WellTellMe

Natural Health => Nutrition & Food => Fermented Foods => : Gabe Rising April 01, 2006, 07:39:35 PM

: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: Gabe Rising April 01, 2006, 07:39:35 PM
Anyone looking for an interesting (and fun) homeschool project that makes a great (in my opinion) energizing drink, try making Kombucha.

Here is a link to the "Mother" site for Kombucha info:

http://www.kombu.de/

My wife hates this stuff, but I love it. It has actually been years since I made any since we have lived in a small house for so long, and it helps to have at least a little spare space... but here is my great "pitch" story:

When I was in college living alone and taking more hours that was rational, I would go to class at about 7am and usually had classes till noon at least three days a week. Then I would have an afternoon class or two. Those afternoon classes were killers.

I would go home to eat a quick burrito or something, and by the time I got back for an afternoon class I was ready to sleep! Then a friend turned me on to Kombucha. I thought it tasted great, and started brewing my own. I would drink a bottle with lunch, and it was amazing... by the time I got back to afternoon classes I was wide awake and ready for class. The first couple of times I just thought I had gotten too much sleep the night before, however I figured it out after the third or fourth day. Wow... that stuff was great.

It is a strong diuretic, however, and I had to remember to drink more water, but that was probably a good thing too.

Unfortunately I don't have any spare starters around, so those of you that want to try it will have to buy or borrow one somewhere else... (like here! (http://www.kombu.de/suche2.htm))

Disclaimer: Kombucha is slightly alcoholic (usually .5% to 1%. For comparrison: most alcohol based tinctures are usually about 2%, beer is usually 6%, and quality wine ranges between 12% and 18%) however the main healthful product of the ferment is glucuronic acid (http://www.bluemarble.de/Norbert/kombucha/Glucuron/body_glucuron.htm).

--gabe



Edited 2007 0317

Since this topic was started, it's had such a huge following that many other related topics have been started for specific questions & issues.  Refer to the following links to find answers to your specific questions and needs.

Kombucha SCOBYs & Kefir Grains - Available/Wanted (http://www.welltellme.com/discuss/index.php/topic,5403.0.html)
Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content (http://www.welltellme.com/discuss/index.php/topic,5998.0.html)
Kombucha:  Health Benefits (http://www.welltellme.com/discuss/index.php/topic,5712.0.html)
Kombucha: Side Effects, Risks & Warnings (http://www.welltellme.com/discuss/index.php/topic,3749.0.html)
Kombucha:  Troubleshooting (http://www.welltellme.com/discuss/index.php/topic,2986.0.html)
Kombucha: Containers, Storage, Shipping & Supplies (http://www.welltellme.com/discuss/index.php/topic,6003.0.html)
Kombucha Variations: Teas & Flavors That Do & Don't Work (http://www.welltellme.com/discuss/index.php/topic,5698.0.html)
Kombucha: Water Sources (http://www.welltellme.com/discuss/index.php/topic,7139.0.html)
Kombucha: Chat, Walkthroughs & Non-Technical Information (http://www.welltellme.com/discuss/index.php/topic,6258.0.html)
Kombucha: Alternate Uses for Brew & SCOBY's (http://www.welltellme.com/discuss/index.php/topic,5982.0.html)
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: amazonmama2five October 17, 2006, 11:38:47 AM
Elbereth,
My kombucha came with instructions, I followed them the first time and then switched to the NT recipe and that is what I am using now.

First Time:

1 Liter of water; bring to a boil.
Add 4 TBSP of white sugar; let boil for about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and add two black teabags and let cool completely.
Add 2 TBSP of vinegar, any vinegar will do (I used apple cider).
Last of all, add the SCOBY (Kombucha mushroom).

Put a lid on your glass jar very loosely, your kombucha needs to breathe.  Let stand one week and try it.  It should taste like slightly fermented apple cider w/o the bubbles.  Store in smaller glass bottles closed tightly and in 4-5 days you will notice gas developing, after this you can store it in the refriderator.

NOW, your second batch you will have the liquid to mix with your tea and you are on your way!
Have a GREAT day!
Lisa
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: Simply Kristen January 18, 2007, 03:32:21 PM
What kind do you like best?  

