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Old 06-29-2009, 11:37 AM   #811
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That is good, I was worried! Now I guess I just have to wait, it's killing me already and it's only been 1 day!
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:16 PM   #812
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and as for having it brew in an area that is undisturbed - not in my house. Every day I was checking on it. I would take it off it's shelf and open it up dip a straw in to get sampling to taste. Poke scoby w/the straw and everything is brewing along just fine. Scoby's and brew are not as sensitive as we seem to think. I was all worried when I started that I was going to mess something up but if I didn't just jump in and wing it on things that I didn't know, then I would still be buying $3/bottle kombucha. Everything should be fine and if it isn't, you just start again...
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Old 06-29-2009, 04:28 PM   #813
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Regarding the temperature, unless your brew spot gets below 64 don't worry about it. Optimal brew temp is 73-74. It will take a bit longer, but longer brews are better tasting & healthier. It's best not to heat your brew unless it's just too cold. In the winter, I wrapped my 5 gallon with microfiber cloth and but the 2.8 gallon in the oven with door cracked but it was below 60F in the kitchen.

It hit 106F here and I had to finally turn a/c on (it's just so expensive and I get acclimated and can't turn it off) It was up to 94F in the house and my scobys have been on strike. Although I created a scoby from bottled starter. Last night, I drained off both 5 gallon brewers the bottom brown yeasties and dumped them (like I did last time) and added fresh tea. I moved one 5 gallon brew pot into bedroom (that's dedication) thinned it to 2 scobys and hoping that they will produce and that I haven't killed them. I just reread bacteria start to die at 95F (guess I should move the whole ranch in here - sigh) I guess I never tracked the house temps (some things you just don't want to know) I would never have imagined it got over 93F in the house. Although it was slightly cooler in the other room, it has a more powerful fan that exhausts the heat, but doesn't have a/c.
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Old 06-29-2009, 06:20 PM   #814
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Old 06-29-2009, 07:29 PM   #815
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The past couple weeks we've been between 75 and 88, depending on which day the a/c was broken. But the babies look good, and fizzle a tad when I shake them (just a little for moist tops ).
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Old 07-02-2009, 02:05 PM   #816
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Yesterday I brought a home brew to work cause I have been kind of craving it - I couldn't get the cap off! I was so bummed, but I got off kind of early and I hit up Whole Foods before I did some other errands so I got my fix. I then had another later in the evening and all of a sudden I had all kinds of energy and before I knew it it was 1:45 ! And even then I was not all that ready to go to sleep, but the thought of having to get up between 5:30 & 6 had me tucking myself in...

I brought another bottle to work today, but made sure I could get the cap off before I left the house this morning. I mainly wanted to have it at work for a little refresher in the afternoon - drinking tea and water isn't totally cutting it for me. I started feeling sluggish and I thought I wonder if it will give me a bit of energy (like it did last night) besides it being a tasty drink alternative. It has! I have never had a boost from it before.. Does that happen to any of you?
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Old 07-02-2009, 04:15 PM   #817
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I have never thought about the energy thing , and I take mine to work a lot. Will have to keep track next time.
And I have had that trouble with the lids, too!
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Old 07-02-2009, 04:19 PM   #818
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I have never thought about the energy thing , and I take mine to work a lot. Will have to keep track next time.
And I have had that trouble with the lids, too!

Do your hands hurt from trying to take the lids off?! I have to use my rubber gloves to losen them. I have one in the fridge that I have tried several times and I think I am going to have to finally give up on it.

The sweet tea that I use in brewing is regular black tea - do you suppose the caffeine had anything to do with keeping me up last night?

Last edited by JoSkids; 07-02-2009 at 04:21 PM..
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Old 07-02-2009, 04:55 PM   #819
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That's what I use, and it doesn't seem to bother me like the sodas did.
But the tea isn't as strong for the KT as I make just regular tea to drink, and I usually use decaf instant for drinking.

Side note: got my 5 gal. brewer today, and they sent the wrong tea! They sent the expensive Green Dragon Pearl tea, and not the organic silver leaf green ( about a $10 difference! ). I e-mailed them (HH) to let them know.
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Old 07-02-2009, 08:26 PM   #820
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Do your hands hurt from trying to take the lids off?!

