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Kombucha Brewers

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by amd, Apr 4, 2018.

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  1. May 29, 2018 #61

    Obsidian

    Obsidian

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    I have bubbles!! The two small bottles are ready to drink, the large bottle is still working. It tastes pretty good, wish it had a bit more flavor, will try some herbal teas next time. Thanks to everyone who walked me through the process.
     
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  2. May 29, 2018 #62

    Misschief

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    Yay!!!! Another obsession initiated! :dance:
     
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  3. May 29, 2018 #63

    amd

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    Woohoo!

    A note on the tea, there is a point where the bacteria won't be able to process all the tannins. The general rule (at least, what my reading has found) is that the most tea bags per gallon to use is 12. I brew right around 9 bags (3 bags green + 6 bags black), like you I want a tea flavor in booch. Generally speaking, it seems most brewers use 3-4 tea bags per gallon (based on most online How To's and FB group chats).

    This reminds me... I haven't bottled the batches I made on 5/5... oops...
     
  4. May 29, 2018 #64

    DeeAnna

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    I have been following your discussion with interest -- I'm learning a lot!

    Your last comment, AMD, about using more tea (up to a point) is something I want to keep in mind when I make my first batch. (I have to drive a ways to get some to use as a starter, and haven't had yet had a chance.)

    The one thing I remember from the two samples I've tried is that neither had much of a refreshing tea flavor. The first (my friend's) was horribly sour and acidic and the other (a commercial product) was sweet-tart with a fruity flavor. Nice, but not much like tea. That is why I was so surprised to learn from y'all that kombucha is made from tea. :rolleyes:
     
  5. May 29, 2018 #65

    Obsidian

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    Mine doesn't really taste of tea at this time but I did add lemon juice and ginger for flavoring, next time I will use sweeter flavorings.
    I used 8 tea bags for a gallon, Ill try 12 next and see if it boosts the flavor some. I think I'll stop the fermentation sooner too, see if that helps it stay a bit sweeter. I ca drink it sour but I want a nice balance.
     
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  6. May 30, 2018 #66

    Misschief

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    Stopping the fermentation just before it gets to the stage you want it to be is not a bad thing at all because it does keep fermenting, albeit more slowly, after it's been bottled and refrigerated.

    I use 4 teabags or up to 13 grams of tea. The last couple of batches I've made have been with 8 grams yerba mate, 4 grams white tea, and 1 gram lavender flowers. Then I flavour it with 5 grams of hops in the second ferment and strain them out before bottling. It's really good! (The original recipe calls for the addition of pink grapefruit, which is amazing, but I'm not supposed to have grapefruit... drug interaction.)
     
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  7. Jul 8, 2018 #67

    DeeAnna

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    Wish me luck. I am following this recipe -- https://www.almanac.com/content/how-to-make-kombucha-tea -- and am starting a 1/2 gallon batch today. Here are the proportions I followed --

    6 cups water
    5 bags tea (the instructions were a little confusing on how much tea to use, but you guys are saying the proportions can vary, so I decided to use 3 bags of black and 2 of green)
    3/4 cup sugar (I just used plain white sugar)
    1 1/2 cups starter (I'm hoping Kevita kombucha from the refrigerated case of my local grocery will work)

    edit: I forgot to ask -- at what point would you add some thinly sliced fresh ginger? The Kevita stuff I like best is the ginger version, so I'd like to try that as a flavoring. Thanks!
     
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  8. Jul 8, 2018 #68

    Misschief

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    Add your flavouring after the first fermentation.
     
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  9. Jul 9, 2018 #69

    DeeAnna

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    Will do. Thank you, Misschief!
     
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  10. Jul 9, 2018 #70

    Parfumerie

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    Does kevita make kombucha? I'm almost 100% positive that their sparkling probiotic beverages won't make kombucha (if that's all that's available to you, I can mail you a bottle of GT's just pay shipping), and for adding ginger I'd recommend juicing it, some people don't mind the fiber in their beverage but it's kinda gross imo also afaik the more tea the better I'm sure there's a saturation point but I have a friend at work who makes it and he uses somewhere around 64 bags in 2 gal. But he said loose leaf he uses less so I guess that's around 2 bags per cup and his was one of the best I've tried it could've been more but I'll find out exactly and let you know.

    I think you'll wish you'd made a slightly larger batch too but if you're just going to start your culture and then use that as starter for other batches that would be good so I got his recipe:

    1.5 gal water
    1/4 cup loose leaf tea
    1 cup organic cane juice crystals
    Primary fermentation 10-14days
    Add 1 more cup sugar and flavoring agents (fruit/ juice)
    Secondary fermentation in large sealable jars 7-10 days keep and eye on the pressure you can taste it to see when it's carbonated enough then bottle leave bottles out for a day or 2 to build carbonation then refrigerate.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
  11. Jul 9, 2018 #71

    DeeAnna

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    The Kevita product I used is labeled as kombucha. But I'm an utter newbie at this, so I have no idea if it's watered down or otherwise not the real deal. I'm sure if it doesn't show signs of ferment in the next few days, I'll get a bit of a clue. I've fermented other things -- vinegar, sauerkraut, etc. -- so hopefully that experience will be useful with kombucha.

