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Kombucha Makers Unite; Where to ask and be answered

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Hi

I'm Jen. I'm hoping to resurrect this thread because I ordered my starter kit yesterday and it would be great to have others to share the fun with. I'm about halfway through reading all the posts from the start (it's taken HOURS!!) so most of the questions I had, have been answered already but no doubt when I start brewing I'll have even more questions. I wish I'd started reading from the beginning before I ordered my starter kit cos I'd have felt braver about growing my own SCOBY.

I've cleared out part of a cupboard for my mother brew and now have a mason jar of water sitting in there so I can test the temp later. Can't wait to test out some of the flavors I've been reading about on this thread.

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Hi Jen,

I'm a new Kombucha brewer too.  I just finished up my first F1 yesterday ( 1 gallon Batch Brew) and saved quite a bit of the starter fluid for my

new baby Scooby that developed that is not sitting in it's own hotel waiting for my CB crock to arrive  :).  Meanwhile, I started up another batchf

in my gallon container from my original mother Scooby.  I only got five 16 oz bottles from my first batch due to needing starter tea for my new batch

and sufficient tea for my hotel but, ok with that for now  I put dried ginger and lemon juice in 4 of them and tart cherry juice in the 5th  I'm re-cycling my GTS Kombucha bottles.

Put them in an empty cooler 'just in case' and gave them each a small burb this morning.  There was a slight hiss but, nothing too bit.  I might let them go for

another 2 days before putting in the fridge until ready to drind to slow down the F2 process  I agree , I spent hours reading all of the information on this

thread plus KombuchaKamp.com.  I started with a Scooby from Amazon that came in a baggie with about a cup of tea.  Was so nervous at first but,

quickly learning it's a waiting game.  Looking forward to sharing our experiences and anyone else on these boards that are still active.  My motivation

was the cost of the commercial brews and the fact the closest store that sells it is over 20 miles away.

 

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Oh hey!

I'm just finishing up consuming our first batch. Second batch is in F1.

Adding a little blueberry and some ginger when we get to F2. Last batch we did one plain, one with a little ginger, and one with some bing cherry. All were pretty delish.

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Fellow active brewer here - I've currently got x2 CB jars on the go, plus two hotels, one of which is packed. I'd love some local brewers to pass some SCOBYs on to but there doesn't appear to be a huge market for them here - YET - and in the meantime my youngest son is keeping them as pets :lol:

I tend to stick with fresh ginger & dried hibiscus flowers for flavour, or I'll use a variety of teas.

I didn't feel like I was a bonafide brewer until I had my first bottle explode on me last year!!
 

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I'm reading the posts above with a big smile on my face. So pleased to have fellow brewers to share the fun.  

Cathy, did you just use the cup of tea that came with your Scoby as starter fluid for your first batch? I can't wait to start brewing. I want to try passion fruit cos I absolutely love the flavor. My starter kit only comes with a half gallon brewing vessel and it's now dawning on me that it wont be nearly big enough. I've always rationed my store bought kombucha cos it's so expensive and my nearest supply is an hour drive away.  I figured that I'd get 4 x 16oz bottles every 2 weeks and that would be okay to start but I wasn't counting on needing to save so much for the next batch or for Scoby hotels. I can't bare the thought of waiting 2 weeks for 2-3 bottles:( I'm going to have to get a bigger vessel!.

 

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Hi. Great to find this thread. Ive been brewing kombucha off and on for several years, though im not familiar with much of the terminology  you're  using.... F1 and F2 and hotels.... tho i imagine  i can figure it out :)

I had to throw a bunch out today because i stored them too long on the counter before getting new tea put in and they went moldy. Fortunately i had quite a few Scobys in the fridge so i disinfected the jars and started over.

I agree that a half gallon container wont be enough!  Ive been making about a gallon and a half and run out before the next batch is ready.  My goal is to get enough brewing jars to have 2 or 3 staggered batches going.

