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Kombucha Makers Unite; Where to ask and be answered

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9 hours ago, jmcbn said:

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

Aye, I realise now that I was too impatient to bottle. 

I'm curious to know if Kombucha still has the same caffeine content as the original tea. I gave up my daily latte last friday to commit to another W30 and considered myself to be caffeine free but perhaps not??

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1 hour ago, jenmidge said:

I'm curious to know if Kombucha still has the same caffeine content as the original tea

There is definitely caffeine in it,  but the amount of it seems to vary depending on what you read. Lots of sites seem to say that it has 1/3 of the amount of caffeine that regular tea would have, but this is probably more to do with the quantity of tea used to brew your Booch compared to what you'd use for ordinary tea. I usually mix black/white/green teas with other varieties to reduce the caffeine content further.

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my culture scoby starter is certainly looking like it'll be a goer!

I was worried that it was going slowly, so I did another mug of tea, 4 tsp of sugar, left to steep and cool down, then added that to my starter jar.  this morning there is definite circle of scoby floating on the top!  hurrah!

I obviously need to multiply it up into a bigger jar, then let it ferment and then bottle.  Obviously the caffeine will be less - normal tea is one tea bag per 330ml mug, roughly.  this is x tea bags per litre, and you only have a small glass at a time, and you drink it with another glass of water anyway.  I don't think any caffeine is lost during fermentation though.

how soon can I start a continual brew in one of those jars with a tap?

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5 minutes ago, Crastney said:

my culture scoby starter is certainly looking like it'll be a goer!

I was worried that it was going slowly, so I did another mug of tea, 4 tsp of sugar, left to steep and cool down, then added that to my starter jar.  this morning there is definite circle of scoby floating on the top!  hurrah!

I obviously need to multiply it up into a bigger jar, then let it ferment and then bottle.  Obviously the caffeine will be less - normal tea is one tea bag per 330ml mug, roughly.  this is x tea bags per litre, and you only have a small glass at a time, and you drink it with another glass of water anyway.  I don't think any caffeine is lost during fermentation though.

how soon can I start a continual brew in one of those jars with a tap?

Yay!!

Make sure you're adding enough sugar into your tea - I use about 80-85g per ltr of water which I make with x4 tea bags. 

My 5ltr CB jars have a pretty thick layer of SCOBYs - maybe 3-4inches thick, and they fill the neck of the widest part of the jar... You'll be able to start brewing with the little ones you've got, it's just gonna take a whole lot longer.

I never drink my Booch with water. 

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I'm so excited to have come across this topic. I've been making my own kombucha for a little over a year now. My last batch was attacked by fruit flies, so I started over a few weeks ago. I got a second ferment going on Sunday of apple/cinnamon/ginger. When I went to burp the bottles last night, they actually fizzed out a bit. I popped them in the fridge, and am excited to try them tonight!

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@purplepadres how much of the flavoring did you use? I'm planning to try to recreate an apple cider booch I bought commercially but am not sure how much juice I should add vs. the spices. Did you use a cinnamon stick? Do you think it could be reused for more than one batch if you did?

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1 hour ago, MrsStick said:

@purplepadres how much of the flavoring did you use? I'm planning to try to recreate an apple cider booch I bought commercially but am not sure how much juice I should add vs. the spices. Did you use a cinnamon stick? Do you think it could be reused for more than one batch if you did?

I used real fruit, rather than juice....probably close to 1/4 cup of peeled, diced honeycrisp apple, about 1/3 of a cinnamon stick, and a small piece of chopped ginger--per bottle. I'm guessing I can probably reuse the cinnamon stick, but hard to say. I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but plan to crack one open with dinner this evening.

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Mmmmmmm . Sounds good. I did a quart jar with about 1/2 cup sliced peaches which turned out great. I'll try the apples and cinnamon on my next batch :)

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If my booch starts to smell vinegary is that it going bad?  is it then saveable?  should I add more tea/sugar solution to a larger jar?  Currently it's only in a small jar ~ 500ml I think.  I'm guessing I should sort out a bigger brewing vessel to actually start making some properly rather than this culture from the shop bought stuff.

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18 minutes ago, Crastney said:

If my booch starts to smell vinegary is that it going bad

That's it fermenting. The longer you leave it the more acidic it will get. If you're still trying to grow the SCOBY then add more sweet tea. Or you could taste test & bottle what you've got for the 2nd fermentation process (to which you can add fresh fruit, ginger, hibiscus flowers etc) & top up your jar with a fresh batch of sweet tea. 

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ok so I think I'll get the turkey baster out, remove about half of the liquid there, and top up with more sweet tea... and drink/taste what I've removed.  Gives me time to find a suitable container for future.  A gallon DemiJohn probably isn't going to work as the neck gets very thin.

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2 minutes ago, Crastney said:

A gallon DemiJohn probably isn't going to work as the neck gets very thin

Just fill it up as far as the widest part allows.... 

What you've got right now may not taste great so don't let it put you off - the 2nd ferment gives it a little fizz (& flavour depending on what you add to the bottles), although sometimes it takes a while even for that to build up as the bacteria builds up as the SCOBY matures.