3 qts of water
5 Black Tea bags
1 1/4 Cups of Sugar
6oz of starter (not-strained)
Brew for 14 days.

:-)
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: screasy March 03, 2007, 05:46:11 PM
OK, got my first scoby (Thanks, Sarah!)

We live in the SOUTH, and make our regular sweet tea as follows:

Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil containing
2 Lipton Decaf Family-Size Tea Bags
As soon as it boils remove it from the heat and add a "pinch" (approx. 1/2 tsp. of baking soda.  This makes the color MUCH darker, and takes away any bitter taste.
Add to tea pitcher with 1 1/2 cups sugar and bring water to 1 gallon total.
(This is actually a secret of sorts.  EVERYONE around here raves about our sweet tea...I think it's the baking soda!)

Anyway, would this recipe work for Kombucha?  I don't plan on making the first batch with the baking soda.  I want to get some feedback from the bucha professionals here first!   ;)

My main concerns are about using decaf, and also just regular old Lipton for the tea.  Also, has anyone mixed regular tea and herbal?  What are your favorite combinations?  Thanks in advance!
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: Mama Sita April 26, 2007, 05:13:51 AM
Hi savedbygrace,
Relax!! Kombucha is very easy and forgiving to work with! We never bottle ours--just strain it and drink it after it's done brewing. As for leftovers, I just put them into another glass jar and throw a cap on it and put it in the fridge. Seems to keep its fizziness that way, too.

Some people even brew theirs in glass bowls--whatever works for you. Personally, I don't like to do this since my glass bowls are scarce, and also, you end up growing a HUGE scoby on the top of your kombucha. I guess you could use it as a frisbee when it gets old :D ;D

Here's our simple recipe for kombucha:
In a stainless steel kettle, boil 3 qts filtered water for 5 min. Add 1 c. sugar into hot water, stirring with a NON-metal spoon. Bring back to boil. Remove from heat and put in 4 Lipton black tea bags. Cover and set on a back burner to cool way down. Should be almost room temp before you add your scoby and a little starter kombucha. Also, remove your teabags at this point.

Put into your glass jar, cover with a cheesecloth or coffee filter secured with a rubber band, put in a dark place (I cover mine with a paper bag "blanket" around the jar so no light can get in), and wait about a week to check your kombucha. In cooler temps, it will take a little longer to brew.

How's that? Clear as mud? It's really not that hard once you get the hang of it. Let us know of any questions!
Happy Brewing,
MS
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: Mrs. Visionary June 16, 2007, 06:24:23 PM
Gabriel,
I was intrigued by your commentary on kombucha. If I could get rid of the afternoon slump phenomena I would be thrilled. But what I was wondering was were you already consuming caffeine when you were introduced to kombucha. Or could it be the caffeine in the tea used to make the kombucha was giving you the pick up for your afternoon classes.
Just wondering.
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: SarahK July 25, 2007, 01:22:14 AM
I have had a few questions in the "What Does It Look Like" catagory.  I am going to try to post some pictures to let folks see what I see when I harvest Kombucha.

Here is my jar of Kombucha after 16 days of brewing time.  The mother (original scoby I dropped in) is near the surface and hanging down a bit.  The baby (newly formed scoby) is a thick film covering the surface of the liquid.  The liquid is clear with floating fibers in it.

: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: SarahK July 25, 2007, 01:30:51 AM
I take the SCOBYs out first.  The picture is them globbed together just like the were in the jar in my previous post. 
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: SarahK July 25, 2007, 01:49:48 AM
The next picture is after I have torn them apart.  The Mother (older) one is on the left.  It's Darker and has a hole torn in it where it stuck to the new SCOBY.  Theres a wad of SCOBY hanging from it that probably was left over from the previous harvest.  The new one is on the left.  It is more complete except at the dark spot you see.  That's where the new scoby had an air bubble forming under it and got raised up above the surface of the liquid.  It dried out there and is very thin and tough.  My SCOBYs are pink because I brew in herbal tea that is also red to purple in color.
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: SarahK July 25, 2007, 01:52:29 AM
Here's an older SCOBY I grew specifically for brewing.  Sometimes I start a jar of black tea and let the SCOBY grow for 30+ days and get HUGE.  Then I harvest the very thick, new SCOBY and wack it apart into chunks.  These chunks seem to brew a bit faster and the new SCOBYs from Kombucha brewed with these chunks are thicker and easier to harvest (not as likely to tear).  When I ship out a SCOBY, it is usually from a batch brewed with one of these chunks.
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: Mama Sita July 25, 2007, 02:54:19 AM
I never thought of 'whacking' my scobys apart, but that's a good idea. SarahK, how many chunks do you whack your scobys into? I mean, does 1/8 of a scoby still brew a good batch of tea? 1/4? 1/2? Just curious to see what you use.