7 hours ago, jmcbn said:

and in the meantime my youngest son is keeping them as pets :lol:

I love it!! I had to run some scobys down the disposal today and i cringed and felt sorry for them, and guilty:(:o

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Where did you get your starter kit from @jenmidge? I got mine from Happy Kombucha but have found for additonal bottles, brewing jars etc that they are cheaper on Amazon (& I've found a few Kilner ones at decent prices in T K Maxx every now & then). I started out with x2 2L jars and x4 bottles but have moved on to x2 5L continuous brew jars and I've about 20 bottles ranging in size from 250ml to 1L - and I find I need them all by the time I bottle, do a second ferment (F2), and then drink... I use the x2 2L jars as Hotels now.

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54 minutes ago, jmcbn said:

Where did you get your starter kit from @jenmidge? I got mine from Happy Kombucha but have found for additonal bottles, brewing jars etc that they are cheaper on Amazon (& I've found a few Kilner ones at decent prices in T K Maxx every now & then). I started out with x2 2L jars and x4 bottles but have moved on to x2 5L continuous brew jars and I've about 20 bottles ranging in size from 250ml to 1L - and I find I need them all by the time I bottle, do a second ferment (F2), and then drink... I use the x2 2L jars as Hotels now.

I ordered my starter kit from Happy Kombucha. We have a T K Maxx in town so I'll check it out. I've just had a quick look on Amazon and they have some lovely jars. Thanks for the tips. 

Hey Casey, it's so great that I get to share my new obsession with you:):)

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Hi Jen,

For my gallon jug I used the starter tea that came with my Scooby plus 1/2 cup of distilled vinegar as I was not sure it was enough.  I've since read

various schools of thought on the distilled vinegar but, have concluded it worked just fine especially since it produced a fine Scooby baby.

I hear ya on the amount of tea you might have to sacrifice during the first few batches to get your brewer(s) and hotel up and running.

I'm patiently waiting for this baby to arrive so I can start my CB system.  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0082HB5CU/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It's taking awhile to get here and I might even order another but, would like to try it out first before committing..

 

Hi Casey,  I've read that Scooby's do not like the fridge at least for extended periods of time and give live very happily at just room temp either in

a cloth covered jar ( in which you will need to feed fresh sweet tea on occasion to keep from drying out) or with a plastic lid.

F1 = First Fermentation or the actual brew cycle   F2 = Second Fermentation done during the bottling with the addition of fruits / teas / herbs .

The hotel is just the vessel that you keep all of the extra scoobys in awaiting a good home either in your own vessel should you lose one to mold etc  :( or you want

to start another vessel OR you want to give one away ( w/ a fair amount of starter tea)

 

Like I said -  Very novice at this so if anyone disagrees with anything I post - Pls. let me know as I am learning this too.

Oh - and look at these cool sticker that you can put on your bottles  to identify the flavors / dates & would be great for brew vessels  to keep track on the date started etc)

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FD6ATQ0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Cathy125 said:

Hi Casey,  I've read that Scooby's do not like the fridge at least for extended periods of time and give live very happily at just room temp either in

a cloth covered jar ( in which you will need to feed fresh sweet tea on occasion to keep from drying out) or with a plastic lid.

F1 = First Fermentation or the actual brew cycle   F2 = Second Fermentation done during the bottling with the addition of fruits / teas / herbs .

The hotel is just the vessel that you keep all of the extra scoobys in awaiting a good home either in your own vessel should you lose one to mold etc  :( or you want

to start another vessel OR you want to give one away ( w/ a fair amount of starter tea)

 

Like I said -  Very novice at this so if anyone disagrees with anything I post - Pls. let me know as I am learning this too.

Oh - and look at these cool sticker that you can put on your bottles  to identify the flavors / dates & would be great for brew vessels  to keep track on the date started etc)

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FD6ATQ0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Cathy- thanks for all the info on the terms.... guess I've been doing all that without knowing the fancy terms! Ive only tried the bottling with fruit etc (F2) once and wasnt very impressed, except i think it did make it more fizzy which was fun.   I made my current batch with blackberry flavored black tea.  Cant wait to try it.

i thought the scobys should last at room temp also but that is where they molded.   I had given them a little fresh tea to keep them happy till i could make a whole batch but it must have been too long. On the other hand i have kept my "hotel" in the refrigerator for over a year.  Guess everyone has different experiences. Climate might have something to do with it.