    I live in the rural boonies, and I'm not aware at the moment where I can get a scoby or fresh kombucha from a local source. But I've got a local friend or two who might steer me in the right direction -- I'll ask.

    A bunch of the recipes I looked at used the equivalent of 1 tea bag per 2 cups of water. That seemed reasonable for my first batch, but I'm quite willing to experiment. I think Misschief also touched on this topic of how much tea to use -- gotta get back to work or I'd double check on what she said. It's in this thread...
     
  12. Jul 9, 2018 #72

    amd

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    I'm not sure the Kevita has live cultures in it. I've tried using it once to make a SCOBY and it didn't work.
     
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  13. Jul 9, 2018 #73

    DeeAnna

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    Well, I guess I'm going to find out. I'll letcha know....
     
  14. Jul 10, 2018 #74

    Misschief

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    Your sugar might be a bit on the high side, DeeAnna, but with the addition of ginger in the second ferment, it should be fine; I use 1/2 cup (1/4 cup palm sugar and 1/4 cup white sugar) for 1/2 gallon of tea. I recommend starting to taste your tea after about 4-5 days, depending on how warm it is where you are. If your Kevita does its job, stop the first ferment when you like the taste or it's slightly sweeter than you want it. The extra sugar in the mix will help with the second ferment.

    The last couple of batches I make, I used 1/2 tbsp. gunpowder green tea and 1/2 tbsp. purple tea. After one week, I'm doing my second ferment with pineapple chunks and either fresh mint or basil from my garden, in the same size jar I make my kombucha in, then, after two days or so, I bottle it in individual bottles until it's nice and carbonated. It is SO good!
     
  15. Jul 10, 2018 #75

    DeeAnna

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    Thanks for the advice on the amount of sugar and when to stop the ferment. I am really looking forward to enjoying a successful batch -- if not this one with the Kevita, then soon. My delightfully witchy friend De says she might be able to help me find a scoby or some fresh kombucha.
     
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  16. Jul 10, 2018 #76

    Parfumerie

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    I'm curious how it will turn out since I very much like the taste of the kevitas
     
  17. Jul 11, 2018 #77

    DeeAnna

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    Three days into the start of my kombucha adventure. There's no hint, not even a little bit, of any fermentation going on. The mixture looks and tastes like sweet tea. No bubbles, no hint of an acetic acid aroma, no solids forming, zero, nada, zilch.

    If I was fermenting pickles or kraut or another lacto-fermented food, given the warmish summer temperatures in my pantry, all kinds of bubbles and interesting odors would be happening by now.

    Amd -- thanks for the warning. I think you're right -- Kevitas is a bust as a source of live organisms. Which brings me to wonder -- is this particular product is really a decent probiotic fermented food or is it just a wannabe product to cash in on the popularity of real kombucha? If I'm going to consume fermented foods, I want all of the benefits, including the live cultures. :oops: I mean, there was a kerfluffle some years ago -- people were really unhappy that some brands of yogurt were pasteurized so the live cultures were killed. It's not just the beneficial chemicals in fermented foods; it's the presence of the live organisms that is so valuable.
     
  18. Jul 11, 2018 #78

    amd

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    I'm not sure the date on this article (I couldn't find a date in the usual places, so maybe it's buried on the page and I didn't see it), but it may shed some light on which brands will work better for starter brews.
    https://healthyeater.com/healthiest-kombucha-brands
    Based on the article, KeVita also adds stevia into theirs, which is a no-no for brewing (the cultures won't consume it) as well as additional caffeine. Those two additives alone lead me to believe it isn't good to use. If you have other booch choices, look for ones that have fruit juices (GT uses kiwi juice, I believe, instead of sugar in their brewing process for example), or a lower calorie count (50-60 cal).
     
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  19. Jul 11, 2018 #79

    DeeAnna

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    That's kind of the problem -- I don't have a lot of obvious options, given where I live. This is the land of true-blue Busch Lite and Bud Lite drinkers. ;) Kombucha is way too crunchy-granola for a lot of the folks around here. But I've got feelers out.
     
  20. Jul 11, 2018 #80

    amd

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    I'm a bit farther north than you and I have the same problem (regarding booch and beer)! My sister texted me last night because she had a recipe for beer mustard that calls for a dark beer... she asked me if she should use Ol Mil or Ol Mil Light... bahaha! I wonder what shipping would be like for sending a SCOBY, I'd send you one of mine.
     
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