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Astonishing Wang
Nov 3, 2004


I've been making Kombucha for about a month now, and I'm currently on my 4th gallon. I didn't see anything here on SA about making this fermented tea, and obviously I now consider myself an expert on the topic, so I thought I'd make a post about it! Welcome to the Kombucha thread!



What is Kombucha you may ask? You must not live on the west coast
Kombucha is a fermented tea that is said to have many benefits, mostly for gut health - lots of probiotics and vitamins. A culture of bacteria and yeast is added to a sweet tea. The culture (SCOBY) eats the sugar in the tea and ferments it. Apparently this has been made for around 2,000 years, and boasts the following (unproven) benefits:

- Improved Digestion
- Weight Loss
- Increased Energy
- Cleansing and Detoxification
- Immune Support
- Reduced Joint Pain
- Cancer Prevention

Most of that is probably bullshit - luckily, it also tastes awesome and is a good replacement for cola (in my life at least).

What is a SCOBY? It's a Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast! Below is a very bad photograph of a SCOBY, sitting in a few cups of Kombucha. You can buy a SCOBY online through Amazon, I bought this one twice (once from seller "ScobyKombucha", and once from seller "Fermentaholics". I'd recommend ordering from Fermentaholics, as the SCOBY was easily 3x thicker than the other.


Basic steps to make a 1 gallon batch of Kombucha:
- Heat up 8 cups of water and throw in 8 black tea bags or 2 Tbsp of loose leaf tea - you can use green tea or other teas but I've read to always include at least some black tea as well. I have a batch going now that is 6 green tea bags and 2 black tea.
- Add a cup of sugar to the hot tea and stir it in until it's dissolved
- Take the tea off the heat, remove the tea bags if you want to and let it cool - I usually let it sit for a while and then I dump it into the glass jar with a bunch of ice cubes because I'm impatient. The longer you leave the tea bags in the stronger your tea will be.
- When your sweet tea is around room temperature (not warm!), top off your jar with more water, then add your SCOBY and 2-3 cups of Kombucha (maybe less works, but my first batch went moldy from not enough so I use this much). You can also use straight vinegar instead of booch apparently but I've never tried that. I just used some store-bought Kombucha on top of the liquid that came with the SCOBY and it worked fine for my second try. Now I use 2-3 cups from the previous batch to start the new one.
- Cover the jar with cheese cloth and/or a coffee filter to keep junk from getting in. I now use coffee filters to make sure that gnats and fruit flies can't get in and mess up my stuff. I saw a fruit fly buzzing around the mouth one time and I've been paranoid since.
- Let the tea sit in a location out of direct sunlight, from 68-85F, for 7-30 days. As it sits in the jar, the sugar is being eaten by the little fellows that live in your gross SCOBY, so as it sits in the jar it get's progressively less sweet and more vinegary. I've pulled batches at 7 and 9 days so far and they've been pretty sweet. I'm going to experiment with length to see how much the taste is effected.



So now you've got a gallon of Kombucha, congratulations! You can drink the whole thing now if you want to, or you can do a second fermentation to add flavors and fizziness. You can add flavors in pretty much any way you'd like. So far I've used ginger, frozen fruit, dried fruit, honey, and various juices. Ginger is the best all-around so far IMO, and pineapple has a lot going for it as well. Acai berry can go gently caress itself. The second fermentation will use the sugars in the fruits to create a fizzy drink, so you want a bottle with an airtight seal. Use about 10-30% flavoring and fill the rest of the bottle with your fresh Kombucha, leaving about an inch of air space at the top of the bottle. Leave them sealed for two days or so, though less is fine and longer is probably fine as well. The bottles can build up a lot of pressure in just a couple of days, so be sure to uncap them carefully. When you're happy with how they taste, filter the fruits out and put the bottles in the fridge to enjoy later. The fruit that you just filtered out is awesome in a smoothie by the way, though it looks pretty gnarly after a couple days soaking.

Here are a few bottles in the second fermentation stage. The SCOBY is sitting in a bowl with a few cups of Kombucha, waiting to be added to the next batch.


