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Old 03-25-2010, 10:41 AM   #1381
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Hi everyone . .

With brewing 4 gallons at a time now, I'm hoping to be able to have it on hand every day. I love the stuff. My body loves the stuff.

If anyone has more info on the ph, I'd love you to share it.

Thanks, Judy
Judy, I am new to brewing so I am interested in your experiment. Please keep posting about it.

Are you staggering your gallons? I want to brew enough for everyday too eventually. I was wondering if I should stagger them.
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:41 AM   #1382
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Hi everyone . . . I can't believe I haven't checked in here since early February.

Since then, I've made 4 gallons. (Finally broke down and purchased 2 new 1 gallon containers at Target. Just bottled 2 of the gallons this morning.

I'm a bit of an experimenter. My brews start with 4 organic green tea bags and 2 Yerba Matte. I use 1 cup of organic sugar for each gallon. One of the gallons I bottled this morning I had added to that basic brew 2 teabags of Pao d'Arco and the other one I had added one teabag of Kava Kava. Brew started 3/5. I also added about 2 tsps of fresh squeezed ginger juice as well as a small chunk of fresh ginger to each bottle. I love the GT Gingerade and from their label they add ginger juice at the time it is bottled. (I probably would have added more, but squeezing ginger with just a garlic press is a pain! I'm going to try and find an inexpensive juicer before I bottle the last 2 gallons.)

I grew my scobies from bottles of the regular GT. The last batch was the first time I had separated the scobies. Some were thin, but have really grown nicely with this batch. They are getting much thicker than when I first started.

I also purchased some ph test strips used for brewing wine. The strips can measure different degrees of ph from 2.8 to 4. I still need to locate the info on the best ph to bottle. Before I got the strips it was by taste only. However, even when the brew seems to match the flavor of the GT, it seemed like it became more acidic after I bottled it. The brews I bottled this morning, the one with the added Pao d'Arco had a ph of 3.4 and the one with the Kava Kava was 3.2. I was a bit surprised, as the other 2 gallons are around 3.2 also. The only difference other than tea/herb blend with the Pao brew was I used Demerara sugar in that one.

I do seem to get more fizz after I cap it and leave it to continue fermenting unrefrigerated for 3-5 days . . . but it still seems to lose some of it after I refrigerate it. I'm hoping to figure out the best times (by the ph) to bottle and then refrigerate. I'm not too worried about the fizz though, as I do purchase the GT regularly between the times my brews aren't ready, and some bottles seem to have more than others.

With brewing 4 gallons at a time now, I'm hoping to be able to have it on hand every day. I love the stuff. My body loves the stuff.

If anyone has more info on the ph, I'd love you to share it.

Thanks, Judy
Wow Judy thanks so much for all that wonderful information!! I believe I will try the things you've done!

Right now I'm a water kefir fanatic! I'm drinking it every day and just LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!!!! It's tart, it's fizzy and it's good for me! WOOOHOOO!!!!

I have a kombucha in a quart mason jar in the cabinet that's been basically 'in stasis' for awhile. But after reading your post, I'm going to drag it out and start experimenting again. I love tea and I love all those teas you mentioned, many of them if not most are SO good for us too! Never have gotten any fizz with the booch tho, no idea why. Wish I could, I love dah fizz!!
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:48 AM   #1383
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Wow Judy thanks so much for all that wonderful information!! I believe I will try the things you've done!

Right now I'm a water kefir fanatic! I'm drinking it every day and just LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!!!! It's tart, it's fizzy and it's good for me! WOOOHOOO!!!!

I have a kombucha in a quart mason jar in the cabinet that's been basically 'in stasis' for awhile. But after reading your post, I'm going to drag it out and start experimenting again. I love tea and I love all those teas you mentioned, many of them if not most are SO good for us too! Never have gotten any fizz with the booch tho, no idea why. Wish I could, I love dah fizz!!
Hi Selahgal!

I also brew water kefir . . . I'm overloaded with crystals . . . Anybody need some?

How do you brew your tibicos (water kefir)? I just had to rinse and re-start some of mine . . . I was out of town and it turned to sour for me.

Do you use organic lemons in yours?

Judy

PS. About the fizz . . . somewhere . . . out there in web land . . . I read that the carbonation forms after you bottle and cap it.
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:12 AM   #1384
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Hi Selahgal!

