Originally Posted by karinp
As I buy and drink store bought KT in the next week or two - can I always pour the bottom inch of the bottled KT in either my bigger jar (with the scoby from a friend) or into the smaller jar (where I'm trying to grow a scoby)? If I pour it in the jar with the friend's scoby - will it just enhance that tea and the scoby growing in that tea? Or might it interfere with the already-grown scoby that is in there? I don't love drinking the globs but since I'm trying to grow scobys - I hate the idea of pouring them down the drain. If I do user them - which jar should I add them too? If I drink straight from the bottle I might get germs in the bottled KT (I suppose) and then might those germs contaminate my other projects if I then add those dregs into either of my other jars?
Sure you can, but if you're going to do that, it would be a much better idea if you poured the KT into a cup so you don't get your mouth germs and wild yeasts in the brew. If you already have an established scoby, this backwash brew is kind of a waste of time and a bit of a risky experiment. Plus the sediment in the bottom of the bottle is dead yeast anyway.
I like to take my GTs bottles and turn them upside down, then swirl them around (do not shake). This mixes up the brown stuff at the bottom. Yea the jelly fish floating around in there is a little weird. If one gets close to the edge you can use a fork, spoon or a finger to hook it and get it out. The sludge is less noticeable and weird if it's in solution.
If you really want to save the backwash, keep it separate from the natural batch. You don't know how the probiotic package in your store-bought is going to react with the natural brew. They could overwhelm it and then you'll have 2 batches of the same thing. If that's what you were really going for, then getting your friend's scoby was pointless.
Originally Posted by karinp
The KT and the scoby that my friend gave me - it didn't smell nearly as wonderful as the store bought KT I've been drinking - but is it always the exact same bacteria/yeast combo in every KT (and only the tea used to brew and the flavorings that make the difference in taste)?
When you get store-bought, yes(-ish).
When you brew naturally, no/yes/maybe.
The manufactured KT has to be produced in a controlled environment, with controlled quantities, with a defined formula; because of the process and documentation required for taxation and licensing. (blah blah blah)
The bottle of GTs I have on my desk specifically states the probiotic package (GBI-30 6086) and approximate quantity of organisms:
Bacillus coagulans: 1 billion
S. Boulardii: 1 billion
When you brew naturally, the quantity and variety of organisms can very from jar to jar from the same batch. There are other varieties of yeast and bacteria floating around in the air, and hitchhiking on your hands that can make it into the brew. As long as the starting solution is sufficiently acidic, the current residents can typically thwart contamination domination.
If the pH is too high, you may grow mold instead.
The teas used will affect the flavor of the final product, and can inhibit proper fermentation, depending on what you use. Kombucha is an amalgamation, a sum of more than it's parts.
Does that answer your question or too long winded? lol