Some flavors I've tried and liked:
Ginger
lemon and ginger
blueberry pineapple
strawberry lemon
Raspberry lemon ginger
Pineapple
Ginger and a little honey

Some flavors that I plan on trying soon, based on storebought flavors:
Beet juice & ginger
Cayenne Lemon (I've tried mango habanero and it was awesome)

The flavored Kombuchas are great as mixers as well, we've started drinking Vodkombucha quite often at our house. How to make Vodkombucha: Put some vodka in your Kombucha.

I have two 1-gallon glass jars that are dedicated to Kombucha now. Each will fill about 8 16oz bottles while reserving enough Kombucha to start the next batch, so I'll have about 16 bottles every ~10 days. That's pretty awesome when you compare the cost to buying bottles for $3.50 at the grocery store. After the initial purchase of the SCOBY and glass jar (~$12 maybe?) you're looking at only the cost of tea, sugar and water each time you want to make a batch.

do u like funky tea too, or what? Did I miss some really obvious questions? Probably!

Astonishing Wang fucked around with this message at Jan 13, 2017 around 19:34

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Submarine Sandpaper
May 27, 2007

ASK ME ABOUT HOW I GHOULISHLY CELEBRATE THE DEATH OF CHILDREN TO TEACH THEIR PARENTS "A LESSON"


Will it ferment at ~ 60 degrees? I won't have a 68 degree enclosure until I finish building my proofing box

Astonishing Wang
Nov 3, 2004


Submarine Sandpaper posted:

Will it ferment at ~ 60 degrees? I won't have a 68 degree enclosure until I finish building my proofing box

I've seen recommendations to use a heating pad under the bottle if your temps are too cool. I think that lower temps would just make it take longer to ferment, but I may be wrong and there might be a temperature under which the process won't happen. If you put the kombucha in the fridge is slows down the process a LOT.

Chard
Aug 24, 2010



Doctor Rope

Does it smell much while fermenting? I'd like to try this but if it stinks up the joint, maybe not.

Astonishing Wang
Nov 3, 2004


Chard posted:

Does it smell much while fermenting? I'd like to try this but if it stinks up the joint, maybe not.

I can only smell it if I have my head directly over the jar - nothing to worry about! It's a faint vinegary smell.

Chard
Aug 24, 2010



Doctor Rope

Awesome, think I'll give this a shot then. Worst case scenario I have a dirty jar to wash, otherwise delicious fizzy drinks.

Astonishing Wang
Nov 3, 2004


Craigslist here in San Diego has a bunch of people selling scobys, it might be worth checking!

Astonishing Wang
Nov 3, 2004




The latest batch includes:
Strawberry Lemon
Orange Lemon
Mango Ginger
Mango Orange
Berry Ginger
Strawberry Mango

Strawberry Lemon is the favorite from this batch - orange doesn't seem pair super well with the Kombucha funkiness. These flavors were all just chunks of fruit mixed with juiced citrus, I want to start trying purees and using some of the zest from fruits.

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

by FactsAreUseless


why don't you just drink beer? or fruit juice, or tea or something? making individually sized portions of a fermented fruity tea drink seems pretty nuts - I tried it with some microbatches of beer and the yields after yeast runoff, fruit/hop sledge, etc were just pathetic. like my batch would be 750ml and I'd have 400ml drinkable at the end of the day.

Astonishing Wang
Nov 3, 2004


This is a lot different than beer or fruit juice, and it's not a lot of work once you know what's going on. I think you're on the wrong forum for a question like that

Why do we cook when we can just buy food?

I'm making a gallon at a time, and it's decanted into the individual bottles with fruits and stuff. It takes a few minutes to clean bottles and prep fruit, but it's not hard work and it doesn't take long.

This is a low-waste process too, all of the fruit that I use to flavor the teas goes into the blender for smoothies!

Astonishing Wang fucked around with this message at Jan 18, 2017 around 20:02

Mr. Wiggles
Dec 1, 2003

I would never shop at Costco. The paper towels won't fit into my sports car!

