Author Topic: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions  (Read 278686 times)

Offline Kelly the Kitchen Kop

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Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
« Reply #30 on: 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

Offline SarahK

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Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
« Reply #31 on: 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
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Offline crystal

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Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
« Reply #32 on: 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

Offline SC

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Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
« Reply #33 on: 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.
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Offline daisey

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Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
« Reply #34 on: 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???   ???   ;)
Be Still my soul, the Lord is on Thy Side

Offline Linguist77

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Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
« Reply #35 on: 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.)
Laura in Arizona

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Offline hi_itsgwen

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Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
« Reply #36 on: 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. :)
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Offline SC

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Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
« Reply #37 on: 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
Quote
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.
Quote
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
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Offline hi_itsgwen

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Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
« Reply #38 on: September 06, 2008, 04:07:57 AM »
Quote
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.)

Quote
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
« Last Edit: September 06, 2008, 05:10:06 AM by hi_itsgwen »
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Offline Whiterock

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Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
« Reply #39 on: September 06, 2008, 05:09:40 AM »
Quote
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
« Last Edit: September 06, 2008, 05:13:30 AM by Whiterock »
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Offline SC

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Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
« Reply #40 on: September 06, 2008, 05:29:33 AM »
Quote
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 . . .
« Last Edit: September 06, 2008, 06:34:35 AM by SC »
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Offline mhoward1999

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Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
« Reply #41 on: 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! :)

Offline SC

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Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
« Reply #42 on: 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.  :)
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Offline SC

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Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
« Reply #43 on: 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
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Offline hi_itsgwen

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Re: Kombucha: Recipes & General Instructions
« Reply #44 on: 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.
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