Nice scobys. Looks like a couple of organs sitting there on the plate....bladders, maybe ;D

: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: berthday July 25, 2007, 07:37:11 AM
Sarah, Thanks so much for posting the photos! Mine look normal!! YEAH!!  This is my first time making 'bucha and it turned out really good and had a nice SCOBY.
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: SarahK July 25, 2007, 08:41:42 AM
I never thought of 'whacking' my scobys apart, but that's a good idea. SarahK, how many chunks do you whack your scobys into? I mean, does 1/8 of a scoby still brew a good batch of tea? 1/4? 1/2? Just curious to see what you use.


The one that looks like is was half a square cut corner to corner is probably about a half inch thick.  I also had one going that I was gonna harvest in the first week of June that didn't get harvested until the second week of July.  It was about 2 inches thick.  That one I cut into about 6 pieces.  I kinda shoot for a size that would about twice what I normally get in a new scoby in volume.  Like if I smashed up a new scoby into a wad, doubled that amount and then wacked my Super SCOBY (tm) into chunks about that size.

I'm not really all that detailed on this, can 'ya tell?  If I don't make enough sense - go ahead and try me again.

Sarah K
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: WithLoveAndJoy July 26, 2007, 03:28:19 PM

Nice scobys. Looks like a couple of organs sitting there on the plate....bladders, maybe ;D



I thought so too, almost grossed me out ;-)  But I just started my first recipe....I hope I like it.. I am just afraid it will be vinegary...
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: miff aka Missi August 27, 2007, 04:49:10 PM
OK, got my first scoby (Thanks, Sarah!)...

...
My main concerns are about using decaf, and also just regular old Lipton for the tea.  Also, has anyone mixed regular tea and herbal?  What are your favorite combinations?  Thanks in advance!
Screasy,
I got my SCOBY from SarahK also.  It was really great.

Anyway, how has your kombucha been turning out?  I use decaf and I like mine.

Missi
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: txseawater August 27, 2007, 07:50:27 PM
O.K. y'all-

We were trying out Kombucha for the first time three months ago and we are still "getting used to it"! My  husband has had chronic stomach burn for 25+ yrs? and does get some relief from 4 oz per day.( If I pour it up and take it to him!) Another friend with acid reflux says she also gets relief.

I use half green tea and half black in organic sugar. I use the least amount of sugar- 1 1/4 cup. It sits 12-15 days on my counter top.

We "enjoy" it cold....and well filtered!  :P   
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: ktalbott October 16, 2007, 05:10:00 AM
I'm not sure where to post this... but after brewing kombucha for 6 months , and enjoying learning more about it, I found this site: http://kombuchakamp.blogspot.com/  It's pretty informative. (She does have some interesting earthy beliefs).  She also has online "how to" videos. 

Also, for those who are interested, there's a Yahoo group that has a wealth of information:  http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/original_kombucha/

~ Katie
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: girly January 26, 2008, 04:32:47 AM
There is a great blog with step-by-step instructions on making/brewing kombucha and great photos to boot if anyone would like to check it out.  I suspect many WTM women would enjoy this blog... check it out when you can.

http://myblessedhome.blogspot.com/
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: YoopreMama February 27, 2008, 03:07:57 PM
Does anyone bake w/ kombucha as a liquid substitute?  I just made some GF muffins, using raspberry/wild berry 'bucha instead of milk (1 cup).  THEY ARE FABULOUS!  I think I'll try it in my blender pancakes next...
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: healyhome March 02, 2008, 05:02:51 PM
I was wondering if it is better to start your FIRST :) kombucha with store bought kombucha & let it sit out or to get a SCOBY/mother?  If it's better to start with the SCOBY- I would definitely be interested in getting one from someone. I had read on the forum that you could make the SCOBY by just letting a batch of store bought kombucha sit out for a couple weeks. Is this correct?  Thanks!!!
 
