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Kombucha Makers Unite; Where to ask and be answered

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Many thanks for you helpful response jmcbn :) I live in the cold and wet North West and I'm not using a heat tray. I'll follow your advice and leave my brew alone until the weekend, then taste again.

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On Monday, September 19, 2016 at 1:08 PM, jenmidge said:

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?

I don't  even start testing mine till close to 14 days. I do think smaller batches would be ready sooner. A 1.5 gal would surely take at least 2 weeks if not longer.

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Sharing my disaster for the entertainment of others.

I went to a kombucha class, it was great. Rushed home and made my first batch, realised later I used tea I thought was black tea, but it wasn't.

Scoby almost filled entire giant jar, wrong shape for a scoby, disaster, :) could not get the scoby out of the jar.

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8 hours ago, praxisproject said:

realised later I used tea I thought was black tea, but it wasn't.

What did you use? (Just  so any newbies don't make the same mistake...!!) :lol:

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On 9/23/2016 at 5:39 PM, praxisproject said:

ould not get the scoby out of the jar.

I was there once before! When I first got pregnant I couldn't go near my kombucha without shuddering because of the texture of touching the SCOBY. Three months of kombucha on the counter later I had to rip the SCOBY apart piece by piece...it's harder to do than you'd think.

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On ‎24‎/‎09‎/‎2016 at 4:56 PM, jmcbn said:

What did you use? (Just  so any newbies don't make the same mistake...!!) :lol:

It was "lotus tea" which I thought was a type of black tea, but it's a type of green tea :)

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I've been trying out some other fermented drink recipes just for fun.  

The first is a probiotic lemonade found here http://wellnessmama.com/2883/probiotic-lemonade/

Then, something I've never heard of before but suddenly  am hearing about all over the place, a "Ginger bug" that you make from fresh ginger root and then add to juices or herb teas and ferment some more for root beer effect. This is the recipe I followed tho just discovered wellness mama has one too  http://nourishedkitchen.com/ginger-bug/

The lemonade calls for fresh liquid whey that you drain off of yogurt for the probiotic starter but you can also use some kombucha mother or the ginger bug to avoid the dairy. (I thought I read that on the original lemonade link but can't find it now.) I did one batch with whey and one with kombucha and both were good but can definitely say it's better after 6 or 7 days rather than the recommended 2-3.   I haven't finished with the ginger bug fermenting yet but hope to get some sodas going this week.

I also have a batch of kombucha ready to bottle so I'm gonna be good for probiotics for a while! :D 

(I seem to let the kombucha linger too long and keep ending up with really vinegar tasting kombucha.)

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4 hours ago, praxisproject said:

It was "lotus tea" which I thought was a type of black tea, but it's a type of green tea :)

You can use green tea for kombucha though! I usually do a mix of black and green because I'm not a super huge fan of the flavor of black tea. You can even use plain white tea for a more delicate flavor (you can't let it ferment as long with lighter teas if I recall correctly because there are fewer tannins for the SCOBY to digest) but I haven't found plain white, just flavored whites. As long as there's no flavoring to the tea, you're just fine!

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I bought some Kombucha on the way into work, a 500ml bottle, and drank about two thirds of it.  Then started looking up online about it, and realised that most people suggest only aving 1/4 or 1/2 a glass a day to start with... side affects can be quite dramatic, so hopedully I've not done too much damage!

I'm going to try to make my own, but when they say 'tea' does it have to be tea, or can it be those sachets of fruit teas that don't actually have tea in them?  I bought a large amount of delabelled packs of 20 from 'approved food' and was going to make wine (before I started W30, so a while ago), now I'm thinking of making Kombucha from them.  Do I actually need the tannins from the tea for the thing to work properly?

in terms of the SCOBY - do I have to buy one, or can I make one up fresh from natural yeast and bacteria?  is it a specific yeast, or any floating around in the air - the sort hat you'd make sour dough from?  or will wine yeast work? or breadmaking yeast? - i have these already, so if I can I'd ilke to do that rather than buy a new one.

also I've just realised that 'booch' mentioned on W30 a lot, is short for Kombucha... who knew! :)

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11 minutes ago, Crastney said:

Do I actually need the tannins from the tea for the thing to work properly?

Yes.

You can mix some of the fruit/herbal teas with black/green/white teas but the SCOBY needs the tannin to survive. Also just make sure none of the teas contain honey as raw honey can kill the SCOBY due it's anti-microbial properties. And you'll also need to look out for teas containing soy lecithin/oils/natural flavouring which may also kill/harm your SCOBY.

You can grow your own SCOBY from what's left of your commercial booch - here's how.

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thanks, I know about culturing yeasts to re-use, I've done that with ginger beer, cider, ale, and sourdough.  I wasn't sure about culturing my own from a store bought bottle as the one I've got says that the scoby has been removed...?  so it probably wouldn't work.  as my fruit teas are delabelled I don't know what the ingredients are...!? so I'll have to use 'normal' tea, and add a bag or two of the fruit ones for flavouring.  (fairly sure that they're complient though....)

bottle I'm drinking is 'Love Kombucha' ginger and lime - ingredients are "filtered water, organic sugar (of which only traces remain in the finished product), organic green tea and Kombucha culture (removed before bottling), organic juiced root ginger and a dash of organic lime juice.  That's all!"

as the culture is removed, I'm not sure there would be enough in there to grow my own, but with yeasts, you only need a very small amount for a starter, and there is sediment in the bottle, and it's carbonated, which implies bottle fermentation, so maybe I can use this... it's worth a try.

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5 minutes ago, Crastney said:

Kombucha culture (removed before bottling)

Is there any kind of a blob at the bottom of the bottle like you'd get in apple cider vinegar?

