.

Question: should I use only one filter? As I saw someone mention that it needs to breathe ? Also my jar is pretty much filled to the very top. Should I poor some out or is this ok? The only other container I have is about a 3 gallon one with a spout that I was going to brew the actual kombucha in. And last question is I don't really know where to keep it. My kitchen has lights under all the cabinets that stay on so I didn't want constant light on it, I do have one section without a light but it's right by the stove and I know extreme heat can hurt it, and then I thought in my bathroom under the shelf but thought that would just be weird haha so I currently have it my my closet in my hallway that we don't go in much. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

 

Two coffee filters probably won't hurt anything, but one should be sufficient. The cover I use over mine is made of a t-shirt like material. Basically, just don't use something with a really loose weave like cheesecloth (not even multiple layers of it), and don't close it up air tight with a lid and you should be fine.

 

I would probably put it under the cabinet in the kitchen, and if you're concerned about the lights, throw a towel or something over it. If the lights get very warm, that might be a concern, but if they're like LED lights that don't put off much heat, definitely not a big deal. If you're concerned at all once you start doing the actual kombucha, you can get a stick on thermometer strip to help you monitor the temperature -- ideally, aim for around 75 degrees Fahrenheit, being sure not to get much above 80 or below 70. On the other hand, if you're okay with it in the closet, that works well too. 

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Thank you so much Shannon that was all really helpful. I checked on it today and it seems like it's doing really well so I'm going to leave it in the closet but I will take off a layer or two of the coffee filters. I think I have like 4 on there . I'm so excited to start my first batch Thanks again!

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