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: wyomama3 March 02, 2008, 07:12:07 PM
I was wondering if it is better to start your FIRST :) kombucha with store bought kombucha & let it sit out or to get a SCOBY/mother?  If it's better to start with the SCOBY- I would definitely be interested in getting one from someone. I had read on the forum that you could make the SCOBY by just letting a batch of store bought kombucha sit out for a couple weeks. Is this correct?  Thanks!!!
 
I am sure that this will be moved to the proper thread.
I made my first batch with store bought bucha, and it turned out okay.  Just pick a bottle with a scoby in it, and original flavor.  Dump the whole bottle in with your tea and sugar.  As you make more batches of bucha, your scoby will get thicker.
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: Kelly the Kitchen Kop March 28, 2008, 09:50:14 AM
This past week I spoke to "THE" Kombucha lady in the U.S. (http://www.laurelfarms.com/) and found out I've been making Kombucha ALL WRONG - there are certain ways you MUST make it in order to have the complete benefits from drinking it.  She's sending me a new mushroom with detailed instructions soon, and within a couple weeks I hope to have more info posted at www.kellythekitchenkop.com.
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: burlsgirl April 06, 2008, 02:15:00 AM
Can someone help me, please? I've got my Scoby & I'm ready to make my bucha. I have a question, first, though. The Scoby I got is pretty big (I think, I've never seen one)! I'm wondering how much scoby it takes to make a quart of bucha, and basically, can I cut this one into pieces & make separate quart batches as I don't have any wide mouth container. Clear as mud?

TIA,
Em B.
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: YoopreMama April 06, 2008, 02:55:11 AM
Can someone help me, please? I've got my Scoby & I'm ready to make my bucha. I have a question, first, though. The Scoby I got is pretty big (I think, I've never seen one)! I'm wondering how much scoby it takes to make a quart of bucha, and basically, can I cut this one into pieces & make separate quart batches as I don't have any wide mouth container. Clear as mud? TIA, Em B.
I've done that, Em, and believe I got the idea from others here on WTM.  It worked just fine.  Congrats on your "baby"!  :D
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: burlsgirl April 06, 2008, 02:56:11 AM
Can someone help me, please? I've got my Scoby & I'm ready to make my bucha. I have a question, first, though. The Scoby I got is pretty big (I think, I've never seen one)! I'm wondering how much scoby it takes to make a quart of bucha, and basically, can I cut this one into pieces & make separate quart batches as I don't have any wide mouth container. Clear as mud? TIA, Em B.
I've done that, Em, and believe I got the idea from others here on WTM.  It worked just fine.  Congrats on your "baby"!  :D

Hey Yooper! So good to "see" you! Thanks! I think I'll try it.

 :-*
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: Maria/NHM April 17, 2008, 03:12:00 AM
If you're using loose black tea how much should you use instead of a tea bag? I was trying to save money by buying it loose but I can't seem to find the correct amount and my bucha is not turning out very good :-\
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: jenibee April 17, 2008, 03:34:03 AM
I use 5-6 tea bags per gallon of KT - that's equivalent to 15 grams of loose tea per gallon.
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: Maria/NHM April 17, 2008, 03:41:45 AM
I use 5-6 tea bags per gallon of KT - that's equivalent to 15 grams of loose tea per gallon.

Thanks. I looked it up and 15 grams would be just over 3 teaspoons. I've been using way too much!
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: healthybratt April 17, 2008, 03:57:27 AM
I use 5-6 tea bags per gallon of KT - that's equivalent to 15 grams of loose tea per gallon.