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14 minutes ago, jmcbn said:

Just fill it up as far as the widest part allows....

What you've got right now may not taste great so don't let it put you off - the 2nd ferment gives it a little fizz (& flavour depending on what you add to the bottles), although sometimes it takes a while even for that to build up as the bacteria builds up as the SCOBY matures.

yeah, ok fill to the shoulder, but what about when I attempt to get the drink out, or get the scoby out?  there's not tap on the bottom of any of my DJs.

first tastings of my kombucha might not be great - ok.  I'll we aware of this, and might bottle some to see how it tastes in a week or two.

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2 minutes ago, Crastney said:

but what about when I attempt to get the drink out, or get the scoby out?

When I first started I was using DJs too and I just made sure my hands were clean and sort of pushed the SCOBY down the jar a bit & decanted through a sieve and into a large jug which I used for pouring the booch into my bottles. I left a little of the brew in the bottom each time & topped up with fresh tea. Once you see if you're going to keep it up you can invest in a CB jar or two which make bottling a lot easier.

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CB Jar?  is that one with a tap on the bottom with a wide lid?  they're currently £18 in Sainsburys, for an 8 litre jar.  I've not persuaded myself that it's worthwhile yet (but I do still have a pair of astroturf football boots that I bought for a work 5 a side tournament, which I wore once, about 10 years ago, and they cost me £30 at the time!)

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2 minutes ago, Crastney said:

CB Jar? 

Continuous Brew - yep, the ones with a tap. £18 is a decent enough price for an 8ltr one - I think that's about what I paid on Amazon for Kilner ones. The idea with the CB jars is that you can bottle as much or as little as you want & just keep topping up with sweet tea. Personally I use mine like the DJs and bottle all of it bar a bit at the bottom every time. I've a much better idea of when it's reached the fermentation level I like that way, and I'm sure that all the sugar has gone...

And yep, I've just passed on a pair of premium cross country trainers to my youngest son that sound a bit like your astroturf ones!! :lol:

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How NOT to brew Kombucha

I bottled my second brew yesterday. I made a new lot of sweet tea with 4.5 litres water, 16 white tea bags (because I forget to buy more green tea) and 2 cups of sugar. I drained my 6.5 litre cb jar apart from 1 cup and topped up with the new tea. I didn't strain the tea when I poured it into my cb vessel and there were some strange little black bits which settled on top of my scoby. I fished out the top scoby with black bits and rinsed it under a tap then dumped it in a plastic tub, deciding not to use.

  I then decided to add more tea to the vessel so made another 1.5 litres of tea with 8 tea bags and 1 cup of sugar. It was at that point that I checked on-line for tea recipe and realized I could simply top up my new brew with filtered water as there was already enough tea and sugar. Topped it up to 6 litres and  went to bed thinking I'd just wasted a lot of expensive tea bags then remembered I had a 2.5 litre jar which I'd bought with my first Scobies and not used, so Jumped out of bed, rinsed jar with vinegar, poured in tea and 1 cup of ginger Kombucha from my first brew, topped up to 2 litres with water then added my dumped scoby.

Checked this morning and it's not died yet.

On a positive note, my second brew has good fizz already:)

Oh and I didn't label my bottles so can't tell between the ginger lime and plain ginger.

 

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I used the turkey baster to get half of the liquid out - it tastes a lot like cider vinegar...  then added another mug of strong tea (2 tea bags, 2 tbsp sugar) into the jar.  unfortunately the scoby sank during the operation, and now it's slinking around the bottom of the jar, and the top is going fuzzy again, so maybe another scoby growing?

time will tell...

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5 hours ago, Crastney said:

it's slinking around the bottom of the jar

Mine quite often sink to the bottom when I put fresh tea in they rise up to the top again as the fermenting happens. And yeah, hopefully that 'fuzzy' bit at the top is a new SCOBY... Nice work!

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I was in Hackney Fresh this morning getting my coconut milk latte, and noticed that they have kombucha tea scoby starters for sale - £4.99 in round plastic containers.

also went back to Sainsbury to look at jars with taps, and the one at £18 is only 5 litres, the bigger on, at 8 litres is £24 - still a good price, so if I enjoy the concoction that I make I might get one.

[edit to add] - are there problems if you leave it too long? does it get too acidic?

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14 minutes ago, Crastney said:

[edit to add] - are there problems if you leave it too long? does it get too acidic?

The longer you leave it to brew in the first ferment the more acidic it gets. The second ferment (ie. in the bottle, where you can add fresh fruit etc) stops it going anymore acidic but does create a bit more fizz. If you're heading off on holiday you can always store the SCOBYs in a 'hotel' until you come back & want to brew again, or bottle half & top up with more sweet tea, depending on how long you'll be gone for...

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I have spots of light green mould on the baby scoby on top of my 2.5L jar. :( Do I have to throw baby scoby, adult scoby and Kombucha all away? I have moved the jar away from my cb jar in case the mould somehow transfers. 

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