I also brew water kefir . . . I'm overloaded with crystals . . . Anybody need some?

How do you brew your tibicos (water kefir)? I just had to rinse and re-start some of mine . . . I was out of town and it turned to sour for me.

Do you use organic lemons in yours?

Judy

PS. About the fizz . . . somewhere . . . out there in web land . . . I read that the carbonation forms after you bottle and cap it.
Hi Judy!

I just put warm water in a large jar, add sugar [I actually like white sugar best for the water kefir], stir till dissolved, add one slice lemon [not organic], one slide fresh ginger and the pouch with my water kefir crystals. I keep them in a pouch because they're easier to remove that way.

I lid it up and two to three days in the cabinet or counter, I have fizzy tart and tangy water kefir! I got a BIG plastic jug and I just keep adding to it. Usually I drink enough so I don't get too much in the jug. I think it's fermenting more in there cause I get a light 'buzz' when I drink it. Very nice! Heh.

I never rinse the crystals. Did you know you can eat them? One way to keep them 'in check' if you have no one who wants them! [They don't know what they are missing!!!]

I have bottled up the booha and capped it too. Left some in the cabinet and put some in the frig. Both lost what little fizz they had. The water kefir fizz is powerful by comparison!

Last edited by Selahgal; 03-25-2010 at 11:14 AM..
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Old 03-25-2010, 02:16 PM   #1385
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I was instructed to use reg apple cider vinegar without the mother. I am glad I did now that you wrote about contaminating the brew. I like my organic vinegar w/ the mother and I was thinking about using it. But I bought regular apple cider and used that. I did use organic sugar and organic tea. I cannot wait until I can brew it without vinegar - I don't think I am going to like the taste with vinegar in it.

So - QUESTION: Is the SCOBY supposed to be brown with tenticles? That is what is forming. This is day two. I have both gallon jars in the oven with the light on.
That sounds good. Yes the brown tenticles are yeast. Until it gets thicker it may be darkish because of the yeast but the scoby should turn a tan to cream color as it develops.

You probably wouldn't notice the difference in taste once it finished brewing, since kombucha makes it's own vinegar. All vinegar is is acetic acid and that's one of kombuchas naturally occurring by products.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmillerfl View Post
Hi Selahgal!

I also brew water kefir . . . I'm overloaded with crystals . . . Anybody need some?

How do you brew your tibicos (water kefir)? I just had to rinse and re-start some of mine . . . I was out of town and it turned to sour for me.

Do you use organic lemons in yours?

Judy

PS. About the fizz . . . somewhere . . . out there in web land . . . I read that the carbonation forms after you bottle and cap it.
Okay, I'm gonna have to look up about water kefir. I thought it was made in milk! I might be interested in some crystals. I'm gonna look it up!
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Old 03-25-2010, 02:48 PM   #1386
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Okay, I'm gonna have to look up about water kefir. I thought it was made in milk! I might be interested in some crystals. I'm gonna look it up!
Two different variants. The milk kefir is a bit less labor intensive, but more expensive. I'd like to try the water kefir too, but we're already busy enough.
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Old 03-25-2010, 03:19 PM   #1387
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Okay, I'm gonna have to look up about water kefir. I thought it was made in milk! I might be interested in some crystals. I'm gonna look it up!
Yes, I began with milk kefir grains and went from there to making kombucha and then to water crystals. So far I like the water kefir best, then kombucha, then milk kefir.
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:19 AM   #1388
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Now See what you've done!! I went and looked up Kefir and now I wanna make everything.

I'm on a restricted diet now, so I I probably shouldn't get any crystals now, but Wow, I wanna try some of the brining with kefirwhey,and Kefir-kraut. I visited Dom's kefir pages. I've browsed there before but it didn't mean anything to be before I started dabbling in Kombucha.

I do want some crystals though, Maybe I could get my bF to drink it for me until I'm allowed dairy again. Bother!! I wish there were more people around me that liked weird stuff like yogurt, kombucha, kefir and nukazuke pickles and kimchi *sigh*

Hey, maybe if I got some crystals, I could make the drink and trick BF into trying it and use some of the crystals to pickle the vegetables I'm allowed to eat for now. I love cabbage and saurkraut, and then I'd have practice taking care of the crystals. I dunno, I'm so excited.