Thanks. I looked it up and 15 grams would be just over 3 teaspoons. I've been using way too much!
That would be a heaping Tablespoon if that simplifies things for you.
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: lotsaboys April 17, 2008, 06:12:04 AM
I use 5-6 tea bags per gallon of KT - that's equivalent to 15 grams of loose tea per gallon.

Thanks. I looked it up and 15 grams would be just over 3 teaspoons. I've been using way too much!
That would be a heaping Tablespoon if that simplifies things for you.

Just for the record, that's about (I eyeball it) what I use of loose tea and ours turns out good.
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: Kelly the Kitchen Kop April 25, 2008, 07:52:09 AM
I finally got my Kombucha posts done after talking at length with the expert, and the one who first introduced it to the U.S. in the early 90's.  (Betsy Pryor)  There are many "bad" recipes out there that could cause toxicity in the Kombucha tea.
http://www.kellythekitchenkop.com/2008/04/kombucha-tea-part-2-15-tips-for-making.html
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: SarahK July 03, 2008, 05:37:57 PM
It's getting dark here and my brain is fading.  However, I did find this interesting site that gives a simple explanation of Continuous Kombucha brewing.  Have a look:

Happy Herbalist Bucha Library (http://www.happyherbalist.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=60)
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: crystal July 03, 2008, 06:01:11 PM
We have a friend who did the continuous brew thing.  That scoby was HUGE!!!!!!! :o :o :o  He just dumped the batch, though, and I gave him new babies to start a new one.  He gave me some of the old brew a couple of weeks ago and....MAN!  That stuff was LETHAL to the Nth degree!!!!!!  There was no way that man nor beast could have enjoyed that.  It was absolutely explosive!  And sour.  Bleck! :P
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: SC September 05, 2008, 03:02:04 PM
Well, I received my new SCOBY from Laurel Farms.
She is quite pretty and heart shaped (aaaaaw  :)).

I spent an afternoon on the telephone last week with Betsy, quizzing her about various short cuts. I've gone over all of the material she sent me, plus the section on safety and how to make Kombucha tea in her book (Kombucha Phenomenon The Miracle Health Tea, Second Edition, Pryor & Holst ISBN 1-887263-11-X).

I learned more about Betsy, her background and how she developed the procedures that she teaches.

The bottom line is at every turn when I wanted to think that a method was just too much trouble, I discovered that there was a valid reason for it. The lady just ain't whistling Dixie. I did some internet searches to investigate some of her claims, even reading some FDA reports.

All of that, plus the fact that she is disgustingly vibrant, sharp as a tack, terribly friendly and likable . . .
She even encourages you to give your extra SCOBYs away (after caring for them properly). She isn't interested in cornering the market and speaks highly of others who follow safe practices.

Let's just say I found more reasons to stay within her guidelines than to stray.
We just can't afford to end up with a yeast patty making vinegar at my house.
We really NEED the benefits of Kombucha. Besides, if I'm feeding a culture, I want to make sure it's worth the trouble and time I take to feed the thing.

I now have an information document that is several pages long, broken into several short sections. It covers the following information, but I am still proofing it.

INTRODUCTION
What to Wash
Harvesting Area
The Bonnets
Brewing & Storage Containers – WHAT NOT TO USE
Brewing & Storage Containers – WHAT TO USE
Metal Around the SCOBY
Acryllic Nails

METHODS
How to Brew Feeder Tea
SCOBY Care While Feeder Tea Cools
Starter Tea
Where to Grow/Store/Brew
Temperatures for Culturing
How Long Until Harvest
Sweetening the Kombucha
When to Retire a Mother
Sunlight

PRECAUTIONS
Water (why distilled?)
Ozone Air Purifiers
Freezing SCOBYs
FDA

QUESTIONS
How can I tell if SCOBY is healthy?
But I don’t want caffeine and sugar!
Can I taste the tea while it’s culturing?
Holes, Bumps and Boogers
Which side is the top?
It’s been more than 2 hours and my feeder tea isn’t cool enough!
Quick Cool Tips
How much tea will this make?
What should I do with extra SCOBYs?
Mother Storage During Vacation
Shipping
Expiration on the Tea
Can I drink Kombucha hot?
Heating Trays, Mats, and Pads
Mamas & Babies – Which is Which?
Stacking SCOBYs
Storage in Plastic
Using Honey Instead of Processed Beet or Cane Sugar
Why no herbal teas?
Why Black Tea?
Why Lipton?
Kombucha Retailers
ProNatura
G.T. Synergy
Culture for 30 Days?
Why are they able to bottle?
Why does mine taste different?
Culturing from G.T.

