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Kombucha Makers Unite; Where to ask and be answered

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I've just finished the last bottle of my third batch - probably didn't leave it long enough in first fermentation, as it was still sweet when bottled, and each bottle grey it's own little layer of SCOBY - which I felt terrible about when I put it in the compost.  The initial one, still in the tapped kilner jar will be ok to start the next batch.  If I got my arse in gear I'd start making a new batch as I started the last bottle, then wouldn't run out - oh well.  it's all good.

calling a SCOBY Toby makes sense, but why Maggie?

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On 8/18/2017 at 11:24 AM, Crastney said:

calling a SCOBY Toby makes sense, but why Maggie?

I let my boyfriend's 10-year old daughter name it whatever she wanted, and she chose Margaret, but Maggie is just cuter. :)

Don't feel bad about those scoby layers in the compost. They had a greater purpose than just kombucha!

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Quick question, I am a newbie and am curious whether people prefer buying a kit (found a great kit on Amazon with five star reviews on the result and ease of use) or just doing your own thing! 

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3 hours ago, anniejean83 said:

Quick question, I am a newbie and am curious whether people prefer buying a kit (found a great kit on Amazon with five star reviews on the result and ease of use) or just doing your own thing! 

This kind of depends on you and your comfort level. I bought a kit (from Kombucha Kamp) because 1) I was a little intimidated by the process and didn't want to screw up, and 2) I didn't want to wait any longer than I had to (growing your own scoby takes at least a couple of weeks, plus then waiting for the first batch to be done on top of that. With a kit, you just have the waiting for the first batch to be done). So are you more the type who is willing to wait longer to do it all yourself, or are you more the type to want things to be done as fast as possible? Lots of people have had good luck doing their own from scratch, and now that I know more about it, if I needed to restart, if I lost my scoby or something, I'd be okay with starting from scratch without the kit.

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Thank you Shannon! After reading a bit, I decided to start my SCOBY, mainly because I have everything needed to do it right now. Nothing to lose! I do feel like this is the easy part so I need to keep reading as it grows! And I can always buy one if needed. Thanks for the input!

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Is my scoby supposed to sink to the bottom of my container once I add it to sweet tea and started tea to brew? Grew my first scoby at home and now my first batch! Thanks in advance! 

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On 02/10/2017 at 5:17 AM, anniejean83 said:

Is my scoby supposed to sink to the bottom of my container once I add it to sweet tea and started tea to brew? Grew my first scoby at home and now my first batch! Thanks in advance! 

Sinking and floating are both normal. Your new batch should grow a new Scoby on the surface as it goes through the fermentation process.

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Hello fellow Kombucha drinkers,

I am currently brewing my first batch of kombucha. I've never really drunk any before, so I don't know what it should taste like. It's been brewing for 7 days and I tried some. It tasted like sweet tea with a vinegary aftertaste. Is it done or should I let it go longer? What should it taste like to know it is ready and compliant with Whole30?

Thank you!

Meg

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it depends on how you like it, but ideally if it still tastes sweet then there's still sugar, so you probably should leave it a bit longer.  After the first 7 days, just keep trying it everyday.  at some point it will no longer taste sweet, and then as you leave it longer it'll get more and more vinegary.  stop and bottle at whatever point you feel comfortable with the amount of vinegar taste.  Add sugar to the bottles, and that will then ferment in the bottles to produce the fizz (I use around a half to one teaspoon per litre bottle), leave for maybe a couple of weeks warm for that sugar to completely convert.  I do tend to make a batch which takes probably three weeks or more to make and then I might drink it all before getting another batch on so I don't always have some around.  Strictly speaking, whilst on W30 you shouldn't be having any added sugar, so you can add apple juice, or some other naturaly sweet addition to the bottle for conditioning, and if you leave it long enough the sugar will be converted, and there'll be some fizz.  or you can avoid that step by bottling whilst still slightly sweet.

with this process you shouldn't get bottle bombs, but if there's a lot of sugars to ferment, and you have deficient bottles, and you fill too full, and you leave too warm for too long, well, then you might get an explosion - but it's incredibly unlikely.

