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soapmaker

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How much is a small batch? A quart? I've only made kombucha a couple times and I'm not very good at it. Much like a child, I need someone to hold my hand lol
I agree with @Misschief, a quart is good. I'm curious to see what happens. You know to use a tightly woven cloth for a cover? It needs air.
 

amd

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@Obsidian I know you've already started, but if you don't see signs of life, do extra strong tea and extra strong sugar. The yeasts will need alot of food to get started again (sugar) and the bacteria will need to stay balanced (stronger tea will do that). You probably won't want to drink these first few batches 😁 I recently revived a guy who had been in the fridge for 2 years.
 

soapmaker

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@Obsidian I know you've already started, but if you don't see signs of life, do extra strong tea and extra strong sugar. The yeasts will need alot of food to get started again (sugar) and the bacteria will need to stay balanced (stronger tea will do that). You probably won't want to drink these first few batches 😁 I recently revived a guy who had been in the fridge for 2 years.
Although according to The Big Book of Kombucha having it in the refrigerator is a worst case scenario. They recommend never putting it in the fridge. Glad if you could revive it. I would have started over completely.
 

Yooper

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I just saw this but I'm a kombucha maker (even did a seminar on it last year, and served it at HomebrewCon). I can try to help those who have questions.
 

amd

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Although according to The Big Book of Kombucha having it in the refrigerator is a worst case scenario. They recommend never putting it in the fridge.
The Big Book of Kombucha is a great reference... but I have found a lot of ... well... not so sound advice. Keep in mind that many brewers start with storebought kombucha, which is kept in the refrigerator section. Storing a SCOBY in the fridge isn't much different. It needs a bit more coddling to bring it back than a SCOBY stored in a hotel, but it isn't a lost cause.

well, it went bad and has mold all over.
Ewww. It was worth a try though.
 

mishmish

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I would love to start making kombucha again: I stopped because of an article I read about some people making themselves sick with homemade kombucha because their scoby became contaminated with wild yeast. Then I had a new donated scoby grow maggots (I kept it covered so the eggs must have been laid before I got it) and I got discouraged.
 

Obsidian

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I just saw this but I'm a kombucha maker (even did a seminar on it last year, and served it at HomebrewCon). I can try to help those who have questions.
I'll happily pick your brain. One reason I stopped making booch is I could never get a flavorful end product, the carbonation was lacking too.

Once its ready to bottle, I just can't figure out how much of what to add. So many instructions say add fruit and/or sugar but not how much or in what form.
I usually just add smashed fruit, maybe 1/4 cup per 16oz bottle and it just doesn't add any flavor.
I'm always disappointed that there isn't any tea flavor left either, its usually just sour fermented flavor, sometimes a little alcohol.

The carbonation seems to completely fizzle out once its put in the fridge. I'll be using proper bale top bottles next time, hopefully that helps.
 

soapmaker

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Once its ready to bottle, I just can't figure out how much of what to add. So many instructions say add fruit and/or sugar but not how much or in what form.
I usually just add smashed fruit, maybe 1/4 cup per 16oz bottle and it just doesn't add any flavor.
I'm always disappointed that there isn't any tea flavor left either, its usually just sour fermented flavor, sometimes a little alcohol.
Not the person your questioning but I'll tell you my experience. I never thought mashed fruit gave any flavour either, only colour and carbonation. Also chopped fresh ginger root gave no flavour. I second ferment mine in a 1 1/2 liter jar and in that I put (approx.) 1/2 c. Kiju juice. My favourite is Mango Orange. I also add a rounded teaspoon of organic ground ginger. Believe me it has flavour!
 

amd

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I'm always disappointed that there isn't any tea flavor left either, its usually just sour fermented flavor, sometimes a little alcohol.
If it's sour you may be 1st fermenting too long, try backing off a day at a time. Also watch temps. I had mine in a warm spot in the house, and I think it was too warm because it would go sour quickly and had zero carbonation. That's typically a sign that the SCOBY isn't balanced - there's more bacteria than yeast. I moved mine to a cooler spot in the house, and added just a bit more sugar to encourage the yeast. I've always brewed with max tea amounts, so I didn't mess with that. You can also try mixing up the types of tea - I had really good tea flavor using half black, half green mix. I would try a bit more sugar for a batch or two, in addition to adjusting temp, and ferment time, see if that straightens it out.

Once its ready to bottle, I just can't figure out how much of what to add. So many instructions say add fruit and/or sugar but not how much or in what form.
That was one thing that I really the Big Book of Kombucha for, is that it has very clear ratios and recipes for flavoring. Just for that the book was worth the price I paid. My sister does a lot of canning (she has actually had her products tested because she sells) so I use quite a bit of her jams and syrups for flavoring. It's a bit less cumbersome to add 1 tbsp jam to a bottle and get good flavor than mashing up fruit. Plus the benefit of the extra sugar improves carbonation. Have you tried adding a bit of sugar to your flavoring to improve the carbonation? The yeast will still be active, so in a well sealed bottle if you give them a bit of sugar (especially if your brew is sour) will give them something to work with to create carbonation. Even a bit of apple juice - like a tbsp or two - will help the yeast.
 

Obsidian

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Can anyone recommend a company to purchase a new scoby from? I got mold again. Going to sterilize my jar but I'm giving up.on growing my own.
 

amd

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Can anyone recommend a company to purchase a new scoby from?
Try Cultures for Health, or Kombucha Kamp. If you have a fairly decent sized city, you might be able to find an herb shop - not sure. I know we have a store here that sells herbs, teas, crystals, and she does Kombucha, but that might be particular to herself as it is a local "home grown" biz.
 

soapmaker

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I've always brewed with max tea amounts, so I didn't mess with that.