TROUBLESHOOTING
Phases of the Moon, Seasons of the Year
When SCOBY Doesn’t Float
Thin Babies
Mold
Contaminated SCOBYs

WATER DISTILLER
We've started distilling our own water with a stovetop model (non-electric). We invested in this model because it doesn't require electricity. It's the WaterWise Model 1600. We couldn't afford the retail on the unit, so I called the manufacturer. I discovered that sometimes they have units that get dented or scratched in the shipping process which they cannot place with their retailers. I had my name placed on a waiting list and was able to purchase my model at MUCH less than retail with the warranty. However, this is only for those who are going to be around to monitor the unit while it is working. You don't want to leave it working while it is unmonitored.
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: daisey September 05, 2008, 03:46:34 PM
Wow!   SC--that sounds like a very worthwhile document.    Are you going to post it for the rest of us?    I've read a lot of information but some of the things you have listed I would never have dreamed of thinking about---example, acrylic nails????   Do we welltellme folks do acrylic nails???   ???   ;)
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: Linguist77 September 05, 2008, 04:33:32 PM
I'm hoping this document will be affordably available to all of us! Going to put it in the WTM store?

My SCOBY is not behaving or looking like it should, and I'm afraid of it now. I think I may eventually have to get an official safe one! (If mine went bad, I'm sure it's my fault! I neglected it for too long.)
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: hi_itsgwen September 05, 2008, 06:33:46 PM
Can't wait to read that one SC!  I stopped by a local brew shop the other day with my Mom to pick up some yeast (her hubby brews beer and makes wine).  She asked the guy some questions about Komucha, and he seemed really interested in it.  He's heard of it, but has not tried it.  He was telling me way a lot about what type of brewing process Kombucha is (he has some similar type mothers, but is working with other mediums besides tea), and what type of containers work.  He also mentioned that the mother will eventually go funky as the yeasts start to mutate, but you can tell by the taste of the brew. 

He said that corks will pop before the glass explodes, so that is a good and safe option for closing bottles.  He also told me that the chains or strings that I see forming are protiens.  Oh...and he said if you like it really fizzy, add 1 1/2 t. of sugar per liter to your final brew before you bottle it.  The extra sugar feeds the yeast and makes the tea extra fizzy.

He makes all kinds of brews including root beer with yeast.  I'm going to take a scoby and a bottle of bucha to him the next time I'm over that way.  PM me if you have any burning questions, and I'll pick his brain about it. :)
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: SC September 06, 2008, 02:46:02 AM
He said that corks will pop before the glass explodes, so that is a good and safe option for closing bottles.
true
He also told me that the chains or strings that I see forming are protiens.
No, in Kombucha tea, this is called shred and is the beginning of another SCOBY -- not protein. Kombucha tea continues to ferment even after the tea is harvested.
This won't hurt you and is fine to consume.
Oh...and he said if you like it really fizzy, add 1 1/2 t. of sugar per liter to your final brew before you bottle it.  The extra sugar feeds the yeast and makes the tea extra fizzy.
NOT with Kombucha. If you add sugar after harvest, you change the properties of the Kombucha tea. Fizziness changes from one harvest to the next. It is affected by weather, the phases of the moon, the length of time it is cultured, etc.

It appears that he is using standard brewing practices as though he is working with any other culture. . . Kombucha isn't like other cultures. That's where the confusion comes in with so many other methods.

As an aside, from what I can tell, I think that the most healthful fermented foods come from cultures that produce spores -- NOT from those that attract spores from the air. Kombucha and Kefir fall into these categories. You will notice that the cautions surrounding them are to protect them from contamination by not leaving them open and exposed to the air. Kefir is kept in a lidded container. Kombucha must breathe, but it needs to be protected from contamination so that its yeast won't become contaminated with the 'bad guys.'

