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What’s Kombucha Fermentation Supposed to Look like?

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Omahawk

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I am homebrewer that is brand new to the Kombucha scene. As in, I drank my first booch last week. I loved it.

So now I’m trying to make my own SCOBY out of some raw unfiltered Kombucha, just because it sounds like something fun to try. I googled and found a simple recipe of 4 green tea bags in 7 C of boiling water, 1/2 C table sugar and 1 C Kombucha (I used GTs plain “Original” raw Kombucha). I cooled it down to 75-80 F before “pitching” my Kombucha.

It’s about 1/2 gallon “starter” in a sanitized 1 gallon wide mouth jar. I have it covered at the top with a rubber band and coffee filter. It’s in a dark room at 75 F.

I know this is supposed to take 1-4 weeks, but 24 hours in I expected to see SOMETHING happening. I know it likely won’t be like a rolling krausen or anything, but shouldn’t I see a little activity? Bubbles? Little floaties chomping on sugar? Anything?
 
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Omahawk

Omahawk

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Also, are there stickies somewhere that cover Kombucha topics? I’ve tried skimming a lot of the messages posted recently and it was helpful.
 

Calder

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I'm new too, so don't take anything I say as being gospel. Looks like you did everything right. My first batch I bought a scoby, started it, and didn't look at it for 2 weeks, so I can't tell you what you might see.

The addition of the 1 cup of Kombucha is to get a low ph to minimize the chance of contamination taking hold, so it should be OK.

GTs plain original should be OK.
 
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Omahawk

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The addition of the 1 cup of Kombucha is to get a low ph to minimize the chance of contamination taking hold, so it should be OK.
Cool, thanks for the reply. I had read that low ph is part of all of this. I saw some folks add vinegar to their recipes, too. I didn’t do that.

I’m assuming the raw Kombucha is also where the yeast and bacteria for SCOBY formation comes from, right?
 

Calder

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Yes, the bottle probably had a small scoby in it anyway; certainly everything required to create one. I have filtered my kombucha thru straining bags when I bottled, and still find small scobys in the bottle (about the size of a quarter).

Unless I have a scoby with no liquid, I think I would stay away from adding vinegar. The bacteria in the scoby creates acetic acid anyway; I don't want to add to it.
 

shelly_belly

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The first batch usually takes longer to form a scoby from my experience. The kombucha ferment is actually pretty boring with hardly anything at all to see except maybe the painfully slow development of the scoby. Once you have a scoby you may occasionally see a bubble form and get trapped underneath.
 
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Omahawk

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After 96 hours, starting to get this cool ring of growth. Interesting that the middle of the surface is still a void.
558E6F6C-0A54-4DDD-9EB0-80E1FB8F377F.jpeg
 
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Omahawk

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After about 16 days I finally have a decent SCOBY. The first ferment smells really sour, so I’ll probably rack most of it off and start a new batch.

I bought a glass two gallon jar with plastic spigot, and I’m going to try continuous komboucha brewing.

I’m not sure if I’ll bottle or just drink straight out of the tap. Excited for this first batch to get done.
 

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Omahawk

Omahawk

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The first ferment smells really sour, so I’ll probably rack most of it off and start a new batch.
.
Actually, just poured myself a glass and the first ferment is really good. Smooth with a hint of sweetness. It’d be better with some carbonation.
 
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shelly_belly

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I make some flavored sweetened tea and blend it 1 part to 3 parts kombucha, then bottle it like beer. It usually carbonates similar to beer levels. That's how I like mine.
 
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Omahawk

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I make some flavored sweetened tea and blend it 1 part to 3 parts kombucha, then bottle it like beer. It usually carbonates similar to beer levels. That's how I like mine.
What do you flavor it with? I bought some fresh ginger tonight to use.

Also, what do you use for bottles? I’ve considered 12 oz beer bottles capped, flip tops, or reused commercial Kombucha bottles.
 

rossi46

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I used to use .5 liter flip tops, now I just keg it 2 gallons at a time.
As far as flavors, what ever you like. My boys like a triple berry blend from the freezer section.
 

shelly_belly

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What do you flavor it with? I bought some fresh ginger tonight to use.

Also, what do you use for bottles? I’ve considered 12 oz beer bottles capped, flip tops, or reused commercial Kombucha bottles.
I use the flavored tea bags. I like the fruit, berry or flower flavors, sweetened with cane sugar. My favorite so far is Rooibos Vanilla. Fresh ginger sounds great.

As for bottles I use beer bottles. I'm sometimes lazy about labeling so I always use short bottles for kombucha and taller bottles for beer. I also pour mine through a kitchen strainer into a glass of ice.
 
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Omahawk

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I used to use .5 liter flip tops, now I just keg it 2 gallons at a time.
As far as flavors, what ever you like. My boys like a triple berry blend from the freezer section.
A little fruit in each bottle?
 

UncleAvis

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My family and I like it carbed with fruit juice. 1/4 cup juice per 16 oz swingtop.
 
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My family and I like it carbed with fruit juice. 1/4 cup juice per 16 oz swingtop.
How long do you let the juice “secondary” at room temp? I’m sure it creates a decent amount of carbonation at that ratio.
 

UncleAvis

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5 days in the pantry usually gives a good amount of effervescence. A few days longer doesn't hurt. I use 1 pet bottle so I can squeeze gauge carb.
 
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I bottled my “second ferment” batch this past weekend. I’m doing a secondary right now in 16 oz bottles. Each bottle is about 2 oz apple juice, 1/2 tsp fresh ginger and the rest is my black tea-green tea mixed booch.

I did a taste test of one about 60 hours into the secondary. Very tasty! Excited to have this in a regular rotation.
 
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