The sweet tea that I use in brewing is regular black tea - do you suppose the caffeine had anything to do with keeping me up last night?
I don't know if it would work, but they have lid removers. I am highly sensitive to caffeine and haven't been affected by caffeine in KT, but maybe with the shorter brews the caffeine isn't all converted??
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Old 07-02-2009, 09:25 PM   #821
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I am normally not affected by caffeine either so I am not sure what it was last night - maybe just adrenaline. I was on a roll getting some pictures uploaded to my daughter's soccer team's website. First batch for her new team and I was excited for the new families to see our team pictures.
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Old 07-03-2009, 01:58 AM   #822
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got my 5 gal. brewer today, and they sent the wrong tea! They sent the expensive Green Dragon Pearl tea, and not the organic silver leaf green ( about a $10 difference! ). I e-mailed them (HH) to let them know.
HH charges way too much for tea. Even $6.95 is for 4 oz - even with the 20% discount that's over $22# for that you should at least be getting white tea - Green tea should cost you more like $5# Watch Amazon, they have sales every so often or can probably get good prices direct from farmer in China off ebay.
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Old 07-03-2009, 10:32 PM   #823
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I've moved the whole "ranch" into the air conditioning. I only just started a/c a few days ago when it hit 106 & only a/c one room and was hoping to avoid doing this. I doubt it would have made much difference the other bedroom was a couple of degrees cooler than this room. I suppose I should have moved the ranch out of the kitchen that was warmer than any place. I had no idea the heat would kill it, I expected the yeast to overwhelm the bacteria, but not KILL it. I was just reading about drying scobys and having them reconstitute with fresh tea. Surely the drying method is greater than 95F. I added fresh tea 5 days ago but just moved the brewers into bedroom yesterday. I moved hotel into a/c week ago, hopefully I can revive ONE scoby from somewhere. I'm giving the brewers more time but it's feeling hopeless. I added tea from the brewer to the science project (it was too hot to brew up a batch) hoping maybe it will reproduce. (It's been in back bedroom the whole time, I believe and not in kitchen.) The other forum, has been less than helpful, but didn't give a lot of hope for my science project to be viable. So that's my story sigh.

So Kam, start page 29, what's the update on your power scoby?

Last edited by cindy_cfids; 07-03-2009 at 10:34 PM.. Reason: still on pg.28 lol
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Old 07-04-2009, 06:27 AM   #824
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I've moved the whole "ranch" into the air conditioning. I only just started a/c a few days ago when it hit 106 & only a/c one room and was hoping to avoid doing this. I doubt it would have made much difference the other bedroom was a couple of degrees cooler than this room. I suppose I should have moved the ranch out of the kitchen that was warmer than any place. I had no idea the heat would kill it, I expected the yeast to overwhelm the bacteria, but not KILL it. I was just reading about drying scobys and having them reconstitute with fresh tea. Surely the drying method is greater than 95F. I added fresh tea 5 days ago but just moved the brewers into bedroom yesterday. I moved hotel into a/c week ago, hopefully I can revive ONE scoby from somewhere. I'm giving the brewers more time but it's feeling hopeless. I added tea from the brewer to the science project (it was too hot to brew up a batch) hoping maybe it will reproduce. (It's been in back bedroom the whole time, I believe and not in kitchen.) The other forum, has been less than helpful, but didn't give a lot of hope for my science project to be viable. So that's my story sigh.

So Kam, start page 29, what's the update on your power scoby?
Aw Man, Cindy! that's terrible. So a really hot kitchen really can overwhelm a scoby. Yeek, i'd better go check my kitchen. I haven't been brewing proper, just let the scoby go dormant in he brewer.

I have been fighting mold in my apartment and 1) hadn't thought about it or wanted to be bothered and 2) afraid that if I open the cloth lid I might contaminate it. Actually thinking about it, my scoby is probably more safe from mold than I am since it's essentially vinegar AND it has a tight clother over it. I'm glad I always made sure to keep the outside side of the cloth out.

Hmm, Maybe I should go ahead and keep brewing. Maybe some magical ingredient in the kombucha might help me with my mold exposure symptoms.

Sorry, off topic. Cyndy, I really do hope your scoby recoveres. I overheated my first scoby with a heating pad once and it survived that, but it was only one day , so . . .

Good Luck! I supposed you could always make a new scoby from a batch of store bought.
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Old 07-04-2009, 08:27 AM   #825
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Testing...

Eeek... Cindy you were right, I had to post to get beyond the twilight zone of post #813. LOL... I missed you all!

Ok, scoby update: it's already produced a big baby and seems to be quite healthy at this point. In fact it's really going gangbusters... the brew is consistently tart. Almost too tart to bottle! Then again, as usual, we probably let it go too long for the 2nd fermentation. We drained our first three bottles yesterday and added some grape concentrate. Totally ran out of sugar and couldn't replenish, so will do that today...

