Author Topic: Kombucha: Troubleshooting  (Read 195809 times)

Offline healthybratt

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Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« on: July 02, 2006, 04:27:19 PM »
I made my 2nd batch.  I had put the 1st baby back in with the mother and it grew another baby, but it didn't look like the mother.  It looked like some monstrosity from ... who knows.  I know it's not supposed to look like that.  It wasn't flat.  It wasn't white and it wasn't a uniform color.  Very nasty looking.  Also, my mother was white when I got it and now it's tea colored.

Is my mother healthy?

How am I ever supposed to get any baby's if all I get is a ball of slime on top?

Also, there are no layers on the mother to peel off.  It's all one piece.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2006, 04:29:01 PM by healthybratt »
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Offline healthybratt

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2006, 08:39:58 AM »
My babies look like a piece of paper when floating flat but when I try to put them back in the fluid, they curl up into a big booger.  They are bumpy and have discolored spots even after they've been rinsed.  I just threw them away or I would show you a picture.  I only have one mother and my hubby drinks it too fast to brew any longer than necessary.  I may just have to get another one so I can use it for making babies.

I was wondering if I could just chop the mother in half?  Any thoughts?

Also, I guess, I just consider any 1 gallon glass jar a sun tea jar, but I don't use the ones with the spout on the bottom.  They leak.  I have them with lids only, and a bunch of pickle jars too, but they are all round.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2006, 08:49:24 AM by healthybratt »
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Offline SC

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2006, 10:33:13 AM »
My babies look like a piece of paper when floating flat but when I try to put them back in the fluid, they curl up into a big booger.  They are bumpy and have discolored spots even after they've been rinsed.  . . .
I was wondering if I could just chop the mother in half?  Any thoughts?

If your baby is thin, I would let it brew longer to feed. I have a friend that harvests hers on day 13. This way, there is less sugar. For some reason, mine are ready much sooner at about day 8 or 9. I think my house is kept warmer.

Bumpy is how they are supposed to look. I never have tried to rinse colors off of them. I don't use anything but distilled water. Rinsing with water from the tap could contaminate the Kombucha or kill it (chlorine). One of the reasons they are called mushrooms is because of their color -- off white to brownish. Remember that this is a live culture and will not always be uniform. I've harvested "babies" with holes and/or thin spots, and they did just fine.

I've also seen some mushrooms settle to the bottom. Their babies grow on the top of the liquid and are easier to harvest. I have another strain that does this weird wave in the liquid. It will raise up one half of itself and keep the other half low in the jar. I thought it was going to flip itself over. But it finally settled on a nice spot to level and grew a baby.

Why not try starting the baby in it's own container? If it doesn't take, you've only lost 3 quarts of tea. You might be harvesting too early.
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Offline healthybratt

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2006, 09:27:59 PM »
My Kombucha is coming along nicely.  I could have split them up again today, but I was too tired to make 3 gallons.  Next time, I'd like to make some green tea, but I have green tea bags with lemon in them.  Do you guys think this would hurt the mushroom, or would this work?

One question though.  My shroom was pretty and clean when I got it.  It almost looked like someone cut it with a cookie cutter, it was so perfect.  Now it looks like the amoeba from the black lagoon.  It isn't round and smooth anymore.  Is that okay?
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Offline hedy

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2006, 10:49:22 AM »
I wish I liked Kombucha. I've tried making it a few times but it just tastes like vinegar to me. Am I doing something wrong? Maybe I should try some of yours, Lotsaboys! (Five gallons at a time, wow.)

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2006, 02:40:26 PM »
The mushrooms get uglier and uglier with time, the nature of the mushroom, but they are still just as effective!  Totally normal for them to look gross (unless they are fuzzy, then ya got mold), esp. after a while.  But yes, the new babies look great.  Guess it's like with people, ha.  ;D

Nickole   

Nickole

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2006, 02:47:24 PM »
...and the reason they look darker is the dead yeast cells as it goes through cycles of fermentation.  Each time you make the tea, dead yeast cells get stuck to it, yum  :P, so the more and more you use it, the darker it gets.  Perfectly normal.

I tried adding ginger to my tea during fermentation and WOW.  Yummy!  My husband likes it better that way, takes away the "bite" he says.

Nickole

Offline healthybratt

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2006, 05:19:35 PM »
The mushrooms get uglier and uglier with time, the nature of the mushroom, but they are still just as effective!  Totally normal for them to look gross (unless they are fuzzy, then ya got mold), esp. after a while.  But yes, the new babies look great.  Guess it's like with people, ha.  ;D

Nickole   

My babies look just as ugly (maybe uglier) as the mother.  Am I doing something wrong?  I've been using tap water.  Is the chlorine in my water killing my mushrooms?  Can I fix them by switching water?  Which is better, distilled or drinking water from the store?
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Offline jenny4wen

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2006, 05:39:11 PM »
My babies look just as ugly (maybe uglier) as the mother. 