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I'm brewing my first batch now.  I'm about 10 days in to my first fermentation and it's not quite ready yet (it's somewhat chilly in my apartment and I hear that can slow things down).  I plan to add strawberry/lemon/basil for my second fermentation. 

My question is: do I need to take 2 cups out as my starter for my next batch AND two cups out to start my scoby hotel?  Or do I just use fresh sweet tea for my hotel?

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I've always used my some of my previous brew as the starter for my next batch, and yes for my hotels too - I occasionally top up the hotels with fresh tea though.

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Hi guys! What kind of sugar do you use during whole 30 when making kombucha? And any reccomednations on tea? I’m starting whole30 today and a friend is giving me a scoby on Sunday. (Yay!) I want to make sure I do it right. Any tips would be very much appreciated. 

 

Thanks everyone!! 

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2 hours ago, Natalie Suzanne said:

Hi guys! What kind of sugar do you use during whole 30 when making kombucha? And any reccomednations on tea? I’m starting whole30 today and a friend is giving me a scoby on Sunday. (Yay!) I want to make sure I do it right. Any tips would be very much appreciated. 

 

Thanks everyone!! 

You have to use actual sugar, and it's fine to use whatever kind you normally use. I've used plain white sugar and organic, sugar in the raw type of stuff, though not that brand. I mostly settled on a mix of those two. I have heard of people using things like coconut sugar or honey or maple syrup, but from what I've read the results with those were inconsistent. For some people they worked out fine, for others they didn't. So if you try something different than you usually use, be sure you have an extra scoby or two in case you need to start again from scratch -- look for information on starting a scoby hotel, for when you get to the point that you have extra. Kombuchakamp.com is a good source of information. 

For tea, any black, white, or green tea is fine. I wouldn't do flavored ones as sometimes the oil from the flavors can damage the scoby. Don't use herbal teas, as they don't actually have real tea in them, they're just herbs or fruit dried and boiled like tea.

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@Natalie Suzanne   Yea, for sure don't use honey as it has antibacterial properties and will kill the culture. I think I've used coconut sugar and it worked okay but usually use a blend of regular sugar and "natural" cane sugar.  It doesn't really matter because YOU don't end up eating it …. the scoby does!!   I think it also works best with at least some of the tea being regular black tea because of the of tannins in it that seem to be needed for the process.  I haven't tried it without.  

Have fun!

 

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Does anyone test the PH of their kombucha. I know you can get botulism from it if not prepared properly. I was making it and got pregnant and was advised to only use store bought kombucha. Not pregnant anymore and want to start making again.

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13 minutes ago, Stfnebrown said:

Does anyone test the PH of their kombucha. I know you can get botulism from it if not prepared properly. I was making it and got pregnant and was advised to only use store bought kombucha. Not pregnant anymore and want to start making again.

When I first started, i had bought a kit with my scoby and some other stuff, and it came with ph strips, so I used them, but once I figured out how it tastes when it hits whatever level it was supposed to hit, I quit doing that. So if it makes you feel more secure, go for it -- be sure you get ph strips that will work with kombucha, I remember reading that some don't have the right range to show the level kombucha is supposed to get to.

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Thanks Shannon, yeah I’ve hacked out the strips before and had a hard in them in Canada. I’m a chef so I’m very familiar with the process but maybe too knowledgeable about food born diseases. 

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@Stfnebrown here is a link to Hannah Crum's Kombucha Kamp you might find useful: https://www.kombuchakamp.com/ph-kombucha-alkaline-acid-balance. If you're not into all of the science-y parts, the take-home message is this "...a properly brewed batch of Kombucha(KT) may fall anywhere from 2.5 – 3.5." and "According to the FDA’s guidelines for compliance, foods with a pH of 4.6 and lower have been deemed safe for sale without needing further preservatives: “When the pH of a food is 4.6 or below, spores of C. botulinum will not germinate and grow.” This means that not only is your KT safe from invasion by harmful microbes, but so are you!"

Happy brewing!

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