Organic Kombucha

Kombucha Tea, Cultures, Benefits and Hazards

The Great Kombuca Balancing Act February 6, 2011

Filed under: dave,kombucha,kombucha Newsletter,Make Kombucha,trouble shooting — dlindy2730 @ 5:41 pm

This article will help answer many kombucha troubleshooting questions… I could hype it up with a few extra paragraphs, but I would rather have you kids dive in.. (plus I am trying to meet up with friends for karaoke tonight)! So below is Just The Meat (or tofu, for the veggies out there!)…

enjoy.

Dave :)

big kombucha cultue

HOW TO DECREASE THE RATIO OF YEAST TO BACTERIA (AKA INCREASING THE RATIO OF BACTERIA TO YEAST)

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So this is for peeps that want to increase the bacteria found in their k-tea.. which is also the same as decreasing the yeast strands.

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Usually a sign of low bacteria is consistently not having a new culture grow (I say consistently because a batch or two of not a new culture is fine, especially if your tea is still fermenting but if a new culture is not forming on top or the existing culture is not growing AFTER SEVERAL CYCLES than most).

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HERE’S SOME NERDY STUFF…

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The bacteria rely on the yeast for alcohol and glucose. Beyond this they need oxygen and trace amounts of nutrients that they can get from the air and tea. So by supplying alcohol and glucose we can reduce the bacteria’s reliance on the yeast.

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Yeast can usually withstand much wider extremes in temperature but we can still pick the optimum temp for the bacteria where the yeast tends to be more sluggish. This bacteria sweet spot tends to be in the 65 to 75 Fahrenheit range.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO DO…

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Use more Green Tea over Black Tea. As much as we love our Kombucha Tea Blend, in this case we would recommend using a straight Green Tea Kombucha Blend. Our personal favorite is Dragon Well Green Tea Kombucha.

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Use more acidic starter. You can do this by simply using over ferment k-tea (the longer you let it ferment, the more acidic the starter tea will become). It should be very close to vinegar in terms of taste and smell. Depending on how strong the starter tea is you can use as little as 10% (instead of the normal 15% to 20% we recommend in our basic instructions).

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Keep the temperature between 65 to 75 Fahrenheit. We recommend using our kombucha heat mat especially during winter months to achieve this.

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Use starter that is taken off the top of any standing ferment to insure you pull from where the bacteria to yeast ratio is the highest.

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Squeeze the juice of any new cultures you won’t be saving into the new ferment or where you store your starter. (very nice little secret, shhh…. don’t tell anyone… ok, fine, you can tell people, but let them know you the down low info from thekombucha site around!)

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Use weak rather than strong tea strength. Strong tea provides more sterols that the yeast needs to reproduce. If they don’t get these compounds from the tea they must manufacture them their selves and this will slow them down insuring the bacteria remain more dominant. To keep it simple.. you can either cut you current steep time in Half OR use only 2/3rds the amount of tea you currently use. (I would recommend using the same amount of tea and cutting your steep time in half.. this is because green tea is less oxidized than black tea and requires less steeping time in general.. otherwise it will tend to be bitter.. and yes; I am a tea dork!).

kombucha and richord simmons

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BONUS – HOW TO GROW A HUGE A** CULTURE…

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Use the same techniques above (ie, type of tea, temp, etc)

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Start with a portion of newly fermented tea and place it in a fermenting container so that you have at least four inches of liquid depth.

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Allow fermentation to continue for 3 more weeks.

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At the end of three weeks, if a new SCOBY has formed discard and filter the contents with a paper towel or coffee filter. If you can find a way to syphon just the top clear portion of the liquid this is preferred but it’s not critical because at this point the yeast have mostly died off or gone dormant.

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So what we are trying to do is build up the starter tea to have more bacteria than yeast by letting the tea over ferment and then literally straining the yeast out.

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Rinse and wipe clean the container. Then replace the filtered liquid back into the container and continue to ferment for another couple of weeks or until the culture gets to approximately a 12 cm (1/2″) in thickness.

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Now you’re ready to begin fermenting with your new healthy culture.

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HOW TO INCREASE THE RATIO OF YEAST TO BACTERIA (AKA DECREASING THE RATIO OF BACTERIA TO YEAST)

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Use more black tea.

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Pull starter from the bottom of the previous brewed ferment and use plenty of it.

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Be conservative on sugar. It’s best to start out with a little less sugar and then add more after the ferment has proceeded a few days. This is because once the yeasts break down the sugar into glucose, if too much is in solution the yeast can become sluggish and reproduce more slowly. Home brewers commonly know this as the “Crab tree Effect”.