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Ps love the stickers.... i make alot of my own body oils, toothpaste, creams etc so i may get some for that as well - and that seemed like a really good price!

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2 hours ago, Cathy125 said:

a cloth covered jar ( in which you will need to feed fresh sweet tea on occasion to keep from drying out) or with a plastic lid.

 

Don't cover any part of your brews (hotel or regular brew) with a lid that is not completely porous. The scoby needs plenty of oxygen. Just cover with a towel, coffee filter or paper towel and a rubber band.

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Hi LadyShanny ,

I prefer the cloth too but, this is direct from KombuchaKamp / Kombuchamomma.. so that's why I added ok for plastic cover.

 

—————————————STORING YOUR SCOBY HOTEL:

You can cover this jar in a couple of different ways:

a. With a cloth cover; the liquid will evaporate more quickly and you will need to check it more frequently but a new SCOBY will form to slow the evaporation process.

b. With a lid; plastic lids work best. Avoid metal lids or line them with a piece of plastic wrap to avoid metallic condensation from dripping onto your SCOBYs.

Whenever you encounter any problems with your brewing process, use a SCOBY from your Hotel. It’s great to have a couple, three of them hanging out, just in case.

From time to time, make sure there is enough liquid in the jar and refresh with unflavored Kombucha Tea when it starts to get low. That’s it!! The SCOBYs will just hang out in the pool until you need them!

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9 hours ago, Cathy125 said:

For my gallon jug I used the starter tea that came with my Scooby plus 1/2 cup of distilled vinegar as I was not sure it was enough.  I've since read

various schools of thought on the distilled vinegar but, have concluded it worked just fine especially since it produced a fine Scooby baby.

 

Thanks for the info. I like the sound of my first Scoby baby.

I've taken on board all advice and went shopping for a bigger brewing vessel after work tonight. I ended up buying a 1.5 gallon CB jar.  I hope my Scoby wont feel too overwhelmed as he is being delivered with a much smaller jar. (why he is male, I've no idea.:unsure:). I  just need him/it to arrive now so I can start brewing. I've read that I can't wash out the brewing jar with detergent so I've rinsed it out with vinegar and water. What about my bottles? I think I've probably already washed them out with detergent, does this matter?

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9 hours ago, jenmidge said:

Thanks for the info. I like the sound of my first Scoby baby.

I've taken on board all advice and went shopping for a bigger brewing vessel after work tonight. I ended up buying a 1.5 gallon CB jar.  I hope my Scoby wont feel too overwhelmed as he is being delivered with a much smaller jar. (why he is male, I've no idea.:unsure:). I  just need him/it to arrive now so I can start brewing. I've read that I can't wash out the brewing jar with detergent so I've rinsed it out with vinegar and water. What about my bottles? I think I've probably already washed them out with detergent, does this matter?

Your scoby will be fine in a bigger jar, he may just take a little longer to ferment the tea - but he'll soon have company to help him along.

Also, other than the starter tea your scoby arrives in you shouldn't need to add anything except more tea - there will be instructions in your starter pack though explaining that.

I always wash my bottles in hot water with a little detergent, but am always sure to give them a good rinse afterwards and I've never had a problem. I did some housekeeping with my CB jars last month and did exactly the same and each batch I've brewed since has been fine too.

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I just wanted to share that I tried my first bottle of my homemade Komucha last night.  It had only been 2 days at F2  in the cooler.  I choose the Ginger/Lemonade flavor.

Oh My - - SOOO much better than store bought- It had a hint of carbonation and interesting to me that I was satisfied w/ just 1/2 of the bottle and put

the rest in the fridge for today.  I left my other 3 bottles in the cooler and will tranfer them to the fridge tonight giving them an extra day to ferment.

One thing I'm not sure about is how to know it's ready...  So much depends on the amount of starter tea / temperature .  They say to determine when ready is to just start  up to tasting it each day after about a week.  I let mine go about 2 weeks before I bottled it - To me it tastes wonderful but, still leary if it was long enough for the cup of sugar in

my sweet tea batch to be consumed.   I know that testing the PH level will help to determine this??  I've got my strips on order but, have not yet received so for my next batch

will try to use that as a gauge  along with the taste test... So much to learn yet about this process.