You shouldn't talk about you and your babies in such a way!!!  :o  ::) :D ;D
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Offline natural

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2006, 04:04:06 AM »
HELP

I started my second batch of tea yesterday. I was told to put both the mother and baby in because they are both new starters. I didn't detach them I just gently set them in the brew and they immediately sunk, but were lop sided (sideways).
Now, this morning, I see the mother flipped over and the baby is in the bottom...


So now what? Do I dare try to flip them back over or does it really matter... because now the smooth part is upside down?
4 yo Maciah: Mamma I am scared the wind is howling.
Me: Go to sleep Jesus will protect you.
4 yo Maciah: (stretching his chin to chest) But, but I can't see Jesus my head can't reach into my heart.

Offline healthybratt

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2006, 06:02:40 AM »

...those little brown floaters in the brew...


What about big clear jelly-like floaters...kinda feel like frog eggs...are they "safe"?

When I would brew for 5-7 days I got a lot of these and strained them out.  Since I started brewing 10 days, I have very few of these.  I think my last 2 gallons there was one.  If I'm correct, these are parts of the baby shroom that haven't "attached" themselves yet, so the longer you brew the more time they will have to attach.  I still strain just to be sure, cuz I missed one once and hubby gagged on it.  It was so slimey he wasn't able to spit it out before it slid right down.   :P
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Offline musicmommy

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2006, 10:10:30 AM »
Quick question for all you kombucha-making experts!  My kombucha has been brewing for 5 days.  I just looked at it today and there's small fuzzy white spots all over the top.  Is this mold?!  Do I need to throw it away?  The mother and baby look fine and healthy.  I was just wondering if this is part of the brewing process.  Help!!

Offline lotsaboys

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2006, 02:39:57 PM »
It sure sounds like mold to me as we had that happen with our first try.  :( I read that it can get moldy if the temperature is too low or if it gets comtaminated. We tried washing ours with lemon juice according to instructions in our kombucha book, then tried to do a batch again and it still got moldy. We finally had success when some friends shared a mushroom with us. I don't want to discourage you, but you will probably need to toss the beverage and then try reusing the mother and baby in a new batch. You could try washing them in lemon juice or wine vinegar. The problem might be getting more kombucha to start a new batch, unless you know of someone close who has some. I hope it works for you!  :)

Offline healthybratt

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2006, 03:22:26 PM »
Mold usually occurrs if the acidity is too low.  Did you add vinegar or starter tea to your batch?

Sounds like mold.  I believe if you get mold, you are supposed to throw the whole thing away and start over with a new scoby.
Quote


Not very common, but if any unusual contamination due to mold-growth is found growing on the surface of the mother-culture, one should discard the vinegar or Kombucha, and start or obtain a new culture. Some species of fungi or molds, especially of the Aspergillus family, have been known to propagate on MOV and SCOBY cultures. These molds usually have green coloured spores, while some stains may produce black spores. Some varieties of fungi produce aflatoxins and mycotoxins, which one should completely avoid in their brew!!

Never culture either Kombucha or vinegar with a contaminated Kombucha SCOBY or MOV. Instead, inoculate the fresh media with approx. 10% of a previous non contaminated brew. In other words, an active-brew [non-pasteurized] may also be classified as a mother-culture and used as such. A new SCOBY or MOV colony will begin to propagate within days [in the case for Kombucha] or within a few weeks when culturing vinegar. But PLEASE, do not attempt this process by inoculating fresh ingredients with a previously contaminated brew! It's best to inoculate with a previously saved brew, which had no evidence of mold propagating on the SCOBY or MOV itself.

Never culture vinegar or kombucha near a compost or rubbish bin. If a compost bin is near by, mold spores may contaminate the mother-culture. This is especially in the case where acid-fruits, potatoes or their skins are spoiling.

A clean cloth should be placed over the mouth of any brewing vessel. I recommend using a tightly woven piece of pre-washed, then hot- ironed cotton or linen cloth, doubled over to form two layers in thickens. This may be held in place over the mouth of the vessel, secured with an elastic rubber band.

It appears that there are a few reported cases of toxicity in the past, due to consuming contaminated Kombucha. I'm not aware of the complete circumstances of these few cases, or if, in fact, these cases were accurately proven to be caused due to drinking a contaminated kombucha tea? Or whether or not it was due to drinking too much Kombucha over a period of time? What ever the case may be, it may be fair to suggest that the knowledge I share here WITH you, may possibly help, by preventing future cases from occurring.

