Kombucha Makers Unite; Where to ask and be answered


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Hi! Susan had a wonderful idea of having one place where it is all things related to making/brewing Kombucha could be asked and answered. There are several of us that are newbies at this (me) a

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.

Just thought I'd share a pic of my 2 1/2 gallon SCOBY and brew, Denver, started by a dear friend and jazz musician several years ago from a bottle of GT's. He passed it along to me when he moved

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My CB was acidic and harsh even before I neglected it. I haven't tasted it in almost 2 months, so I'm sure it's probably vinegar in there now. It burns my throat terribly if I drink it too fast.

 

My CB container holds 1.8 gallons, but I have about 1.5 gallons of liquid. I brew 3 quarts of tea with a mixture of green and white tea bags and a cup of organic cane sugar. I drain off 3 quarts of booch and put it in bottles with juice, then add the cooled sweet tea to the CB container. I let the first fermentation in the CB go for 7 days, and the second ferment goes for 3 to get fizzy.

 

I'll probably get in there this weekend and clean up my scoby, peel a few layers off the bottom, and drain off about 2/3 of the vinegar booch to start fresh.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm curious, would it be possible to use fruit juice concentrate (organic, NSA) to flavor the kombucha for the second ferment? That way you could use concentrated juice and just have the booch itself dilute it, rather than added water. Especially now that it's winter and fresh fruit is harder to come by.

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I'm curious, would it be possible to use fruit juice concentrate (organic, NSA) to flavor the kombucha for the second ferment?

 Yes. I usually use a combination of fruit and fruit juice. Just be aware of how much juice you add: you want a juice-flavored "mostly kombucha", not kombucha-flavored "mostly juice".  :)

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I'm curious, would it be possible to use fruit juice concentrate (organic, NSA) to flavor the kombucha for the second ferment? That way you could use concentrated juice and just have the booch itself dilute it, rather than added water. Especially now that it's winter and fresh fruit is harder to come by.

 

I have done that successfully in the past.  Do be careful, as missmary cautions, as those concentrates are extremely high in sugar.

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Ladies and Gentlemen, count me in. My hubby gifted me with a complete continuous brew system from Hannah at Kombucha Kamp (http://www.kombuchakamp.com/) -- Merry Christmas indeed! It arrives tomorrow and I am oh so excited. I've been making our own sauerkraut for years in Gartopf crocks (indispensable) and before wheat left the building I kept a rockin' sourdough starter. So I know to trust the fermentation cycle. I've been drinking GT's booch for years and never could bear to let go of those sturdy glass bottles so I'm set for bottling. But I absolutely have opening night jitters!

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So I have, over the past couple of days, read this entire thread.  I think I may be sold on the idea of making my own booch.

 

Rather than re-hash the basics, I've got some questions for folks who are already brewing their own:  What do you wish you'd known going into the process of making your own booch?  Did you ever make a mistake that created a speedbump in your progress, and if so, how would you suggest a novice avoid it?  What one thing do you think a booch novice should try?

 

I'll probably be looking at vessels and starting a SCOBY this weekend.  Whee!

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My second batch got mold, not sure how that happened.  I was weary after that, but haven't had any problems with mold since.  Make sure you rinse your hands with vinegar before handling the SCOBY.

 

I wish I had more time to experiment, but I love my ginger booch so much I figure there will be plenty of time to do that when I retire.  Not getting the fizz I'd fantisized about, but I'm okay without it now.

 

Currently brewing one large continuous - 2 plus gallons and one small - 1 gallonish, which I decant 1 gallon and 1/2 gallon each about every seven days.  Also to supplement these I have a one gallon batch brew which takes approx 2 weeks to brew.

 

Good luck!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bodlon-Funny, my husband and I were just talking about how nervous I was in the beginning.  If I could tell you anything, it would be to relax and let it happen.  I have found that you really don't have to obsess about the process.  Sometimes I have fermented too long, sometimes too short.  Some flavors I've loved, others not so much.  My scoby keeps having babies and doubles in size every few months.  I peel it off and throw it down the garbage disposal.  It's all pretty forgiving.  Once I had to throw out an entire batch (22 bottles!) because it tasted like vinegar.  And I lived to tell the story.  :)

 

My scoby is so big that I ferment in about 8 days, with a 5 day second ferment, burping on day 3.  If I have a lot of fruit in it I have to drop that to 4 days because it explodes.  Once you have your scoby and the first ferment is underway, I would let it sit for a week and then taste it.  (Eventually you can tell by smell.)  If it's not ready try it every day or two.  Make it convenient.  Don't hesitate to make it a hotel for a few weeks if you are busy.  Mine is a hotel every other week because I use a 2 gallon jar and it makes 18-22 bottles.  I don't measure tea bags or sugar or flavoring anymore.  I just wing it and it works out. 

