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Greenbasterd 06-19-2012 04:52 PM

kombucha question
Hey guys not sure if there are any kombucha experts here but ill throw it out there.
bought a scoby off ebay, i think i read it was previously frozen in a starter tea, anyways i got it. maid a green tea added sugar then put the scoby + starter tea in, its been about a week. but from the youtube vids i've seen there is sopposed to be a baby? it doesn't look there is tho.. there is a scummy layer on top. is that the baby? should i let grow a baby before i drink?
the scoby i got has doubled its size. but there doesn't seem to be a baby

Zapped 06-20-2012 02:27 AM

I've only brewed maybe a dozen batches, so I'm no expert. But since you haven't had a reply yet...

From what I've read, 100% green tea is not the best for making Kombucha. 50% to 100% black or white tea seems to be the most common recommendation. If you don't use 100% black/white, the remainder can be green or rooibos tea, but never an herbal, fruit, or Earl Grey tea.

Not sure what happens when the mother scoby has been frozen. I'd be worried that a lot of the bacteria might have been killed, but I don't have any firm evidence to back that up. I would wait until a baby forms just to make sure this "scum" you're referring to doesn't turn into mold.

Right now I've got two one-gallon batches brewing from two gallons of sweet tea I made (50% black, 25% white, 25% green teas), and each batch is behaving differently. After 6 days, one of the batches has a classic baby scoby on top, maybe 1/4" thick, opaque, white as the driven snow, with the mother floating an inch or so below. The other batch just has what I'm betting you're calling "scum". There are a couple of 1" diameter brown patches, some bubbly white patches, and a general cloudiness forming across the rest of the top which looks like what the other batch had after just a couple of days. Weird.

The only difference between the two batches that I can imagine is that one of the mother-scobies was fresher than the other - maybe the scummy batch used a mother I'd fermented with too many times. Anyway there are no odd colors like blue or green, and definitely no fuzz which would indicate mold. So like you, I'm in a wait-and-see mode on that "weird" batch.

Greenbasterd 06-20-2012 06:06 PM

i'm pretty sure its not mold, i looked at it today and there seems to be bubbles traped underneath it.. so its kinda solid.. from what you said about green tea im guessing it could just be a very weak baby! the guy i got it from had many positive feedbacks on his scoby's but then again the ebay feedback system is flawed beyond belief because nobody wants a negative feedback for leaving negative feedback lol.. oh well i think i will drink this batch and just add some black tea to hopefully get that baby growing!!


Sally 06-20-2012 07:12 PM

Yes, that scummy layer is (or will be soon) the baby!

I went through the same thing when I started brewing kombucha. Rest assured that most of the weird looking stuff you see is just part of the process. Actual mould looks a lot like typical furry mould you'd see on bread, etc.

I've brewed with green tea and it takes a little longer, but the results are worth it. It makes a very light, almost cider/champagne tasting kombucha.

Sdaji 06-28-2012 01:34 PM

I've been brewing pure green tea for a long time. It works beautifully. I brew green and black side by side and don't find green to take longer. I usually use green tea kombucha to start my other types. Lots of herbal teas make kombucha just as well as tea, as do other things like ginger (I just drank two glasses - yum!)

I've never tried brewing from frozen. I imagine it would likely work, but it might take a while to brew your first or even second generation cultures. I personally wouldn't be too keen to do it other than as an experiment, but hey, call it an experiment :)

One thing which may be a problem is bad temperatures. That and mould are the only problems I've ever had, but people often seem to blame metal forks and non black tea and the wrong brand of white sugar and all sorts of other silly things.

Greenbasterd 06-30-2012 12:32 AM

yup, that scummy layer i talked about is a solid scoby now!! about 1 cm thick, looks good!

one thing tho.... is it supposed to smell like a bad fart? the smell is almost nauseating but it taste pretty good.. is that the norm?

Zapped 06-30-2012 02:04 AM

No, it should not smell anything like that. If you mean a rotten-egg smell or a sulphur smell that does not sound good at all.

Do you know what vinegar smells like? That's what your Kombucha should smell like during primary fermentation.

onipar 06-30-2012 02:31 AM

Agreed, it should not smell like farts. :(

I find the aroma of brewing kombucha quite pleasant, like a sweet vinegar.

I also would like to add my 2 cents about green tea. I started my first scoby from a bottle of GT Kombucha, and 100% green tea (plus sugar). I had a impressive baby scoby in 2 weeks.

Yesterday I started my first 1 gallon batch with that little baby, and already there is that "scum" of a new baby forming on top, with that delicious kombucha smell coming from the vessel. And this is 100% green tea again.

Greenbasterd 07-02-2012 05:05 AM

yea i guess you could call the smell like sweet vinegar. maybe i just don't care for the smell i don't think it has gone bad or anything. it actually taste quite good, almost like a fruit juice. would you all at least agree it taste much better then it smells?

onipar 07-02-2012 12:44 PM


Originally Posted by Greenbasterd (Post 4218229)
yea i guess you could call the smell like sweet vinegar. maybe i just don't care for the smell i don't think it has gone bad or anything. it actually taste quite good, almost like a fruit juice. would you all at least agree it taste much better then it smells?

Absolutely. I find the smell to be more vinegary than the taste.

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