TIP IN PREVENTING MOLD-GROWTH ON SURFACE OF SCOBY OR MOV

I've never found any evidence of mold-growth propagating on the surface of any of my SCOBYs, or in fact, MOV. I culture Kombucha and Vinegar in close vicinity to where I prepare, and ripen my kefir-cheeses. Some of these cheese are prepared by incorporating such molds as Pennecillum roguenforti and Pennecillum candidum [used to inoculate varieties of blue vein, brie or camembert pure kefir cheeses]. I've observed that gently rocking the kombucha once daily, seems to be an effective preventative measure, to ensure that molds do not propagate on the surface of a SCOBY or MOV. This may be due to the fact that rocking forces some of the tea solution [or vinegar] to wash over the surface of the SCOBY or MOV. Performing this once daily, maintains the surface of a SCOBY or MOV wet at all time, which is the main factor in the prevention of mold-growth. A SCOBY that may become submerged due to a heavy rocking action, will force the brew to form a new SCOBY within a few days. This action also provides soluble oxygen for the specific aerobic bacteria [oxygen lovers], Gluconacetobacter xylinum, which synthesize cellulose from glucose in the presence of oxygen. Cellulose is what the opaque pellicals of SCOBY [of kombucha] and MOV are composed of.

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« Last Edit: August 26, 2006, 03:26:29 PM by healthybratt »
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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2006, 03:46:31 PM »
Quick question for all you kombucha-making experts!  My kombucha has been brewing for 5 days.  I just looked at it today and there's small fuzzy white spots all over the top.  Is this mold?!  Do I need to throw it away?  The mother and baby look fine and healthy.  I was just wondering if this is part of the brewing process.  Help!!

Perhaps you used tea with oil of something in it?  Earl Grey tea or some other?  Look on the ingredients.  Years ago when I was beginning to make k-tea I made mold using Earl Grey tea, not thinking.  It was greenish though.  Definately throw everything away and start anew.l

Offline natural

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2006, 04:21:06 PM »
My info says that you can use a SCOBY up to 12 times.  I have not made this much so I don't know. 

Much longer than that - to me it seems like they live forever....I have used mothers countless brews.  Eventually they become lifeless I have heard, but I have never had that happen and I have been making k-tea for over 3 years.  Sometimes I use the mothers over and over and over and over and..... ::)


Is it good even if my new SCOBY is really really dark brown?

« Last Edit: August 31, 2006, 05:09:45 PM by healthybratt »
4 yo Maciah: Mamma I am scared the wind is howling.
Me: Go to sleep Jesus will protect you.
4 yo Maciah: (stretching his chin to chest) But, but I can't see Jesus my head can't reach into my heart.

Offline healthybratt

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2006, 05:13:09 PM »
Quote
Is it good even if my new SCOBY is really really dark brown?
Yes, they get darker and darker as they accumulate dead yeast cells from each batch.  As long as it is still making a baby mushroom, it's good!

Black tea also causes them to be more discolored.  I started with black tea and all of my scobies were dark and uneven colored.  I then took some of these babies and used green tea.  The mothers stayed discolored but the new babies from the green tea where white and more uniform looking.
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Offline natural

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2006, 08:29:23 AM »
forgive me if this has been answered...computer acting up and limitied time to browse...

I found 3 fruit flies on my Kranbucha. 1 on the SCOBY and two flying around. I can't believe they got through 2 layers of cheese cloth.


Is my tea ruined? Is my SCOBY ruined?
4 yo Maciah: Mamma I am scared the wind is howling.
Me: Go to sleep Jesus will protect you.
4 yo Maciah: (stretching his chin to chest) But, but I can't see Jesus my head can't reach into my heart.

Offline natural

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2006, 05:12:07 AM »
forgive me if this has been answered...computer acting up and limitied time to browse...

I found 3 fruit flies on my Kranbucha. 1 on the SCOBY and two flying around. I can't believe they got through 2 layers of cheese cloth.


Is my tea ruined? Is my SCOBY ruined?

BUMP
4 yo Maciah: Mamma I am scared the wind is howling.
Me: Go to sleep Jesus will protect you.
4 yo Maciah: (stretching his chin to chest) But, but I can't see Jesus my head can't reach into my heart.

Offline healthybratt

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2006, 03:34:52 PM »
Is my tea ruined? Is my SCOBY ruined?