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there is sediment, but the lovekombucha website says that that would be from the ginger juice.  The earlier link to culturing your own suggests to only use a live culture that is unflavoured.  no harm in trying anyway.  I've had far too much of it today (400ml?) and not enough water besides, so I'll keep what's left and try to culture it up.

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Sorry, yes... wasn't paying much attention to your flavour.

They're not that pricey on Happy Kombucha (the large are currently on offer @ £6.50 each), and that will be big enough to brew a few litres in about two weeks - depending on the temperature of your brewing location. Growing your own to that size will take a lot longer then that I'd have thought, or starting to brew with it when it's much smaller will mean waiting a lot longer for the tea to ferment. I guess it depends on how quickly you'd like to have it available on tap...!

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10 hours ago, Crastney said:

there is sediment, but the lovekombucha website says that that would be from the ginger juice.  The earlier link to culturing your own suggests to only use a live culture that is unflavoured.  no harm in trying anyway.  I've had far too much of it today (400ml?) and not enough water besides, so I'll keep what's left and try to culture it up.

I'd  bet you 99% chance it will work... tho there may be somthing to having the unflavored.

As for using regular tea that is unflavored, i just finished a nice batch made with a blackberry  flavored tea. It does have to have regular tea, but some herbal flavorings should be fine... just not the honey and other additives someone mentioned earlier.

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well I found some loose leaf tea in the cupboard, assam I think, and I made a couple of spoons of that, with a couple of spoons of sugar in one mug, left it to cool, added all of that to a kilner jar, with a tbsp of organic cider vinegar, and the shaken up remains of my purchased kombucha - covered with a clean cloth and elastic band, and left in the cupboard above the cooker (next to the rumtopf from last year that I've not started yet...)

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My kombucha is still not ready for bottling. Once it is ready, how quickly will it turn too vinegary to use? I'm going away this weekend and  wont be home to test it for two days. Right now, it is still tastes slightly like sweet tea and is barely fizzy. The only commercial kombucha I've tried is made from green tea (Love kombucha) and I've been waiting for my home brew to taste similar, but maybe it wont???  I've made mine from 2/3 white tea and 1/3 green. Today is day 15. It has been cold here and the temperature strip has consistently read 68 deg. A bit colder than recommended I know.

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My first few batches didn't really have any fizz until after the 2nd ferment, and every so often I'll get a batch even now that's a little on the flat side.

If you're using one large SCOBY from Happy Kombucha in a large CB jar then it could take 3wks or so to get past the sweet stage - the more SCOBYs you have the quicker they ferment. I started off with two large SCOBYs - one each in a 2Ltr jar and then as I grew more SCOBYs I moved onto bigger jars. What quantity are you brewing?

I can't say my home brewed Booch has ever tasted the same as the commercial stuff - but that's not necessarily a bad thing! It's got a less processed taste, and the fizz is 'smoother'.

Apologies for the delayed reply - the site is really acting up lately and I'm not necessarily getting notifications for threads I follow, or seeing new posts....

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My first few batches didn't really have any fizz until after the 2nd ferment, and every so often I'll get a batch even now that's a little on the flat side.

If you're using one large SCOBY from Happy Kombucha in a large CB jar then it could take 3wks or so to get past the sweet stage - the more SCOBYs you have the quicker they ferment. I started off with two large SCOBYs - one each in a 2Ltr jar and then as I grew more SCOBYs I moved onto bigger jars. What quantity are you brewing?

I can't say my home brewed Booch has ever tasted the same as the commercial stuff - but that's not necessarily a bad thing! It's got a less processed taste, and the fizz is 'smoother'.

Apologies for the delayed reply - the site is really acting up lately and I'm not necessarily getting notifications for threads I follow, or seeing new posts....

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I'm not getting notifications of new posts either, hopefully this will be resolved soon.

I decided to bottle before going away after all. I am brewing about 6 litres in a cb vessel with two large scobies.  My bottled batch has a very slight fizz and the taste is definitely drinkable so not bad for a first attempt I guess. I've wrapped my cb vessel in natural sheep wool insulation (it looks warm and cosy) for the second brew which now has the two original scobies plus the baby which is thickening up nicely.

One improvement on the commercial stuff is the smell!! Mine doesn't have the parmesan cheese aroma of Love Kombucha which is a definite plus. :)

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I've never had much fizz either and haven't ever been very impressed with the 2nd ferment process, except i think I'm going to have a nice lemon ginger this time.   They were sampling a kombucha brand at Costco the other day (the guy asked me if I'd ever heard of kombucha:)) and it had a good flavor but seemed rather week.  I was glad I'm bottling my own - especially at $3 a bottle!

I've also really like my ginger bug soda and hope to get some going this wend. 

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I've never had much fizz either and haven't ever been very impressed with the 2nd ferment process, except i think I'm going to have a nice lemon ginger this time.   They were sampling a kombucha brand at Costco the other day (the guy asked me if I'd ever heard of kombucha:)) and it had a good flavor but seemed rather week.  I was glad I'm bottling my own - especially at $3 a bottle!

I've also really like my ginger bug soda and hope to get some more going this wknd. 

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I tried my home brew today. Not much fizz and sweeter than the commercial stuff but still refreshing and very drinkable. I tried my passion fruit and it tasted like a lager shandy which is fine with me. :)

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I'm going crazy and am trying to make kombucha with two baby SCOBYs that had formed in my flavored booch I'd bought a couple weeks ago (apple cider flavored). I don't know if it'll work or not but I could clearly see both the bacteria and yeasts in the little babies so I decided I'd try it. I'll let you know in a couple of weeks if it works.

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On 10/7/2016 at 11:00 PM, jenmidge said:

sweeter than the commercial stuff

You need to let it ferment a little longer to reduce the sweetness. The fizz will come.....

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