Author Topic: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content  (Read 103967 times)

Offline natural

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Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« on: June 06, 2006, 11:48:41 AM »
Anyone looking for an interesting (and fun) homeschool project that makes a great (in my opinion) energizing drink, try making Kombucha.

Here is a link to the "Mother" site for Kombucha info:

http://www.kombu.de/

My wife hates this stuff, but I love it. It has actually been years since I made any since we have lived in a small house for so long, and it helps to have at least a little spare space... but here is my great "pitch" story:

When I was in college living alone and taking more hours that was rational, I would go to class at about 7am and usually had classes till noon at least three days a week. Then I would have an afternoon class or two. Those afternoon classes were killers.

I would go home to eat a quick burrito or something, and by the time I got back for an afternoon class I was ready to sleep! Then a friend turned me on to Kombucha. I thought it tasted great, and started brewing my own. I would drink a bottle with lunch, and it was amazing... by the time I got back to afternoon classes I was wide awake and ready for class. The first couple of times I just thought I had gotten too much sleep the night before, however I figured it out after the third or fourth day. Wow... that stuff was great.

It is a strong diuretic, however, and I had to remember to drink more water, but that was probably a good thing too.

Unfortunately I don't have any spare starters around, so those of you that want to try it will have to buy or borrow one somewhere else... (like here!)

Disclaimer: Kombucha is slightly alcoholic (usually .5% to 1%. For comparrison: most alcohol based tinctures are usually about 2%, beer is usually 6%, and quality wine ranges between 12% and 18%) however the main healthful product of the ferment is glucuronic acid.

--gabe



I just got 2 cultures of Kombucha in the mail, along with my kefir cultures. I am excited to try it but I just read here that is has alcohol content...YIKES...do you know what the % of alcohol that is in a ripe banana? If I could have that to compare it to it would be better...my hubby won't gasp as much :-[ :-\
Does it also still have caffine from the tea or does that "wash-out"? I am loopy enough...don't need any help :o
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Offline Gabe Rising

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2006, 12:35:02 PM »
Well I really don't know how much alcohol is in a ripe banana, but the FDA allows up to .5% alcohol in any food product... that includes fruit juices, fresh fruit, whatever...

So, if its up to the FDA, dry Kombucha is "Non-Alcoholic" and sweet Kombucha is just barely alcoholic...

Apple Cider ranges from almost no alcohol to 8% or more (often called "hard cider").

Most home made kefir is also .5% to 1% alcohol.

All fermentation is the process of converting sugars to alcohols or acids. In the case of Kombucha, Vinegar, Kefir, even yogurt, the main product is an acid of one type or another... however there will usually also be a tiny alcohol component.

I guess the reason I mentioned the alcohol it is that there are a lot of people that are against alcohol on principle... which is weird, but I guess its their point of view. Muslims are generally the most stringent followed closely by various US Christian denominations. There are some soft drinks that are brewed and have about .5% alcohol... and Muslims cannot drink or sell them!

OH... and the cafeinne content is the same as is in the tea that you use to make the Kombucha. You should try it, though. I drink a lot of caffeine I guess... maybe three glasses of green tea a day... but I think that the caffeine in Kombucha is not as significant as other components in its effect on the body.

--gabe

PS: I got a new starter myself, and in a month or two I should have spare "mothers" to pass around if anyone is interested...
« Last Edit: June 06, 2006, 12:38:50 PM by Gabriel Anast »

Offline lotsaboys

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2006, 08:14:49 AM »
I don't know if this will be much help, but I'll try...  :)

We've had very good success with our kombucha tea, which was more than I expected because I didn't think we did anything super special, however, we always brew ours at least 10 days and often more. We got test sticks to check the ph level and we never reached the correct number until it brewed for 10-14 days. By then the mushroom has a nice, thick, healthy baby. We usually toss out the mother and use only the babies for our next batch. (except when we were multiplying our gallons- working up to a total of 5)

And we've always used glass gallon jars with a cloth on top secured with a rubber band.

I wish I could see your "gunky" babies...  Ours are not always flat, occasionally they will be very bumpy and some will have more brown guck on than others, but they still keep making delicious tea! Also the "tea colored" you mentioned is normal with ours.

