Originally Posted by HippieMama
Hello! I'm new to the site and to the world of kombucha. I have ordered my scoby, read a little bit on different forums, and am working on getting my supplies together.
I have purchased whole leaf organic english breakfast tea (100% assam special tippy golden flowery orange pekoe). I'm not sure what all of that wordage means... I spent 20 minutes on the tea aisle trying to decide which kind of tea was the best. Is this a good tea to start with?
So far for supplies I have a gallon glass jar, wooden spoons, and various GT kombucha bottles. I am debating about whether or not to buy cheese cloth as I have read a paper towel or other cloth can also be used. Thoughts? Are there any "must haves" I am leaving out?
What is the best way to sample the tea?
How long is the average time I should let the tea ferment and how long on the counter for carbonating?
Any suggestions for a newbie would be appreciated! Thanks!
Flavored teas, especially varieties with oils like orange or bergamot, can cause you trouble. The oils will float on the surface, provide a substrate for mold, and prevent SCOBY formation.
If the jar is widemouth then that is perfect.
Do not use cheese cloth, the weave is not tight enough to keep out fruit flies. I use paper coffee filters and hair tie things. Paper towels would work, or a kitchen towel. Anything that will breathe that will keep out tiny flies is what you want. If using cloth make sure it wasn't washed with fabric softener or you may add that flavor to your batch. Yuk.
The amount of time it takes relies on multiple factors. Some of which include starter volume, starter pH, weight of sugar, type of sugar, microbe viability and fermentation temperature.
For example, I leave 1 liter of previous batch in my jars (pH ~3.40@24°C) and add 2 liters of tea. Tea is sweetened with 200g Domino cane sugar, (4) bags of 365 brand organic green tea, (1) bag of Bigelow English organic black (plain black no flavorings). The jars are kept in a cooler with water, level with fluid level in jars, where temp is maintained by 100w aquarium heater (24°C). I harvest and start a new batch every quarter moon phase (~7 days).
I bottle with enough priming sucrose for 2.0 volumes CO2. Then bottles rest minimum 4 days at room temp (~21°C) to 7 days if I used other more complex adjuncts like pumpkin puree or apple chunks and cinnamon sticks.
You need to start taking small samples of the batch to taste starting about day 5, every couple days until you find the level of sweet/sour that you like. When you get there, harvest that day. If you forget or it gets too sour its OK. That makes perfect starter for the next batch or for using for many other things you'd normally use vinegar for.