I couldn't find anything that said to throw it out, but I would.  Everything says to cover with cloth to prevent contamination from fruit flies.  Based on this, I'd start over, but this is just my opinion.  "When in doubt...throw it out" ???  ;D
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Nickole

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #20 on: September 09, 2006, 03:50:14 PM »
http://www.happyherbalist.com/kombucha_brewing_guide.htm

Here's a link of what mold on a kombucha looks like and variances in healthy mushrooms - some "look" unhealthy but are still just fine.  Maybe you can compare?  And like HB says, when in doubt throw it out.  For sure.

Offline amazonmama2five

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2006, 11:37:00 AM »
I live in Brasil, we have LOTS OF ANTS. ::)  Sometimes, one or two find their way under my doubled linen dish towel and cracked plastic lid that protect my kombucha.  We drink it anyway and I am not dead yet (I think??). :D  I would not throw it away unless it grew obvious mold.
Lisa

PS---Obviously, I remove the offending, drowned ant A.S.A.P.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2006, 11:38:39 AM by amazonmama2five »
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Offline healthybratt

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2006, 11:37:54 AM »
I bought my first SCOBY from ebay and the directions that came with it said to cover with cheese cloth to avoid vinegar flies, molds, etc. So I doubled up my cheese cloth and used it. Not good, I got those few flies. What I am wondering though is, is my tea ruined if the fly never had contact with it, it just landed on the SCOBY. I really don't like to throw things out, can you tell :) Anyway just get a variety of directions before starting and use the majority :)

P.S. I really did't have too much doubt, ,,,until now. . .  If you don't hear from me in a while come lookin'  that means I didn't throw it out and I may be out of commission,,, for good  :-\

It's much better to use an ironed cloth (I used a bandana for my first batch) or some coffee filters.  Cheese cloth (obviously) is much too porous.

As for the tea.  I would say your batch under the SCOBY is probably okay (don't quote me on this), but I wouldn't reuse the SCOBY as the flies lay eggs on them. 
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Offline healthybratt

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2006, 11:39:02 AM »
I live in Brasil, we have LOTS OF ANTS. ::)  Sometimes, one or two find their way under my doubled linen dish towel and cracked plastic lid that protect my kombucha.  We drink it anyway and I am not dead yet (I think??). :D  I would not throw it away unless it grew obvious mold.
Lisa
Just a note:  Ants don't lay eggs like fruit flies do.  That's all left up to the queen and she is back in her anthill.  ::)

I suppose eating fruit fly eggs wouldn't kill a person or probably even make them ill, but eeeeeew.  I suppose you could make a batch and throw the mother away directly after.  I don't know.  Bugs really gross me out, so it will probably just be a personal judgement call--unless someone knows something about fruit flies that I don't.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2006, 11:40:35 AM by healthybratt »
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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #24 on: September 12, 2006, 03:13:19 PM »
I think the fruit flies pretty much drown before they have a chance to lay eggs.  But sometimes the baby mushroom will poke out the top of the liquid and perhaps they could lay eggs on that, but if that's not the case, they get attracted to the sweet smell then OOPS fall in and drown.  I would just pick them out.  I'm not freaked out by bugs though.  We live in the woods so basically have bugs for pets.  I told someone to use coffee filters once and they decided to use cheesecloth instead and they had the same problem.  Told ya... ::)  Sorry someone gave you wrong info.   

Offline musicmommy

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #25 on: September 17, 2006, 10:23:23 AM »
My kombucha is brewing in the cabinet. It's 6 days along.  I'm just wondering what the top should look like.  My baby scoby is on the top, mother is on the bottom.  The liquid/gel on the top has a few white spots.  Is this normal?

Offline healthybratt

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #26 on: September 17, 2006, 12:14:50 PM »
My kombucha is brewing in the cabinet. It's 6 days along.  I'm just wondering what the top should look like.  My baby scoby is on the top, mother is on the bottom.  The liquid/gel on the top has a few white spots.  Is this normal?

Yup.  Sounds good.
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Offline o2bhealthy

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #27 on: September 19, 2006, 10:37:50 AM »
I am wondering what others are going to do in regards to the cooler weather and keeping their kombucha at the right temperature. I currently have mine in our garage and am going to have to do something different very soon, any ideas?

Heidi

Offline amazonmama2five

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #28 on: September 19, 2006, 02:13:21 PM »
Yeah!  The house next door to us is for rent!  :-* :D ;) :P  That is something I never thought of........good question.
Lisa
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Offline musicmommy

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Re: Kombucha: Troubleshooting
« Reply #29 on: September 20, 2006, 10:05:43 AM »
Hi!

My kombucha has brewed for 10 days now and it's quite sweet but not as FIZZY as I like it to be.  What should I do to make it FIZZIER??? ::)