I think we're somewhat still stuck in "batch mentality" and are waiting too long for our bottling. I'm going to take some photos this afternoon and post them on my blog - you'll swoon at the sight of those manly scobys, I tell ya.

ETA: Cindy, so sorry your scobys are on strike! I can't even imagine that kind of heat... well actually I sort of can and I'm mentally cringing at the thought. The only thing I can compare it to was a vacation we took once to Cancun in AUGUST. Talk about hot and humid. Even the locals were fainting and going to the ER, lol. I practically had a panic attack the first night... felt like I couldn't breathe. There was no effing oxygen in the air!

Worst comes to worst, you'll get another scoby, power it up, and have lots of great stories for the future!

Last edited by Kamalam; 07-04-2009 at 08:43 AM..
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Old 07-04-2009, 02:03 PM   #826
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Got my batch in bottles and started the big brewer. Only had one problem- the cloth they sent was too small!! Got a clean kitchen towel that fit just fine, so everything is all set. Hope I did it right. Got the other set of scobies in the hotel. Will wait and see if it all works.
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Old 07-04-2009, 02:09 PM   #827
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Good luck Pepperette! Sounds like you're on the case...

Ok, seriously I need help with accessing this thread... When I try and get to the the "last page" or if I click on the link from my email, it just takes me to post #813 - no further. Kind of maddening, really.

The only way I can see the latest posts is when I post. Help for the uninformed????

Last edited by Kamalam; 07-04-2009 at 02:13 PM..
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Old 07-04-2009, 02:16 PM   #828
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Good luck Pepperette! Sounds like you're on the case...

Ok, seriously I need help with accessing this thread... When I try and get to the the "last page" or if I click on the link from my email, it just takes me to post #813 - no further. Kind of maddening, really.

The only way I can see the latest posts is when I post. Help for the uninformed????
How weird is that?! I have not experienced this problem... although I am irked that we no longer have access to color... Might have to email an adminstrator about your issue...
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Old 07-04-2009, 04:42 PM   #829
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Jo, that was my thought as well....

And then TA DA.... it hit me. Just now in fact, lol. I had this sense that the computer's cache needed to be refreshed... so I hit the reload icon and problem solved!

Too bad the colored font issue was not as easy!

Shout out to anyone interested - click on over to my blog to see the latest scoby pics! They're up and waiting to be lovingly admired.
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Old 07-04-2009, 11:38 PM   #830
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My scoby looks almost identical - related?! Possibly!

Your son, adorable! He must be immune to the smell. My 13 yr old daughter is always telling me how terrible my brewing smells - it's in a closed cupboard for goodness sakes!? She has an accute sense of smell and an even stronger gag reflex - the good thing is she won't get near my kombucha! Brewing or finished - more for me!!!
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Old 07-05-2009, 07:49 AM   #831
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My scoby looks almost identical - related?! Possibly!

Your son, adorable! He must be immune to the smell. My 13 yr old daughter is always telling me how terrible my brewing smells - it's in a closed cupboard for goodness sakes!? She has an accute sense of smell and an even stronger gag reflex - the good thing is she won't get near my kombucha! Brewing or finished - more for me!!!
I wouldn't be surprised at a scoby connection! Hmmmm, possible distant relation in Northern Cali! So far my son hasn't mentioned the smell, but then again, at 3 he's too young to notice, lol. Once he hits the double digits I'll have some 'splaining to do, I'm sure.

Ever think of pointing your daughter toward viticulture? I think Cal Poly has a great program - that awesome nose of hers could take her far in the world of wine! Short of sealing the edges of the cupboard with duct tape, there probably isn't much more you can do... Nice bennie, though: yummy kombucha all to yourself!

Last edited by Kamalam; 07-05-2009 at 07:51 AM..
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Old 07-05-2009, 12:38 PM   #832
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OK - I'm jumping in. I have my sun tea jar, the tea, a bottle of kombucha. I'm going to use organic grape juice as the sugar. I tried to go through the first few pages, but noted that Hummingbird's DH (I think) said use just a few ounces.

Here's my idea:

3 qt. water
1/2 bottle Synergy grape
2 c. Knudsen's grape juice
2 bags of black
2 bags of white tea

Sun tea jar has spigot, will do continuous brew - as I've followed along, this seems to make the most sense (for me). No scoby to start with, so doing it from the ground up.