I'm wondering if you would brew longer and don't put the baby back in with the mother (give it a chance to make it on its own   :D ) if that would help? I'm not an expert, we've only been doing this for about 6 months, but maybe this gives you some hope.  :)

Offline lotsaboys

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2006, 03:49:05 PM »
Basically, yes. That is a sign the sugar and caffeine are gone. A ph level of 3.0 or lower is best and at that point it is sweet/sour with a bite to it. Like vinegar or cider.

Offline jenny4wen

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2006, 09:55:33 AM »
The "mother" or "mushroom"  is called a SCOBY, an acronym meaning
Symbiotic
Culture
Of
Bacteria and
Yeast. 

Found it on Dom's Kombucha sight.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2006, 12:40:28 PM by jenny4wen »
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Offline healthybratt

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2006, 11:49:26 AM »
Just in case you were wondering "what's in Kombucha".  I looked it up for someone else. 

Quote
Biology of Kombucha

The tea contains a symbiosis of yeast species and acetic acid bacteria, mostly Bacterium xylinum. Species of yeast found in the tea can vary, and may include: Brettanomyces bruxellensis, Candida stellata, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Torulaspora delbrueckii and Zygosaccharomyces bailii. The culture itself looks somewhat like a large pancake, and is often mistakenly referred to as a mushroom.

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kombucha
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Offline healthyinOhio

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2006, 09:28:45 AM »
I had wondered if the final product of Kombucha contained any residual caffeine, but found this on a site:

"As your brew ages, the culture will create a "baby" culture on the surface of the tea. The culture, which is alive, begins to process the sugar and caffeine in the tea. That's why you need to use real sugar and real tea. No Splenda, no decaf. Don't worry, your final product will be both sugar and caffeine free. The sugar and caffeine is there for the culture to eat. Not you."
http://www.chezpei.com/2006/03/kombucha-report.html

I think Gabe mentioned that it still has the same amount of caffeine that it began with and I tend to think it does, too.  So, is the above correct?  Or are there so many different sites of information on Kombucha?

Offline abbilynn

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2006, 11:13:14 AM »
Thanks chopchop.  ;D

So, can I let it sit on the kitchen counter for the ten days since that's the warmest place?  Or does it have to be somewhere dark?  Also, anyone know if it still contains yeast after it brews?  I want to give it to my son but he's allergic to yeast. 

Rebekah, if I'm just starting my first batch should I use the starter tea or just the baby? 

AH!  :o ???  This is all sorta complicated!  Too much info, I think I'm in overload.  :-\
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Offline healthyinOhio

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2006, 04:21:04 PM »
healthy in OH - actually those are the two types of yeasts he IS allergic to - brewer's and baker's.  That's a bummer!  I was hoping I could give him some.  And when he gets yeast in his system, he's off the wall (aggressive, irritable, NOT good  :o)  So, if it does still contain the yeast, I won't even try it on him. 


It does contain yeast, but I am not sure what kinds or strands.  Maybe some more experienced people know.  Maybe it is on the web.  Hmmm....maybe I am interested, now, too!!  I am allergic to yeast, the same two as well.  Not much, though.  This should be interesting.

Offline healthyinOhio

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2006, 04:44:26 PM »


It does contain yeast, but I am not sure what kinds or strands.   

Okay, found this on Wipekedia:

The tea contains a symbiosis of yeast species and acetic acid bacteria, mostly Bacterium xylinum. Species of yeast found in the tea can vary, and may include: Brettanomyces bruxellensis, Candida stellata, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Torulaspora delbrueckii and Zygosaccharomyces bailii. The culture itself looks somewhat like a large pancake, and is often mistakenly referred to as a mushroom.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kombucha

You can go to the Wipekedia link and click on each type of "yeast".  I don't recall reading anything associated with baker's or brewer's yeast.  So, I don't think it posses a problem.  Good luck in your decisions.