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Here is a quick Getkombucha.com exclusive guideline to show you how to “sugar pace” your sugar (again this is just a guideline, but it will give you a better idea of what we mean of “sugar pacing”, to prevent the crab tree effect.

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To prevent your yeast from passing out on the job, gradually add the normal amount of sugar over the course of three days. This allows the yeast the chance to keep up with the amount of glucose present in the nutrient solution.

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Note: all measurements based on 1 cup of sugar per gallon of tea solution (if making 2 gallons at a time simply double the amount, etc).

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* Day 1 – add 1/8th of a cup of the sugar
* Day 2 – add 2/8th of a cup of sugar
* Day 3 – add 3/8th of a cup of sugar
* Day 4 – add the remaining 2/8th of a cup of sugar

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Keep the temperature in warmer 75 to 85 Fahrenheit temperature range. We recommend using our kombucha heat mat especially during winter months to achieve this.

Kombucha Baby

Kombucha Baby

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“HEY DAVE, WHAT IF I DON’T KNOW WHICH RATIO I SHOULD INCREASE OR WHICH ONE I SHOULD DECREASE?”

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Ahhh, the joy of experimenting! Simply get two separate jars, and label one “Decrease Yeast” and the other “Increase Yeast”.. (well you can also name them Charlie and Henry, but you get the idea).

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Then follow the suggestions on each separate jar and run your own experiment.

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If you want extra bonus points (and be the new celebrated member of our kombucha komunity)… why not pot your results in the comment section below so that you can help others!

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Also if you need to pick up some cultures or grab some any one, tow, or ten of our amazingly (yes, that’s a word), huge selection of tea… feel free to check out our Kombucha Tea and Kombucha Cultures.

 

Question about my first kombucha brew January 24, 2009

Here is a question we recently got:

QUESTION:
Got the brew kit a week ago, and am about to start to bottle my first batch. I noticed yesterday that the new culture that formed on top looked kinda blue. I read that cultures can mold and infect the tea, and now I am scared. how does this look to you?

Picture of a Healthy, yet Very young baby scoby

Picture of a Healthy, yet Very young baby scoby

If it is ok (i really hope it is), after i bottle the all the tea (and leave a little?) can i just put new brewed sweetened tea right on top of all the culture, or do i take some out?

Thanks for helping me out I am really excited to finally be brewing my own kombucha.

RESPONSE:
QUIICK RESPONSE:

As far as I can see you look good to go!! just save around 15% (usually the spigot placement is a good measure of 15%) and pure some fresh tea on top.

ADVANCED TIP!!!

To ensure a healthy and more evened out batch: After you pour your sweet tea on top of the SCOBY, draw a big ole glass from the spigot and pour it on top. This will take part of the 15% starter tea from your last batch that was on the bottom and place it on top of your new sweat tea. Kind of like a starter tea sandwich where the starter tea is the bread (rye, pumpernickel, any kind you want) and the sweat tea is the turkey (unless your a vegetarian, and then it would be the tofurkey).

This gently mixes the older more acidic brew with the fresh sweat tea, causing the ph level to drop a little bit faster before the sweat tea can become susceptible to harsh environmental conditions.

Happy Brewin’!

Dave

PS: Congrats on rockin out with the culture and a helluva great pic!

 

trouble shooting: Fruit Flies– don’t bother me! November 27, 2007

Filed under: kombucha,trouble shooting,vanessa — yumv @ 8:12 pm

Some of you with kombucha may have noticed a few more little friends in your kitchen. A few more little buggy friends. Fruit flies are a lot like us– i.e, they love kombucha. It’s the vinegar in it that drives them crazy. But, they’re not good for you or for your kombucha. What can you do? Plenty.

You can make trap yourself– roll a piece of paper into a paper funnel, then put it in a jar which is then baited with a few ounces of cider vinegar, or pre-made kombucha. Place the jar trap near your problem area (probably your brewer). This simple but effective trap will soon catch the little dudes, then you can handle them yourself, by killing them or releasing them outdoors. The choice is yours!

xo

v

 

Trouble Shooting: Spewin Brewer November 21, 2007

So, sometimes you may have little difficulties. It’s natural, just like Kombucha. So, when I first got my GORGEOUS new brewer, i did everything jusssst as I should have, but when I got up the next day, i noticed leaking. LOTS of it.

What did I do? I called Dave. Guess what? I didn’t need too.

brewer

9.99 times out of 10, a leaky brewer is due to owner malfunction, not product malfunction. You must must must must MUSSSST put the spigot and washers on as TIGHT as possible. When you have it that tight, tighten it some more. it’s much better to tighten the heck out of it before you brew, or as I did, you’ll end up with:

1. a big ol’ mess

2. troubleshooting/blame session, and

3. a very wet hand.

 

 
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