Comments, suggestions? I'll wait to see if anyone responds and will use the time to go through the past 17 pages of posts.
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Old 07-05-2009, 01:20 PM   #833
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Here is my "cliff note" version: I have only brewed kombucha with sweet tea and I can't remember the conscensus about brewing with juice.

I started without a scoby. I brewed about a gallon of strong tea - using about 6 teabags of lipton. 1 cup sugar dissolved in the warm tea. Let the tea come to room temperature. I used a full bottle of synergy with the sweet tea. Rubberbanded a coffee filter over the top. Patience.

My first brew took over a month to be ready, but now - several brews & a few strong scobys later, it takes about a week to brew a batch kombucha from my gallon jars.

After the brew is ready I transfer to individual bottles (one batch actually went into a sun tea jar) and that is when I add juice concentrate. I use apple juice concentrate - 1T for 16oz bottle. I have also used mango nectar - I didn't like this one much so I stick with the apple juice concentrate. Let this 2nd brew go for about a week or so and then transfer it to the fridge.

There will be other answers and maybe someone will have more to say about brewing with juice.
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Old 07-05-2009, 01:41 PM   #834
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Thanks, JoSkids - I need to check to see if we even HAVE sugar....As this is my first try, maybe I should go simple first.
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Old 07-05-2009, 01:48 PM   #835
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I have a question for you Kombucha master brewers. I do single batch brewing, usually let it brew for about 10-14 days then 2nd ferment for another few days with flavors. My kombucha is VERY tart, almost too tart. If you let it brew for 30 days, will it not be as tart? I like the flavor, it's just extremely potent. How do you get a less pungent brew? Does continuous brewing help with that?
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Old 07-05-2009, 03:22 PM   #836
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I have a question for you Kombucha master brewers. I do single batch brewing, usually let it brew for about 10-14 days then 2nd ferment for another few days with flavors. My kombucha is VERY tart, almost too tart. If you let it brew for 30 days, will it not be as tart? I like the flavor, it's just extremely potent. How do you get a less pungent brew? Does continuous brewing help with that?
There are others more knowledgeable than I, but with our continuous brew, it's never more tart than with batch brewing... since you're pulling out and replenishing and then pulling out the tea everyday or every few days, it never has a chance to get super sour.

Unless you wait longer than a few days! Worse case if that happens, you drain some and then replenish with more sweet tea and in a day you *should* be back to normal.

We've definitely fallen into the "too tart" syndrome... I really think that has more to do with bottling too late. Now we bottle when the tea still tastes relatively sweet...

Last edited by Kamalam; 07-05-2009 at 03:23 PM..
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Old 07-05-2009, 03:29 PM   #837
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I would think it you would brew it for less time to make it less tart.

My scoby are getting pretty strong and I find that mine is a bit tart at this point, I might cut back the brewing time a bit - when I am running low on bottles, my brew time tends to be longer.
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Old 07-05-2009, 03:33 PM   #838
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We've definitely fallen into the "too tart" syndrome... I really think that has more to do with bottling too late. Now we bottle when the tea still tastes relatively sweet...
I was getting really impatient with one of my first brews and I bottled when my brew was a bit sweet - it was great! I worried about the carb content so now, I brew a bit longer and it is definitely more tart - I like it this way as well. I think it tastes more like synergy when it is tart.

Not until it goes in the fridge does the fermenting slow so if you bottle tart you are going to have a fairly tart result. If you bottle sweeter, you will have a more mild result.
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Old 07-05-2009, 07:55 PM   #839
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When I first started brewing it tasted very much like synergy. Now it's VERY potent, but my scoby's are HUGE - probably need to thin them out a bit and with the hotter weather not brew the batches as long. Thanks for the tips boocha buddies!
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Old 07-06-2009, 01:43 AM   #840
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Now it's VERY potent, but my scoby's are HUGE - with the hotter weather not brew the batches as long.
sigh, I covet your scobys sigh

In this weather the brew time is really short & I think that's the problem - they say bottle 3 days less than brew time and with a 5-6 day brew cycle (if temp is 82-85F) that's only a couple of days til bottling. Which sounds so strange. I like it sour, the sourer the better, but I got to have fizz with it. If your temps are 82F or more you need to be doing continuous brewing. (I think we all should) but warmer temps demand it and brew time is only 26 hours then. Don't forget KT continues to ferment in the bottle, but bottling allows fermentation to continue but keeps a sweeter taste. (Beware and knowledgeable of bottling/ exploding bottle risk)
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