I just built a new worm bed yesterday( they are gonna eat my veggie scraps instead of being fish bait) , and I am going to build a rice bran pickle medium as soon as I get some stale bread from someone(I love japanese rice pickles but I never could keep up with it right).

I wanna start so many fermentation projects. It must be Spring Fever. What do you think I should do?
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:28 AM   #1389
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Now See what you've done!! I went and looked up Kefir and now I wanna make everything.

I'm on a restricted diet now, so I I probably shouldn't get any crystals now, but Wow, I wanna try some of the brining with kefirwhey,and Kefir-kraut. I visited Dom's kefir pages. I've browsed there before but it didn't mean anything to be before I started dabbling in Kombucha.

I do want some crystals though, Maybe I could get my bF to drink it for me until I'm allowed dairy again. Bother!! I wish there were more people around me that liked weird stuff like yogurt, kombucha, kefir and nukazuke pickles and kimchi *sigh*

Hey, maybe if I got some crystals, I could make the drink and trick BF into trying it and use some of the crystals to pickle the vegetables I'm allowed to eat for now. I love cabbage and saurkraut, and then I'd have practice taking care of the crystals. I dunno, I'm so excited.

I just built a new worm bed yesterday( they are gonna eat my veggie scraps instead of being fish bait) , and I am going to build a rice bran pickle medium as soon as I get some stale bread from someone(I love japanese rice pickles but I never could keep up with it right).

I wanna start so many fermentation projects. It must be Spring Fever. What do you think I should do?
I know what you mean about wanting to make all this stuff!!! I tried some kraut and it's in the frig 'fermenting' ... or going bad. Not sure which at this point. Once I beat it to death for 20 minutes like the directions said, I didn't have much juice. I love cabbage too.

Never heard of Japanese rice pickles! I love anything fermented or pickled or cultured or anything like that. I did make a batch of pickled red cabbage! Num.

A worm bed eh? I never have been able to get a good compost going right. Keep forgetting to 'stir' it and it's backbreaking work too. Can't afford one of those turnable barrels. That would be ideal! Always thought raising worms would be a great thing! Haven't tried it YET tho.

It dropped to 17 here last night and today's high is like 43. Old Man Winter don't want to let go!
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:48 PM   #1390
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Dang! 17!! I keep opening and closing the windows cause, even though it is a beautiful day, it's freakin' cold!!! Not 17 degree cold, but too cold for Georgia in Almost April. My cat is begging to go out so I guess I better bundle up and take the beast for a brisk spring walk.

Worm bins are so superior to cold composting in my opinion. It takes much less time and much less chance of sour/rotten smells. and it's what the worms in the bottom of the compost are doing anyway, but much faster and more efficient. I had a bin last year, my only problem was fruit fly attacks from contaminated fruit. I'm gonna freeze my scraps from now on before adding them. actually I figured a better way. Since the scraps have to start molding to feed the worms, I will keep the scraps in the containers the worms came in. it has tiny pin holes in the top for aeration, but too small for the flies to get in or out. That way if the fruit tops have fly eggs on them and they hatch, they can't get out, and if they don't, the flies can't get in to the rotting food. Then I could feed the worms more easily than having to freeze and thaw everything.
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Old 03-26-2010, 01:08 PM   #1391
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I know what you mean about wanting to make all this stuff!!! I tried some kraut and it's in the frig 'fermenting' ... or going bad. Not sure which at this point. Once I beat it to death for 20 minutes like the directions said, I didn't have much juice. I love cabbage too.
It should go bad fairly quickly, or it isn't going to. The jar I have now is about 5 months old.
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Old 03-26-2010, 01:16 PM   #1392
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It should go bad fairly quickly, or it isn't going to. The jar I have now is about 5 months old.
Well, it's been in the frig for about three weeks now after sitting on the counter for three days. I've never tasted homemade kraut before and the last time I tasted this batch it tasted a bit bland!!!
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Old 03-26-2010, 04:20 PM   #1393
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That sounds good. Yes the brown tenticles are yeast. Until it gets thicker it may be darkish because of the yeast but the scoby should turn a tan to cream color as it develops.