Well, I'm glad you're doing something satisfying. I just can't get the buzz about kombucha - I've never had one that tasted good, and unfortunately its all tied up with anti-vax style stupidity and so I can't go anywhere that offers it without hating to death everyone I'm drinking it around.

Good luck with your experiments, tho

Submarine Sandpaper
May 27, 2007

ASK ME ABOUT HOW I GHOULISHLY CELEBRATE THE DEATH OF CHILDREN TO TEACH THEIR PARENTS "A LESSON"


poo poo's tasty and the thing I miss about my X (borderline antivax) the most. Wiggles, there are some which taste like pickle juice and others, that I can get at tea shops around here, that are sweetened to the point of missing the point. Try more when it's available.

Astonishing Wang
Nov 3, 2004


So yesterday I made some kombucha that is sweetened to the point of missing the point

I had 2 gallons of Kombucha ready for bottling so I wanted to try some new recipes! I made a couple of what I guess you would call purees(?). I heated a small sauce pan with some frozen cranberries and some water, once the berries were thawed I mashed them up and added a little bit of sugar. I did the same with an orange, some lemon juice and ginger, and another with berries. I blended the cranberry mix in the food processor but I don't think I'll do that in the future. Mashing up the berries seems good enough. I tried the orange/lemon juice mix today and it's very refreshing and tastes almost peachy.

I let this batch of tea ferment for ~10 days and I like it better than the 7-day version. It's a little less sweet so you can taste more of the vinegary bite.

Also I was up at a cabin in Idyllwild and Kombucha was $5.60/bottle at the grocery store.

Astonishing Wang fucked around with this message at Jan 23, 2017 around 17:50

Chard
Aug 24, 2010



Doctor Rope

My scoby finally arrived! It was warm inside of the Amazon box the pouch came in, so I'm at least pretty sure it's not DOA. Tomorrow after work I can get this party started.

Chard
Aug 24, 2010



Doctor Rope

How bad is it if my scoby sank? I'm realizing that my comfortable living temperature is at least ~5-10 degrees lower than what's recommended and that may be a problem. I have the jar on top of my fridge and I've been using the apartment heater in spite of my preference, but it's probably still colder than it should be. No visible mold yet and I haven't finished the first fermentation but I'm starting to think that for this to work I need to build some kind of custom (possibly heated) box for it to live in.

Astonishing Wang
Nov 3, 2004


No problem, from what I've seen it doesn't matter if it floats or not. One person said that it's because of the temperature differential between the SCOBY and the tea. I've had it stay sunken the whole time though, so that doesn't make sense.

Chard
Aug 24, 2010



Doctor Rope

Well that's good. I was worried it had died or something, guess we'll see how it plays out in the next week or so.

Astonishing Wang
Nov 3, 2004


If it molds you'll definitely know. My first batch got moldy because I didn't have enough base liquid. The mold is fuzzy on top of the tea. The healthy SCOBY gets gray sections that are mold colored but aren't fuzzy.

Cannon_Fodder
Jul 17, 2007

"Hey, where did Steve go?"
Design by Kamoc

Thanks for making this!

I'm real interested in creating my own. Would I be able to tackle a low-budget attempt at this with the goo at the bottom of another kombucha?

I know there's the booger-ish thing at the bottom of the store-bought ones, but I've always heard it called the "mother".

Astonishing Wang
Nov 3, 2004


Cannon_Fodder posted:

Thanks for making this!

I'm real interested in creating my own. Would I be able to tackle a low-budget attempt at this with the goo at the bottom of another kombucha?

I know there's the booger-ish thing at the bottom of the store-bought ones, but I've always heard it called the "mother".

I've never tried it with store bought booch, but it's definitely possible. It looks like it takes a while longer, but it would be a lot quicker after the first batch or two.
http://www.paprikahead.com/2009/07/...bucha-from.html

Friendly tip for anyone new to the kitchen and/or kombucha: if you're making dinner while making Kombucha, be sure to rinse your knife between chopping onions and chopping mangoes. I have a batch of slightly oniony mango Kombucha

Astonishing Wang
Nov 3, 2004


I froze a bunch of lemon juice into ice cubes for future use. 1 lemon juice cube is TOO MUCH LEMON for a 1 liter bottle. I didn't think it would be.

