Anyone brewing their own kombucha? - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 12-18-2015, 04:52 AM
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Anyone brewing their own kombucha?

Years ago I used to drink a bottle a day of (store bought) kombucha. I have been wanting to add more fermented and cultured foods back into my diet and kombucha is on the top of my list to make next (I am already making fermented oats and apple cider vinegar). I have a few questions about it though-

1. Can I cold brew the tea or must it be brewed hot? I do not mind boiling the water to make it sterile, but I would prefer to keep the process as raw as possible and not steep the tea in hot water?

2. Organic demerara sugar is about the best I can find locally that is both "regular" cane sugar, vegan and minimally processed. Will this be ok to use in lieu of white sugar and still be good for the SCOBY to eat as everything I've read says not to use alternative sweeteners? I am assuming that means I cannot use my preferred raw sugar substitute I make which is date sugar and regardless if it works, I am allergic to coconuts so coconut sugar is out.

3. I want to eventually 'bottle' my tea in pint mason jars. Should I start growing the SCOBY's in the sized jars I intend to use for the final product OR should I start culturing in a larger jar and when I'm done with each batch, pour it into the smaller jars for refrigeration?

Thanks for any insight!

Last edited by Kiwibird08; 12-18-2015 at 04:55 AM.
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#2 Old 12-18-2015, 06:35 AM
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No, in terms of brewing length I'm only up to water kefir. But I have looked into making kombucha from a whole foods, anti white sugar person and she said in the case of kombucha use white sugar, I don't remember the reason tho.

(I'm curious, that way I'm going to ask) Does it really matter if the tea is raw, the kombucha will be way more alive than a cold brew tea ever could be (that's not been left to ferment for way too long...). And are most tea leaves even raw? I don't know much about the manufacturing process but I think there might be steaming involved.

Anyway, hopefully people who actually know what they're talking about are around and good luck, I can't wait to read how it turns out!

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#3 Old 12-19-2015, 02:32 PM
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So I got it started this morning. I did brew the black tea the 'normal way', but used the demerara sugar since I found enough people using less refined cane sugars successfully to figure it would likely work out. It will be a few weeks before I will be able to tell if it worked and a SCOBY forms, but hopefully (provided I've done it right) once it starts dividing in a few months, I can experiment a bit with the "babies" using cold brew teas. Fingers crossed this will work I used to like kombucha a lot but stopped drinking it due to the cost.

Incidentally, I did not realize in the several years since I last drank it, it became an age restricted beverage since it is mildly alcoholic (you could never get drunk off it or anything) but I got carded to buy it and theres a big "you must be 21 or older to buy" label with all the alcohol warnings on the bottle LOL. Apparently some kind of whiners must have complained because now they either have to process it in some way to remove the infinitesimal amount of alcohol from it (BTW you cannot culture a SCOBY from the processed, alcohol removed varieties) or you must be 21+ to buy the raw brands that you can culture from.
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#4 Old 12-26-2015, 07:04 AM
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Yay! I checked the jar this morning I started last weekend and it seems to have some scummy looking stuff on the surface and the 'mini SCOBY' that was in the bottle I used has risen! Seems like it is working It'll be another week or 2 before it is thick enough to actually start brewing anything.
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#5 Old 12-31-2015, 06:27 AM
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Checked my jar this morning and the mini SCOBY seems to still be risen and growing a nice film across the surface of the tea I'm thrilled it seems to be working right on my first attempt. It is in a cabinet I hardly ever open and I didn't want to disturb it to get better pics, but there is indeed some bacterial and yeast action going on here:



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#6 Old 01-30-2016, 05:06 AM
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It took over a month, but my SCOBY *FINALLY* got thick enough to begin using in a continuous brew set up. I have to say, I was more than a little freaked out by the texture of the SCOBY and am glad I chose continuous brew to batch brew so I don't have to touch it very often It was like a very weird solid jelly-like mass. I moved it to it's new home yesterday and fingers crossed should have some home brewed kombucha to drink in the next couple weeks:





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#7 Old 02-01-2016, 03:36 PM
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Oooo, how exciting! I'm too wimpy to ferment with "wild" microbes, I need to use a starter. As for the weird texture- yeah, it kinda looks like a decaying jellyfish... :P
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#8 Old 02-01-2016, 04:48 PM
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I used to home brew my own kombucha years ago. I thought about starting again, but now I am a big chicken. I guess I was more adventurous then. I am glad yours is coming out ok kiwibird08.
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#9 Old 02-27-2016, 05:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by faded_amaranth View Post
Oooo, how exciting! I'm too wimpy to ferment with "wild" microbes, I need to use a starter. As for the weird texture- yeah, it kinda looks like a decaying jellyfish... :P
I didn't see this until now, but I did sort of use a starter by using the strands and chunks of culture in a store bought bottle. I didn't just leave it on the counter for a couple months and see what grew in it I think you can buy an already formed SCOBY online, but I figured it was probably cheaper to grow my own

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#10 Old 02-27-2016, 05:04 AM
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Just an update- It has been working out fantastic! I'm able to draw off 6 pint jars every 6 days it's fermenting so fast! I'm on my 3rd batch already and everything I spent on this project has already paid for itself and beyond. . The SCOBY has not only filled out the entire surface area of the continuous brewer but it has also grown to about 2CM thick and is splitting (which means I will need to take the baby SCOBY out soon and do something with it...). I really like that I am able to control the amount of carbonation too, as I am not fond of super carbonated drinks.

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#11 Old 02-27-2016, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwibird08 View Post
Just an update- It has been working out fantastic! I'm able to draw off 6 pint jars every 6 days it's fermenting so fast! I'm on my 3rd batch already and everything I spent on this project has already paid for itself and beyond. . The SCOBY has not only filled out the entire surface area of the continuous brewer but it has also grown to about 2CM thick and is splitting (which means I will need to take the baby SCOBY out soon and do something with it...). I really like that I am able to control the amount of carbonation too, as I am not fond of super carbonated drinks.
Someone is selling their scoby on craigslist!
No, I am NOT suggesting that! I just thought it was funny, and very curious if it a real deal or something ... weird
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#12 Old 02-27-2016, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by silva View Post
Someone is selling their scoby on craigslist!
No, I am NOT suggesting that! I just thought it was funny, and very curious if it a real deal or something ... weird
I posted about this on another forum I'm on and someone saw my post and actually did buy a SCOBY on craigslist lol. I am still unsure what I'm going to do with my baby SCOBYs. You can apparently make jerky out of them, face masks, pet toys or just compost it. I'm leading towards composting. I'm having a difficult time coming to terms with the texture of it and putting it on my face or in most seems less than appealing lol.

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