You probably wouldn't notice the difference in taste once it finished brewing, since kombucha makes it's own vinegar. All vinegar is is acetic acid and that's one of kombuchas naturally occurring by products.
Metqa, you are such a Doll to always answer my questions. You are so knowledgeable too. Interesting to know that is yeast. I now have a thin film over the top. I am soooo excited!!!

I tried to make saurkraut but I could not stand the smell in my house. Is there any way around that - the smell? Putting it in a cooler, ect? I need to add femented foods to my diet and I cannot have dairy. I am a breast cancer survivor and dairy is a no-no.
Water Kefir is interesting....I need to read on it. I have read on Kefir but I cannot do the dairy.
I am going to try to make some Rejuvalac this weekend with Rye berries.

Last edited by staynfit; 03-26-2010 at 04:38 PM..
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Old 03-26-2010, 06:25 PM   #1394
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Metqa, you are such a Doll to always answer my questions. You are so knowledgeable too. Interesting to know that is yeast. I now have a thin film over the top. I am soooo excited!!!

I tried to make saurkraut but I could not stand the smell in my house. Is there any way around that - the smell? Putting it in a cooler, ect? I need to add femented foods to my diet and I cannot have dairy. I am a breast cancer survivor and dairy is a no-no.
Water Kefir is interesting....I need to read on it. I have read on Kefir but I cannot do the dairy.
I am going to try to make some Rejuvalac this weekend with Rye berries.
It seems you can do kefir with non-dairy liquids like soy, rice or coconut milk. it just won't grow the grains, I read. You could maybe grow the kefir in milk for the rest of your family, and take the extra grains to grow non-dairy kefir for yourself.

I haven't made saurkraut so I dont' know about the smell. the rice bran pickles have a good smell though. I dunno! i know cabbage can put out some rank gasses though!
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Old 03-30-2010, 06:53 AM   #1395
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Hi Selahgal!

I also brew water kefir . . . I'm overloaded with crystals . . . Anybody need some? .
Yes, I would love some!

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Old 03-30-2010, 06:29 PM   #1396
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Ok, would like some feedback please...today was 16 days since I began my first kombucha batch, using one bottle of purchased kombucha to 4 qts of tea made with 1 cup sugar and 8 tea bags. After nothing happening in the first 8 days, I added another bottle of purchased plain kombucha...back to sitting on top of the freezer. Checking, checking, checking...finally see the tiniest bit of what I believe to be a baby mother forming, along with sediment on the bottom of the jar.

Tasted the kombucha today and it was pretty vinegary - more than the commercial stuff but not totally unpleasant. The mother, if that is what it is, is about the size of a silver dollar at best. Since the taste did not make me ill (or dead), I went ahead and bottled up 5 bottles of it and made another batch with about 1/3 of the original batch (including the mother-ette).

Does this sound right to you all? Would you drink the original batch or pitch it and hope that the mother grows larger this go round?

thanks for any advice!
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Old 03-30-2010, 06:32 PM   #1397
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Ok, would like some feedback please...today was 16 days since I began my first kombucha batch, using one bottle of purchased kombucha to 4 qts of tea made with 1 cup sugar and 8 tea bags. After nothing happening in the first 8 days, I added another bottle of purchased plain kombucha...back to sitting on top of the freezer (the kombucha, not me). Checking, checking, checking...finally see the tiniest bit of what I believe to be a baby mother forming, along with sediment on the bottom of the jar.

Tasted the kombucha today and it was pretty vinegary - more than the commercial stuff but not totally unpleasant. The mother, if that is what it is, is about the size of a silver dollar at best. Since the taste did not make me ill (or dead), I went ahead and bottled up 5 bottles of it and made another batch with about 1/3 of the original batch (including the mother-ette).

Does this sound right to you all? Would you drink the original batch or pitch it and hope that the mother grows larger this go round?

thanks for any advice!
Mary

Last edited by NatureOne; 03-30-2010 at 06:36 PM.. Reason: clarification
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:02 PM   #1398
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Unless you go all chemist with the ph strips and such, taste is subjective. Ideal temperature for things cultured that are not actively heated will be around 72 degrees and should run a batch in about a week. Lower temperatures, provided it is not so low that it completely stops the culture, will result in longer batch times. higher temps, if it doesn't kill the culture, will make it go faster, but there you have a shorter window between "not yet" and "too far".