That was one thing that I really the Big Book of Kombucha for, is that it has very clear ratios and recipes for flavoring. Just for that the book was worth the price I paid.
@amd what is your opinion on maximum tea amounts? Strange you mention very clear ratios for flavouring in the Big Book of Kombucha. I really liked that book but as far as their ratios for flavouring, I couldn't taste much. That's why I went to ground ginger instead of chopped fresh ginger root. I love all the ideas for flavouring but I use them for ideas and adjust to suit our taste.
Always wanting to learn more, I am wondering if you're willing to tell me what you found in that book that's "not so sound advice?" Because I didn't know a thing about kombucha, so I took their advice to be the voice of experience. Information and misinformation. How are we to know who to believe?
 

amd

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I don't have an "opinion" on maximum tea amounts, I found several sources that all recommend the same usage rates, and the recommendation not to exceed. Too much tea will put the SCOBY out of balance, so this advice makes sense to me.

I didn't think it was strange that I mentioned the books ratios, because they do very clearly say "use this much." I don't find that strange. Obsidian had commented that she had difficulty finding recipes that say how much to add, and BBoK says how much to use. I haven't had problems with flavoring following their recipes, but taste is subjective. I also have a sensitive nose, so I may be able to taste their flavors better while others with less sense of smell may not.

It's been several years since I read the book, and as I have found with other books by people who also sell ingredients and supplies, their advice is geared toward you buying their wares and buying them often. This was how I read their book compared to a significant amount of time spent reading other sources. Sorry I can't give specifics (the book said this, but these sources said that), as I said it's been a few years, but I do remember some conflicting advice, and further research showed me that there are easier/better ways to do things. It probably also helps that I live with a beer brewer, and am part of our local beer brewing club [while there are differences between beer and booch, many of the principles are the same, and many shared their experiences and knowledge of booch]. I'm not an expert by any means, but I have read alot, done alot, and had to correct alot of my own brewing mistakes. Some of those mistakes happened following the BBoK. This of course, is my own personal experience, and while BBoK is a good starting point, I would not make it my only reference. I've found this true for many things - sourdough (which I've just started my journey on), soapmaking, and raising children :) There is no one definitive guide, but with a bit of research and sometimes trusting your own intuition, you'll end up with results that are pleasing and can be repeated successfully. (Although raising children still has me a bit stumped. Hopefully by the time the grandchildren arrive I'll have it figured out.)
 

DeeAnna

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Another thing if you want to find a local scoby is to ask your friends, advertise on Craigs List or Facebook Marketplace, or check local "want ads" online or in a community newspaper.

I bought a scoby from The Kombucha Shop in Madison, Wisconsin. I later learned a friend makes kombucha and would have gladly given me a scoby if she'd known I wanted one. That was a little embarassing. :rolleyes:

I can second Kombucha Kamp and Cultures for Health, but would add The Kombucha Shop to the list too. They did a good job with my order and the scoby performed very well. Their home page -- The Kombucha Shop What I bought -- The Kombucha Shop
 

Obsidian

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I did put up a iso on the local FB marketplace. I have one lady respond but she is the same person I got my last scoby from and I really didn't like what it produced.
Hopefully someone else local will respond, if not, I'll check the suggested pages.

Unfortunately, there are no places around here that would have kombucha supplies.
 

soapmaker

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I don't have an "opinion" on maximum tea amounts, I found several sources that all recommend the same usage rates, and the recommendation not to exceed. Too much tea will put the SCOBY out of balance, so this advice makes sense to me.

I didn't think it was strange that I mentioned the books ratios, because they do very clearly say "use this much." I don't find that strange. Obsidian had commented that she had difficulty finding recipes that say how much to add, and BBoK says how much to use. I haven't had problems with flavoring following their recipes, but taste is subjective. I also have a sensitive nose, so I may be able to taste their flavors better while others with less sense of smell may not.

It's been several years since I read the book, and as I have found with other books by people who also sell ingredients and supplies, their advice is geared toward you buying their wares and buying them often. This was how I read their book compared to a significant amount of time spent reading other sources. Sorry I can't give specifics (the book said this, but these sources said that), as I said it's been a few years, but I do remember some conflicting advice, and further research showed me that there are easier/better ways to do things. It probably also helps that I live with a beer brewer, and am part of our local beer brewing club [while there are differences between beer and booch, many of the principles are the same, and many shared their experiences and knowledge of booch]. I'm not an expert by any means, but I have read alot, done alot, and had to correct alot of my own brewing mistakes. Some of those mistakes happened following the BBoK. This of course, is my own personal experience, and while BBoK is a good starting point, I would not make it my only reference. I've found this true for many things - sourdough (which I've just started my journey on), soapmaking, and raising children :) There is no one definitive guide, but with a bit of research and sometimes trusting your own intuition, you'll end up with results that are pleasing and can be repeated successfully. (Although raising children still has me a bit stumped. Hopefully by the time the grandchildren arrive I'll have it figured out.)
I certainly hope that I didn't offend you by using the word opinion. A better way would have been to ask what you have found you like to use. I know that too much tea will put the scoby out of balance so I have been leery to increase although I see other references that use more. I'm sure if we talked face to face you also would see that I'm benevolent and meant no harm by saying "strange." I meant interesting because I'm fond of BBoK and you, not so much, and the part you like is the part I change! Such is life. I also do things easier and better but thought it was a great ref. book. I trust my own tuition a lot. As far as raising children, I hate to disappoint you but if you're like me you won't have it figured out by the time grandchildren come either:) By then you just have to do what the mother says.
 

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