Offline healthybratt

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2006, 08:02:57 PM »
Also, this may sound like a dumb question, but...... my son is allergic to yeast.  Will he have a reaction to the tea? 
There are hundreds of species of yeast.  Is he allergic to them all or is he allergic to bread?  brewer's yeast?  If it's only one species, he should be fine.  Kombucha doesn't contain any of the standard species that most are accustomed to eating in the average diet.
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Offline abbilynn

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2006, 04:36:49 AM »
Thanks Healthy in OH  :)  I just read from that Gunther guy that the yeast in Kombucha actually helps fight the bad yeast in the gut.  So, if it doesn't contain the baker's or brewer's that he's allergic to, it would be great for him to drink b/c we are in the process of healing up his gut and getting rid of bad yeast.  Yay!  :D  I'll probably go ahead and give it a try.  Now I just have to be careful what flavor I make it b/c he is allergic to raspberry, mango, cinnamon and his brother is allergic to strawberries.  AH!!  DH bought lemon zinger for me last night so we'll try that first.  ;)

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Offline quiltnkerri

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2006, 05:05:04 AM »
I was just reading and was horrified when I realized in my current batch (only my second) I used decaffinated green tea! Is there any hope for this batch or should I just dump it out? It looks like it's growing a baby. Also I was curious about different ways of flavoring kombucha. We used ginger and this time we're using rasberry zinger. What is cranberyy kombucha how do you make it. I'm a diet pepsi addict! I want to find a replacement so the more flavor the better!

Offline SarahK

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2006, 05:43:44 AM »
I was just reading and was horrified when I realized in my current batch (only my second) I used decaffinated green tea! Is there any hope for this batch or should I just dump it out? It looks like it's growing a baby. Also I was curious about different ways of flavoring kombucha. We used ginger and this time we're using rasberry zinger. What is cranberyy kombucha how do you make it. I'm a diet pepsi addict! I want to find a replacement so the more flavor the better!

I will only be 'harvesting' my first batch tomorrow -so take my words as one who has read, but not had much experience:

I would just keep an eye on your decaf batch & see what happens - especially if you have another SCOBY going along fine elsewhere.  If it looks like it's forming a baby & otherwise 'acting normal', assume it's normal.  AND - report back here with the results!!  This would be great news for those who are concerned about caffeine.

Here is the link to Cranberry Kombucha.

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2006, 07:18:38 AM »
I was just reading and was horrified when I realized in my current batch (only my second) I used decaffinated green tea! Is there any hope for this batch or should I just dump it out? It looks like it's growing a baby. Also I was curious about different ways of flavoring kombucha. We used ginger and this time we're using rasberry zinger. What is cranberyy kombucha how do you make it. I'm a diet pepsi addict! I want to find a replacement so the more flavor the better!

I will only be 'harvesting' my first batch tomorrow -so take my words as one who has read, but not had much experience:

I would just keep an eye on your decaf batch & see what happens - especially if you have another SCOBY going along fine elsewhere.  If it looks like it's forming a baby & otherwise 'acting normal', assume it's normal.  AND - report back here with the results!!  This would be great news for those who are concerned about caffeine.

Here is the link to Cranberry Kombucha.

Sarah K

Decaf tea will always "work", meaning it will make a baby.  The issue is whether your resulting tea is as healthy as if you would have used caffienated.  I am not totally certain which way I go on that issue, but I do believe the caffeine is basically gone.  Caffeinated is supposed to produce a healthier tea.

Offline lotsaboys

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2006, 07:45:25 AM »
Nickole is right. With de-caf you will still make a baby, but will not have a high amount of glucuronic acid (a potent detoxifying substance) in your tea. From what I've read, I've learned that in the brewing process, white sugar and caffeine are transformed into lactic acid and alcohol (a very small percentage). Flavored teas are OK to throw in a small amount, but black or green tea as your main tea will give best results.

I guess it depends whether you're more interested in taste results or if you simply want to drink it for detoxifying and other beneficial reasons. I think you can have both. :)  We have never flavored our tea and like it just fine, but I do want to try a flavor sometime just for something different.

Oh, another side note from my reading: Non-organic tea is high in fluoride so always use organic tea.

Offline healthyinOhio

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2006, 04:39:19 PM »
Okay, I tried the "frozen" scoby this week.  I am not exactly sure if it did or did not work?  It started to form a baby, but took too long(mine forms solid in five days and this was just starting to form after seven).  So, I don't know.  What do you guys think?

Also, does anyone else have any solid information as to whether the caffeine still exists in its normal amounts after the kombucha is done?  I have heard conflicting theories.