A young scoby with a full sized batch will take longer, but that should improve with subsequent batches. From what you are describing, it sounds like you are making progress in the right direction.

As far as drinking the original batch, it sounds good. You *WILL* be able to tell the difference between vinegar and 'bad'. Fermentation can be considered a form of "pedigreed spoilage", you introduce specific organisms so that random stuff from the air can't easily get established.

BTW, if you "forget" your sealed bottles for, say, "a month", chill well and open outdoors.
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:08 PM   #1399
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If it tasted okay and didn't kill you I'd say you did right. Started another batch with the scoby and some brew. I'm curious about your scoby though. Why is it only the size of a silver dollar? Scobys grow on the surface of the liquid and span the size of the jar. So if your jar were skinny and tall, I' could see having a small disk scoby but it really should be as wide across as your jar is where the kombucha liquid was. See how in these two pictures, the scoby in the large jar spans the whole jar and is wide, while the scoby in the tea jar, while smaller, still spans the surface of the liquid and is the same size as the inside of the jar.




I don't know, I've never seen a scoby grow smaller than the liquid surface.
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Old 03-31-2010, 05:56 AM   #1400
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If it tasted okay and didn't kill you I'd say you did right. Started another batch with the scoby and some brew. I'm curious about your scoby though. Why is it only the size of a silver dollar? Scobys grow on the surface of the liquid and span the size of the jar. So if your jar were skinny and tall, I' could see having a small disk scoby but it really should be as wide across as your jar is where the kombucha liquid was. See how in these two pictures, the scoby in the large jar spans the whole jar and is wide, while the scoby in the tea jar, while smaller, still spans the surface of the liquid and is the same size as the inside of the jar.




I don't know, I've never seen a scoby grow smaller than the liquid surface.
Wow that is one amazing scoby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do you continuous brew in that big jar? Just leave the scoby's alone and keep adding and keep drinking the tea, right?

I do that, sort of, with my water kefir. I make a batch, add it to the 'jug' and repeat over and over. Then I just drink from the jug as needed! Nicely tart and tangy and plenty of fizz!!! YUM
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Old 03-31-2010, 01:49 PM   #1401
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Well, I should have been doing continuous but those scobys are from batch brewing where I removed most of the finished brew and added a lot of fresh tea. I just never take the scobys out till it it too full... that picture was too full!

I'm trying continuous now but it's more difficult since I'm not drinking it on a regular basis, so it often turns to sour before I can remember to taste and refeed it.

That sounds like a good idea to do with the kefir.
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Old 03-31-2010, 05:32 PM   #1402
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Holy smoke Metqa, those are SOME Scobys!!!!

I brewed in a tall container with not so wide an opening..more like a wide mouth canning jar, only larger. No clue as to why my scoby did not grow larger other than the fact that maybe I had it too warm as I brewed it atop the freezer...somehow I got the idea that the brew needed a bit of warmth. I will take it off and sit it on a shelf in my pantry. I suspect it is warmer than 72 in there anyway.

Selahgal, your description of water kefir intrigues me. I must google it further. The only kefir I have ever seen is the stuff made with milk that is all thick and gross looking...can't imagine how you can drink it. But, if it is tart and fizzy, I am all for checking it out!

Thanks,
Mary
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Old 03-31-2010, 05:54 PM   #1403
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Holy smoke Metqa, those are SOME Scobys!!!!

I brewed in a tall container with not so wide an opening..more like a wide mouth canning jar, only larger. No clue as to why my scoby did not grow larger other than the fact that maybe I had it too warm as I brewed it atop the freezer...somehow I got the idea that the brew needed a bit of warmth. I will take it off and sit it on a shelf in my pantry. I suspect it is warmer than 72 in there anyway.

Selahgal, your description of water kefir intrigues me. I must google it further. The only kefir I have ever seen is the stuff made with milk that is all thick and gross looking...can't imagine how you can drink it. But, if it is tart and fizzy, I am all for checking it out!