Guava paste turned out to be an awesome flavoring. I found it at the dollar store - it's guava with a bit of sugar and citric acid(I think) added. It's a gnarly sticky goo consistency, like a thick jelly/jam4. I used about a tablespoon of it and it completely dissolves into the booch and tastes good.

I also bought some of the little boxes of 100% juice fruit punch to try out. It's alright, not amazing.

Cannon_Fodder
Jul 17, 2007

"Hey, where did Steve go?"
Design by Kamoc

SCOBY and cheese cloth ordered.

God help us all.

I have also enrolled the girlfriend into helping. I am probably on the goddamn spectrum when it comes to this poo poo and I don't want to kill my new symbiosis friend.

Astonishing Wang
Nov 3, 2004


You might want to consider using coffee filters instead of cheesecloth if you've ever seen gnats in your house. They can get through a couple layers of cheesecloth but not the coffee filter.

Let us know how the first batch comes out!!

sinburger
Sep 10, 2006

I honestly did not see that one coming...

We make this stuff at home but always forget about the batches and let them ferment for too long. However, I have learned that kombucha "vinegar" is a great base for salad dressing.

Astonishing Wang
Nov 3, 2004


How long would you say is too long? I guess it would probably be up to your taste buds? The longest I've gone so far is 12 days, but the recommended time is always 7-30 days.

coyo7e
Aug 23, 2007

by zen death robot


Awesome thanks for making a thread. Kombucha is good stuff but I never got far enough into it to make my own flavors, super jealous.. My only big jar like that is full of salmon eggs right now so uhhh..

8 oz of kombucha first thing in the morning will make you feel like a million bucks too, way better than coffee or some energy drink bullshit.

edit: for those who've never tried kombucha - stay away from the pasteurized ones in the store! They taste like dead fish rear end, honesTea is especially noxious. unpasteurized is fine and most are unpasteurized - just be aware.


I really am fond of "Hummm!" kombucha's flavors and they're in my state so I get growlers filled for like , my favorite flavors are definitely whatever+lemonade, and pina colada.

coyo7e fucked around with this message at Mar 5, 2017 around 12:41

Suspect Bucket
Jan 14, 2012

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er, maybe also A DRAGON
or possibly
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coyo7e posted:

Awesome thanks for making a thread. Kombucha is good stuff but I never got far enough into it to make my own flavors, super jealous.. My only big jar like that is full of salmon eggs right now so uhhh..


You can buy half gallon and gallon mason jars on Amazon. They are so handy! Also check your local deli counter, ask if they have big empty pickle jars. They'll need a heck of a cleaning and sanitizing, but the pickle smell does go away eventually.

Astonishing Wang
Nov 3, 2004


The perfect recipe for a 16oz bottle is ~3/4oz of lime juice and about a half-inch of fresh ginger. Lime is better than lemon IMO as it's sweeter.

Also Ginger Lime sounds a lot tastier than Lime Ginger. Something about the way the words bounce.

e: if anyone has a Marshall's store around them I've found great deals on bottles. ~$6 for a gallon, and $2 for 32oz wired rubber-stopped closure. Whatever you call those things..

Cannon_Fodder
Jul 17, 2007

"Hey, where did Steve go?"
Design by Kamoc

Welp, I forgot to buy PH strips. I'll have to find a store with some (there's some brew stores around).

Sooooonnnnnnnn....

Astonishing Wang
Nov 3, 2004


Cannon_Fodder posted:

Welp, I forgot to buy PH strips. I'll have to find a store with some (there's some brew stores around).

Sooooonnnnnnnn....

gently caress that poo poo I've never used one. Is your water super funky?

You can find them at any place that sells pool supplies too. Or a nursery/garden center.

Cannon_Fodder
Jul 17, 2007

"Hey, where did Steve go?"
Design by Kamoc

Astonishing Wang posted:

gently caress that poo poo I've never used one. Is your water super funky?