And THAT's a key difference IMO. When we are talking about yeast for baking, or making beer, or for for vinegars, etc. we are talking about the art of capturing and feeding whatever yeast is floating around and culturing it for our own use.

Kombucha and Kefir are symbiotic cultures that feed upon certain foods and produce beneficial foods in the process. We already have the culture in Kombucha and Kefir. That's why we take steps to keep them from being introduced to the yeasts that would be otherwise captured and cultivated (for other purposes).

So, when dealing with something OTHER THAN Kombucha tea, adding sweetening to the final product would be the logical thing to do as you're only feeding a cultured yeast product. When dealing with Kombucha tea, remember that you are handling a product with specific balanced properties. Those properties are altered and changed by the addition of sugar because it continues to ferment. Adding sugar to Kombucha tea means that it will stop being what you wanted it to be when you took the trouble to make the stuff in the first place.

The better option is to add distilled water to your SERVING of Kombucha (or other flavoring) AT THE TIME YOU DRINK IT (not before). Also, for the purpose of sweetness, shorten your time until harvest and/or adjust the time of month when you harvest. The moon phases and seasons affect the taste from one harvest to the next.

As for experimenting with other mediums for fermentation, he likely killed his Kombucha SCOBY long ago and is just cultivating a yeast patty at this point making some interesting tasting drinks/vinegars with little more nutrient value than soda pop.

That's why I took the time to go through all of the documentation I had. . .
I was finding myself dealing with people who wanted to artistically express themselves and their freedom in how they culture their Kombucha SCOBYs. They wanted to know why these methods were (to them) so rigid.

And honestly, if you just want to experiment and haven't any real health issues, that's your business. It's just that FOR ME, I wasn't about to take the time to make the stuff only to find out that I wasn't getting the real benefit because I'd murdered/altered/contaminated my SCOBY . . . AND I'm just stubborn enough to want to know WHY I NEED to do all of this stuff when I've got family members that think the five-second rule for a dropped treat is valid.  ::) ;D
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: hi_itsgwen September 06, 2008, 04:07:57 AM
As for experimenting with other mediums for fermentation, he likely killed his Kombucha SCOBY long ago and is just cultivating a yeast patty at this point making some interesting tasting drinks/vinegars with little more nutrient value than soda pop.

My brewer friend has never tried Kombucha...either tasted it nor made it.  He is brewing in a similar method with a mother that floats on top of the liquid to ferment it.  I didn't ask what he was making with it though.  Aparently, this is just an alternate way to ferment beverages.  I was pointing out that this practice is used outside of Kombucha brewing.  (I just had never heard of it before, and thought it was interesting.)

That's why I took the time to go through all of the documentation I had. . .
I was finding myself dealing with people who wanted to artistically express themselves and their freedom in how they culture their Kombucha SCOBYs. They wanted to know why these methods were (to them) so rigid.

Sorry you have to 'deal' with us :)  but I have no health problems, and I like to experiment with recipes.  I'm 'one of those'.  I'm mainly fermenting the Kombucha (or 'kinda-bucha' sparkling beverage) to replace soda pop.  To say that this has equal nutritional value is not true...soda pop has a whole host of icky stuff (high fructose corn syrup, caramel color...) that my brew doesn't.  Since my bucha mother was sent to me in a plastic bag, and I didn't know it's history, I didn't think there was much hope in sticking to the rules at this point anyway.  I just wanted to see if it was something that we even liked...which we do!

I've read a bunch of stuff on the 'right' way to make Kombucha. The 'rules' that I've seen posted on a few sites, including the one you mentioned, seem to me to be based more on voo-doo* instead of science.  Which is why I am looking forward to reading your article.  I am hoping that it will answer the 'why' questions that I've been wondering about.  I would also like to know specifically what the health benefits are for properly made Kombucha.  Maybe you'll convert me into a bucha-nazi** :) he he!

~Gwen

P.S. Have you seen unrefined cane juice sugar?  I found a brand named Zulka in the hispanic section of my grocery store.  It still has the minerals intact.  Do you think that the presence of minerals would negatively interfere with the kombucha culture? 