Offline SarahK

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2006, 04:45:50 PM »
Also, does anyone else have any solid information as to whether the caffeine still exists in its normal amounts after the kombucha is done?  I have heard conflicting theories.

I don't have solid info - but I have my own 'caffeine detector' that I am using.  I seem to have become pretty sensitive to caffeine.  After consuming a 12pak or more of Diet Pepsi a day in my early 20s, I get headaches quickly after drinking caffeine.  We had our first Kombucha tonight & I had a slight headache for a bit, but nothing definate.  All the jars I have working now are with caffeine, so when I get more to test on myself, I may be able to make my own conclusions for me. 

But a nice little $1.95 'dip-stick'test would be really nice-
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Offline Lovin'myHoneyinVT

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #18 on: December 26, 2006, 05:43:40 PM »
Black tea always gives me a slight headache from the caffeine and I found the Kombucha did the same but even a little less.  I am sure there is still some caffeine in it only because of the headache, IMHO.   ;D
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Offline SarahK

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2007, 11:33:17 AM »
Also, does anyone else have any solid information as to whether the caffeine still exists in its normal amounts after the kombucha is done?  I have heard conflicting theories.

I don't have solid info - but I have my own 'caffeine detector' that I am using.  I seem to have become pretty sensitive to caffeine.  After consuming a 12pak or more of Diet Pepsi a day in my early 20s, I get headaches quickly after drinking caffeine.  We had our first Kombucha tonight & I had a slight headache for a bit, but nothing definate.  All the jars I have working now are with caffeine, so when I get more to test on myself, I may be able to make my own conclusions for me. 

But a nice little $1.95 'dip-stick'test would be really nice-
Sarah K

Well, we opened two bottles to share with friends last night.  It was made wtih 100% caffeinated black tea (no decaf or herbal).  I got a mild headache within 10 minutes.  45 minutes later it was worse & I asked everyone else if they felt anything.  Nope - it was just me.  So, I'm anxious to see if the green tea (that has less caffeine than the black) works better.  If that still gives me headaches, I'm gonna lean to batches made with half herbal teas.  

Don't be concerned if you are new & using caffeine tea - keep at it.  As I posted before, it appears that I'm super-ultra-sensitive to caffeine.  

Beyond that, 36 has been GREAT- much better than 26 & 16 ever were-
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Offline SarahK

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2007, 07:16:36 AM »
EUREKA!!

I opened a bottle today & it *POPPED* just like a champagne bottle!  Cool. And it tastes nummy too.

On the down side, I still have caffeine problems with it most of the time, but If I use 3 bags green tea and 3 bags herbal tea - I can drink it without headaches (see my above post about my caffeine sensitivity).

Thanks for they help HB & all you others sharing your tips-
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Offline healthyinOhio

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2007, 03:27:29 PM »


i hope this doesnt' happen to me!  i have this recipe going, and i smelled it tuesday and it smelled a lot like vinegar.   :P  so i left it and plan on bottling at the 14 day mark.  i figured Rebecca had it down to a science??  sure hope so!   ::) 

I am no expert, but I am willing to bet that if it smells like vinegar........

This is what I am trying to get at.  One says 14 days for a gallon of tea and another says 10 works best.  That is fine, but I am worried that at 10 days it is not done digesting the sugar and such.  How does one know exactly when the perfect timing is?  Is my question  making more sense, now?  ;)

Offline Simply Kristen

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2007, 04:41:22 PM »
This is what I am trying to get at.  One says 14 days for a gallon of tea and another says 10 works best.  That is fine, but I am worried that at 10 days it is not done digesting the sugar and such.  How does one know exactly when the perfect timing is?  Is my question  making more sense, now?  ;)

The first couple times I made Kombucha... I didn't let it sit long enough.
It tasted fine, but it felt HEAVY in my stomach. Weird I know... but I think it's b/c of the sugar.

So, I accidently let it sit longer the next time and IT TASTED MUCH BETTER... and NO "heaviness".

I suppose it's all personal preference, but still......Don't be afraid to let it sit longer than 7-10 days.

JMO

Offline servantgirl

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2007, 07:15:36 PM »
OK, I have questions-
First of all, I am on a "diet" which doesn't allow me to eat sugar. Can I still drink my kombucha? I assume that it's OK since the scoby would eat up the sugar before I get to drink it, but does anyone know? BTW, does anyone have any idea how many calories k has?