 

Have fun and make it work for you, your schedule, and your tastes.  That way it won't seem like a big deal to keep going.  Good luck!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I posted a while back in great glee because I had a kombucha kit coming for Christmas... it came in time for Christmas to be tasting day, day 8. I tasted it, and it had just a hint of sour - way too sweet. So I waited until New Year's Day - same-o. Three days ago I bottled some even though it still tasted too sweet. Just today, it tastes right out of the bottle (still sweeter than what I want, but equivalent to store bought). The brew is kept right at 80 degrees F, and I am using the tea sent with the kit from Hannah at Kombucha Kamp along with both scobys sent. I am surprised at the length of time it's taking to eat up that sugar. I'm wondering if I should grow a new scoby from an original GT bottle and add it to the vessel. Any opinions?

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I am surprised at the length of time it's taking to eat up that sugar. I'm wondering if I should grow a new scoby from an original GT bottle and add it to the vessel. Any opinions?

If you have a healthy looking scoby (whitish and thick, like a rubbery disk) I wouldn't bother to make a new one. I find the recipes often have way more sugar than needed. The sweeter the tea the longer it takes to eat it all up! FWIW I use one cup of sugar in about two-1/2 gallons of strong tea. I let it brew for at least a couple weeks, more like a month in the winter.

 

If your scoby doesn't seem healthy. though, go ahead and start a new one. easy peasy.  :) I've had great luck using the GTs plain for this.

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Thank you missmary! Hannah uses 1 cup per gallon. I will cut that in half next time. in the meantime, I am going to add some unsweetened strong tea to the current brew. I assume the tea is doing something with the wee beasties as well, otherwise kombucha would be water based. I have a refractometer on order since my taster loves sour... Braggs apple cider vinegar tastes like honey to me... need an objective measure of sugar! I can see I'd better get with setting up a second brewer to give a longer brew cycle and still have daily booch. Thanks again.

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So I have, over the past couple of days, read this entire thread.  I think I may be sold on the idea of making my own booch.

 

Rather than re-hash the basics, I've got some questions for folks who are already brewing their own:  What do you wish you'd known going into the process of making your own booch?  Did you ever make a mistake that created a speedbump in your progress, and if so, how would you suggest a novice avoid it?  What one thing do you think a booch novice should try?

 

I'll probably be looking at vessels and starting a SCOBY this weekend.  Whee!

 

My only advice is this:

 

1. Have fun

2. There are no kombucha failures.  Just lessons on how to improve the next time :).  Kind of like the whole30.  Or life ;)

 

Seriously, have a great time with it!

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hello, I am trying to read everything in this thread.

 

I just started a batch last night, first time brewer but long time drinker. Me and my husband love the stuff, and we've talked about needing to  brew our own forever.  I bought some at the farmers market a few weeks ago, ginger and tumeric and I said "THATS IT! I am done buying this stuff"    The last 6 months have been pretty chaotic for us, including a major move,  but things have settled down and we're finally  settled and time to brew. 

 

I think my biggest fear is having enough for both of us, I started a one gallon last night and will do second one gallon tonight. Just in case I mess one up. Thinking about getting a CB system! Appreciate all the good info here : )

 

Do those of you in warmer climates use a heating pad? Its in the 70s where I am during the day.  Saturday was in the 80s. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey fellow Boochie Koochies, just checking in to say my slow start has resulted in fabulous kombucha. I'm very pleased with the scoby I got from Kombucha Kamp. I didn't realize how well it was really going until I read through Len Porzio's website http://users.bestweb.net/~om/kombucha_balance/ . Or search on Kombucha The Balancing Act or Len Porzio. This has all the info I was wishing for!

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This looks fantastic! I adore Komucha, when I lived in the cbd I used to buy 2 liter bottles each week from the organic markets. But now I live out in the burbs for Uni and can no longer do this, also living where I am I do not have the opportunity to make my own! Good luck to everyone here undertaking the challenge, I hope one day I can do the same  :)

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