*voo-doo: my hubby's term for guesstimates that are based on conjecture.  He uses this term for weather models :)...I do not mean pagan worship of demons.
**bucha-nazi: a person who follows all the rules when brewing Kombucha.  Based on an episode of Scienfeld, and typed in jest  ;D
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: Whiterock September 06, 2008, 05:09:40 AM
Maybe you'll convert me into a bucha-nazi  he he!

ROTFLOL!
Bucha-nazi! I like that. Maybe I'll convert to a bucha-nazi too --seeing how I managed to ruin my last SCOBY.  ;D
WR
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: SC September 06, 2008, 05:29:33 AM
Maybe you'll convert me into a bucha-nazi  he he!

ROTFLOL!
Bucha-nazi! I like that. Maybe I'll convert to a bucha-nazi too --seeing how I managed to ruin my last SCOBY.  ;D
WR

:D :D :D Too funny!
If you like to 'play' with recipes (at my house known as cooking 'suggestions'  ;)), you'll likely enjoy the document as it some suggestions on alternative applications for the Kombucha tea and for extra SCOBYs. . . .

Here is the document below, it is read-only so hit that button when the window for a password pops up . . .
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: mhoward1999 September 06, 2008, 06:12:29 AM
:D :D :D Too funny!
If you like to 'play' with recipes (at my house known as cooking 'suggestions'  ;)), you'll likely enjoy the document as it some suggestions on alternative applications for the Kombucha tea and for extra SCOBYs. . . .

Here is the document below, it is read-only so hit that button when the window for a password pops up . . .

Thanks so much! My scobys all molded and I had to throw them out. I am going to start over very soon. I also have a friend who has been asking me to help them learn to make 'bucha. This will be SO handy! :)
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: SC September 06, 2008, 06:37:53 AM
I also have a friend who has been asking me to help them learn to make 'bucha. This will be SO handy! :)
You're welcome. If you hold your control button down and click on the item in the contents, it will take you to that section in the document.  :)
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: SC September 08, 2008, 10:26:53 AM
Someone recently asked me about a seeming inconsistency on the document I attached to this thread. They wanted to why SCOBYs are shipped in plastic freezer bags when the instructions plainly say Kombucha should not be brewed/stored in plastic (including suntea jars).

The explanation is that this is the same principle as the bottling methods of G.T. Synergy. The SCOBY is placed in the zippered plastic freezer bag along with starter tea and the air is burped out of the bag before sealing, creating a vacuum. This means that the SCOBY can't breathe and doesn't reproduce. That's why you don't find a baby floating in the bag. However, when you begin to feed and offer an oxygenated environment to the SCOBY, it will eat and reproduce, detoxifying it's environment -- including its container. Also, the bag is for short-term shipping, not long-term storage. Over time, the SCOBY would weaken and die in that environment from lack of oxygen and feeder tea.

This really hit home with me today as I was out running errands and picked up a bottle of G.T.'s Multi-Green Kombucha with blue-green algae, spirulina, and chlorella. In its vacuum sealed state (no oxygen) it looked like about the same shade of green as WTM's "W" in it's heading at the top of this page. However, as soon as oxygen hit the stuff (after it had stopped fizzing), the brew turned a deep brown color -- almost black. So, the presence of oxygen really does make a difference.

Tasted good, btw.  ;D
: Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
: hi_itsgwen February 21, 2009, 11:32:16 AM
Here is my silly Kombucha tip: The Mother (scoby/booger/placenta/jellyfish) thingies in the bottles really creep me out.  We bottle in glass bottles with relatively small necks.  I used to try to pour the booger out first, but that didn't always work, and I always wasted some Kombucha in the process. 

But then I discovered that my old Tupperware Orange peeler (a thin yellow plastic stick with a teardrop shaped head that slices through the orange skin) is the perfect tool for removing those slimy little buggers.  Just stick it in, and it hooks the jellyfish right away.  I just pull them out and throw them away.  Now I can drink my Kombucha without fear of kissing (or swallowing :P) a jellyfish!  ;D

Sometimes the silliest little things are kind of revolutionary...that, or I'm just easily amused.