  Can't hardly wait to start to explore the endless combination of flavors.. 

   

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To whoever was asking about washing your kombucha implements with dish detergent ... I would just rinse them really well, then do a final rinse with vinegar. Always rinse with vinegar as a final step. I run my jars through the dishwasher with the other dishes, but then I do a quick vinegar rinse before pouring in the kombucha. 

Also, a tip if you like the swing-top lid beer bottles ... I bought the Grolsch beer and just poured out the beer, there were 4 bottles in the pack, that's about as cheap as you can buy that kind of bottle. They are excellent for single-serve kombucha brewing. Add a little ginger to your second ferment, and it will carbonate quite nicely! (Use care when opening, contents will be under pressure)

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Have any of you used a bottle of plain kombucha to make a SCOBY? I know it's possible but haven't done it before. I had a good colony going...but then had to move across the Pacific Ocean and wasn't about to try to take it with me. There's a farmer's market in town that has a kombucha brewer there and they do sell plain. Any tips?

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24 minutes ago, MrsStick said:

Have any of you used a bottle of plain kombucha to make a SCOBY? I know it's possible but haven't done it before. I had a good colony going...but then had to move across the Pacific Ocean and wasn't about to try to take it with me. There's a farmer's market in town that has a kombucha brewer there and they do sell plain. Any tips?

You might ask the brewer if they'd be willing to part with a scoby. There's a good chance they have more than they need, it never hurts to ask.

I haven't grown one from bottled, so no real advice there, sorry.

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On Tuesday, September 06, 2016 at 4:13 PM, MrsStick said:

Have any of you used a bottle of plain kombucha to make a SCOBY? I know it's possible but haven't done it before. I had a good colony going...but then had to move across the Pacific Ocean and wasn't about to try to take it with me. There's a farmer's market in town that has a kombucha brewer there and they do sell plain. Any tips?

Yes! I've done it several times. Just take a bottle of plain raw store bought kombucha and add it to a batch of sweetened tea.  It takes an extra week or so to be ready but it will grow a scoby and then you're set.  Look at a few of bottles in the store and pick the one with the most slime/gunk at the bottom. 

I'm always letting things sit around I'm looking right now as the a glass of homemade kombucha that's been sitting out on the table for several days and it has a nice scobys forming on the top.   

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Thanks! I'm going to buy the plain this week. They didn't have any at the farmer's market but I can visit the store at some point. They had a lavender flavored bottle that I left in my fridge for two weeks and had to strain out a considerable amount of SCOBY but I didn't know if it would be weakened by the non-tea flavoring so I threw it out.

One other note - apple cider flavored booch is AMAZING. They used apple juice + cinnamon + cloves to flavor it. I'm going to play around with it to try to get it right because WHOA MAN was it good.

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My scobies finally arrived in the post last week. I am using two large scobies with a 1.5 gallon cb container. Today is day four. The recipe that came with my scobies recommended tasting daily from day 3. I tried it this morning and it tasted like sweet tea mixed with vinegar. Is this normal? Store bought booch doesn't taste like vinegar at all. It looks okay, there is a film covering the top of the brew which I assume is a baby scoby (?). Also, when I come to bottling from my CB and adding more tea, do I leave the two original scobies and the new film in or remove one or both original scobies and just leave the filmy substance?

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I'm in the UK (Ireland) and brew with two CB jars of a similar size and and am using a number of my own SCOBYs along with the originals. In summer that quantity takes around 10days to brew IME, and in winter, with the jars wrapped with fleece to keep them warm & the temperature steady it takes at least 14 days. Unless you're using a heat tray (or you're in a little micro-climate, or down south!) I'd doubt your booch would be ready in 3 days. I'd let it brew for at least a week & then start taste testing... Mine will have a good froth/fizz as I'm bottling, and then it'll get really fizzy with the second ferment for which I use mostly fresh ginger or hibiscus flowers.

When it comes to bottling and adding more tea it's up to you what to do with the new SCOBYs - you can leave them in and the brewing process should get faster, or take the new ones out (that filmy substance you describe) & start up another brewing jar, or store them in a Hotel for future use.

 

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