One more: Whenever I drink the kombucha, I feel sooo good.  8) As soon as I drink it I feel a funny feeling spread through my body, almost as if I can feel it being poured over me, it's that rapid.  :o It starts at my head and chest, and spreads out my arms and then down to my feet. Every single time I drink it. It's a warm, calming feeling. What's that caused by?
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Offline abbilynn

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2007, 11:37:04 AM »
So, if there's still white, processed sugar left in the brew after harvest (especially since we can't drink it when it tastes like vinegar!) how can it be good for you?  I've read that it helps with yeast problems, but that just doesn't make sense if there's sugar IN IT.  Any thoughts on this?  ??? ???

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Offline healthyinOhio

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2007, 07:43:08 AM »
So, does this stuff have caffeine in it or not when it's done brewing?

abbilynn

Well......it is not supposed to, but I tend to disagree.  Seems to be the question of the century!  ;)

Offline healthyinOhio

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2007, 09:54:09 AM »
ok, carolina chic--but after i put it into jars (strained through a t shirt) it grows more stringy stuff!  so each time we want a glass we are having to strain it.  am i doing something wrong? 

This is what my hubby was wondering too.  He says if  the scoby eats the sugar and caffeine, then it shouldn't have anything left over to "detox" when your done.  This is what has me questioning just how much of the Kombucha sugar and caffeine is really consumed during brewing.

Offline 4myhoonie

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2007, 10:20:12 AM »
my hubby loved the ginger brew at 15 days  :o  holy cow!!!  it was potent!!!  he asked me to make more!

What can you say?  Your hubby likes his Kombucha like he likes his chili!!  ;D

LOL!  yup you are right!  he is a big guy and does everything big and bold!   :o  he likes Merlot very much too, has a new batch (1st one) brewing in the basement right now.  we are running out of room for brewing all this stuff!   8)   
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Offline boysmama

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2007, 10:30:11 AM »
ok, carolina chic--but after i put it into jars (strained through a t shirt) it grows more stringy stuff!  so each time we want a glass we are having to strain it.  am i doing something wrong? 

This is what my hubby was wondering too.  He says if  the scoby eats the sugar and caffeine, then it shouldn't have anything left over to "detox" when your done.  This is what has me questioning just how much of the Kombucha sugar and caffeine is really consumed during brewing.
Perhaps it is like wine... since there is nothing left to feed off of the yeast dies and settles and you have to rack the wine several times to get it cleared...

Offline SarahK

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Re: Kombucha: Alcohol, pH, Caffeine, Sugar & Culture Content
« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2007, 11:13:37 AM »
ok, carolina chic--but after i put it into jars (strained through a t shirt) it grows more stringy stuff!  so each time we want a glass we are having to strain it.  am i doing something wrong? 

This is what my hubby was wondering too.  He says if  the scoby eats the sugar and caffeine, then it shouldn't have anything left over to "detox" when your done.  This is what has me questioning just how much of the Kombucha sugar and caffeine is really consumed during brewing.

HIO - do you have a "caffeine theory" going there? 

I'm doing a pseudo-test here.  I really like the Bucha - but it's gonna kill me.  First, it gives me a perfect caffeine headache (it's exactly like the headcaches I get from coffee, tea, Coke, etc in time of onset, intensity, etc).  And, if I drink it anyway every day for 3 days - I'm hooked & get my "I Need Caffeine" headache (same one I get with coffee, etc).

Second, my youngest kids don't sleep well the nights we have it with supper.  Not nice.

So shhh... Don't tell SC this.... I'm brewing Kombucha with all decaf tea.  So far I've just done 3 bags decaf green (or black) plus 3 bags Celestial Seasonings Herbal per gallon & it 'looks' fine.  I'll harvest my first gallon of this variety tomorrow & we'll let it age for 4-5 days.

If you (or anyone else) has good info about how nasty I am being to my buchas - please let me know & put a big Shame On You on my profile.... there is that option on here, right?  Or is that only accessible by Moderators?

Sarah K
I have learned enough to know I still have lots to learn.  Teach me.
My WTM Intro updated 9/2010