Thanks,
Mary
Just google 'water kefir' or 'water kefir crystals'. They are amazing! Just add water, sugar, a slice of lemon, a slice of ginger [optional], some dried fruit and in about two days you'll have fizzy tangy/tart water kefir! The crystals multiply like crazy so once you have them you'll have them forever, unless you kill them somehow. You can even eat both water kefir crystals AND milk kefir grains! So if you get too many, eat em! All the sugar is used by the crystals and it's full of beneficial bacteria. It's actually my favorite brew, then kombucha, then milk kefir.
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Old 03-31-2010, 06:11 PM   #1404
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Do you do anything special for water for the water kefir? We get gallons of spring water from the supermarket for the kombucha because what comes out of the tap here varies between somewhat disgusting and downright nasty.
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Old 03-31-2010, 06:25 PM   #1405
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Do you do anything special for water for the water kefir? We get gallons of spring water from the supermarket for the kombucha because what comes out of the tap here varies between somewhat disgusting and downright nasty.
Well, I have a well, so our water comes right out of that, but I filter it too because as a 'city girl' I find the metallic taste revolting! I think it's important to have no flouride or chlorine in the water.....I think the chlorine can be boiled out but I'm not sure.....but minerals are ok since it uses the minerals. There's tons of sites that have lots of great info on it. I believe spring water would be PERFECT!

You'll love this stuff! I am addicted to it!
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Old 03-31-2010, 08:38 PM   #1406
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Well, I have a well, so our water comes right out of that, but I filter it too because as a 'city girl' I find the metallic taste revolting! I think it's important to have no flouride or chlorine in the water.....I think the chlorine can be boiled out but I'm not sure.....but minerals are ok since it uses the minerals. There's tons of sites that have lots of great info on it. I believe spring water would be PERFECT!

You'll love this stuff! I am addicted to it!
Chlorine will evaporate out, not sure about the flouride. As far as our water, I can handle metallic better than... Well...

I hope to be able to try it soon. How much do you typically do (as far as water and sugar) and how often?
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Old 04-01-2010, 06:56 AM   #1407
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Chlorine will evaporate out, not sure about the flouride. As far as our water, I can handle metallic better than... Well...

I hope to be able to try it soon. How much do you typically do (as far as water and sugar) and how often?
Well, I make water kefir *about* every two or three days and I drink about 6 to 8 oz a day on average.

I was making kombucha about once a week because I like it well fermented and tart and it's been taking about a week to get to that point. Then I 'bottle' it for a second ferment and more fizz. Right now I'm trying 'continuous brew' method where you make a gallon brew and take what you want from it and keep adding more tea/sugar to it as needed. I don't drink as much kombucha as water kefir at this point because I like the fizz of the water kefir and haven't managed to get the kombucha fizzy yet.
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Old 04-01-2010, 02:41 PM   #1408
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Metqa, I will have to try Rice Pickles. I will look into them. Thank you for the tip.

I am drinking Kombucha that I made. Yay!! I have a 2 litre jug od Kombucha and I bottled 6 of the GT bottles I had saved. There is some fizz to my brew. I have 2 nice thick SCOBY mats. I am going to start 2 more gallon jugs but if I cannot get my hubby to drink it I think that will be too much for just me. My eldest (17) won't touch it.
I am so excited!!
I have a question: How much starter do I put in the new K-T? 1/2 cup??

Marci,Water Kefir sounds interesting. Is there sugar left in the finished product?

Last edited by staynfit; 04-01-2010 at 02:46 PM..
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Old 04-01-2010, 04:19 PM   #1409
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Metqa, I will have to try Rice Pickles. I will look into them. Thank you for the tip.

I am drinking Kombucha that I made. Yay!! I have a 2 litre jug od Kombucha and I bottled 6 of the GT bottles I had saved. There is some fizz to my brew. I have 2 nice thick SCOBY mats. I am going to start 2 more gallon jugs but if I cannot get my hubby to drink it I think that will be too much for just me. My eldest (17) won't touch it.
I am so excited!!
I have a question: How much starter do I put in the new K-T? 1/2 cup??

Marci,Water Kefir sounds interesting. Is there sugar left in the finished product?
Nope, no sugar, just tangy and fizzy!!! YUM

What do you mean by 'starter' in the new KT?
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Old 04-01-2010, 05:33 PM   #1410
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I always used at least 2 cups of starter( finished kombucha) to start a new batch.
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