You can find them at any place that sells pool supplies too. Or a nursery/garden center.

Got some from a homebrew shop, but they're homebrew specific. Only go down to like 4.6.

I'm just going to wing it.

First batch, en route! Pics when I get home.

Pics:



I'm excited but I'm not sure how it'll turn out.

The SCOBY that I got from a friend seemed to be the outer trimmings of a SCOBY so it wasn't really circular. Not sure how much that matters in the end.

Here's to hope!

Cannon_Fodder fucked around with this message at Mar 28, 2017 around 17:19

Astonishing Wang
Nov 3, 2004


Cannon_Fodder posted:


The SCOBY that I got from a friend seemed to be the outer trimmings of a SCOBY so it wasn't really circular. Not sure how much that matters in the end.
Awesome! Looks like you're pretty well set up! I've thought about cutting up the scoby to fit into smaller-mouthed jars, but it doesn't really need to sit flat or anything like that so I haven't done it. The scoby just kind of gloops in wherever you need it, like Slimer from Ghostbusters.

I decanted two of my gallon jugs yesterday and tried a few new flavors. I bought a bag of mixed frozen fruit and a bottle of Concord Grape juice.

Flavors I'm trying this round:
Peach
Strawberry Pineapple Peach
Concord Grape
Strawberry Blackberry Raspberry

Cannon_Fodder
Jul 17, 2007

"Hey, where did Steve go?"
Design by Kamoc

Nice. I'm going to try my first infusion on Friday when I get home. I

I'm about to pull the trigger on some 1 or 2 gallon jars.

Cannon_Fodder
Jul 17, 2007

"Hey, where did Steve go?"
Design by Kamoc

I mixed a bit with orange juice for the second fermentation (2 days). No complaints. Next, I shall attack the mango.

Astonishing Wang
Nov 3, 2004


Concord grape came out pretty well, using about 3oz. of juice in a 16oz bottle.

Mixed berry (strawberry, raspberry, blackberry) came out very well, using about 10 berries per bottle. It got pretty explosive after two days without burping the bottle. I had to cover the cap with my hand to keep the strawberry guts from exploding all over the kitchen.

Cannon_Fodder
Jul 17, 2007

"Hey, where did Steve go?"
Design by Kamoc

The first one I made was with an Amazon scoby. I have 3 more jars that are still fermenting with some friend-of-a-friend sourced scoby.

I want to try to do a running culture of some sort in a 3 gal jar. I'm about to pull the trigger on one to see what happens.

Astonishing Wang
Nov 3, 2004


Cannon_Fodder posted:

The first one I made was with an Amazon scoby. I have 3 more jars that are still fermenting with some friend-of-a-friend sourced scoby.

I want to try to do a running culture of some sort in a 3 gal jar. I'm about to pull the trigger on one to see what happens.

Cool! I'm curious to see how it works out with a big batch. That's probably an easier long-term way of doing it than a bunch of individual batches in smaller jars.

Mikey Purp
Sep 30, 2008

I realized it's gotten out of control. I realize I'm out of control.

This thread reminded me that I have 1 gallon of kombucha that I brewed almost a year ago that is still sitting in a dark cabinet in my kitchen. Pretty sure the SCOBY is sentient by now.

Cannon_Fodder
Jul 17, 2007

"Hey, where did Steve go?"
Design by Kamoc

Mikey Purp posted:

This thread reminded me that I have 1 gallon of kombucha that I brewed almost a year ago that is still sitting in a dark cabinet in my kitchen. Pretty sure the SCOBY is sentient by now.

You made a jar full of alien preserves. Pics?

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Astonishing Wang
Nov 3, 2004


This is a reminder to not put a glass bottle of super hot tea into a sink full of ice water to cool it down. The bottom will crack and it'll start leaking tea into the sink, and you'll burn your dumb hands trying to pick up the hot bottle of tea to save it.

Also, I found some dried hibiscus flowers so I'm going to try making some Jamaica kombucha. I also bought some lavender but I don't know about using that as a flavoring.

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