Where do I get a SCOBY or kefir grains?

Where do I get a SCOBY or kefir grains?

Where do I get a SCOBY or kefir grains?

You’d have a generous fermenting buddy who would share with you in an ideal world. If you’re the first in your group to start fermenting, there are alternative choices, with the internet being the finest source.

Anything these days can be found on the internet. There are some amazing databases of individuals from all over the globe that are eager to share their SCOBYs and grains with everyone, sometimes for free. A quick Google search should point you in the right direction, but here are a few ideas.
Worldwide: www.kombu.de; eBay: there are several fantastic dealers of SCOBYs and grains near you.
www.culturesforhealth.com for the United States and Canada.
Pink Farm (www.facebook.com/ourpinkfarm) in Australia; the Weston A. Price Foundation (www.westonaprice.org) has chapters in almost every state in the United States and in many other countries. Inquire with your local chapter leader about who has SCOBYs and grains to share.

KOMBUCHA Frequently Asked Questions

Is it still acceptable if my SCOBY has mold on it?

If you haven’t kept your SCOBY clean enough, mold may build on the surface. It will show as little fuzzy patches that are blue, green, or black in color. It resembles the mold that grows on bread. Unfortunately, if this occurs to your SCOBY, you have lost it. It’s better to toss it in the trash or add it to your compost pile and start again.

My SCOBY has made some buddies. What are their names?

If your SCOBY has stringy brown stuff hanging from it that looks like connective tissue, believe it or not, this is a positive thing! These are yeast strands. They may also congregate in blobs. Everything is fine.

The SCOBY has a distinct personality. When I check on their development, I often find myself conversing with them. I’m sure this is beneficial! A SCOBY that has floating yeast fragments and elevated globs is a happy SCOBY.

It’s very normal for it to grow lumps, holes, or jelly-like spots. It should not be totally simple and clean with no discoloration, since this indicates that it is dormant and hence will not ferment the tea. Yeast strains may come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

They may also be observed floating about in the liquid, doing whatever they like.
Alternatively, there might be a small group of them producing sediment at the bottom of the jar.
All of these are natural by-products of fermentation.

Why does my kombucha have a foggy haze on the surface?

Great! Don’t get your hands on it. After you’ve added your SCOBY to your tea, transport the jar to your preferred fermentation location and let it alone. The beginning of the new mother is this haze or nearly oily-looking layer on the surface.

Depending on the temperature of your house, it normally starts to develop after a number of days of brewing.

This process is disrupted if you shake the jar about in the water, and it will take longer to form again. While your new SCOBY is developing, keep the jar as motionless as possible.

Should a SCOBY float or sink?

During the fermentation process, the SCOBY may migrate about. This is very endearing to me, like a cat shifting about in its basket looking for the comfiest spot.
Your SCOBY may float towards the top, middle, or bottom of the pool, and it could move about a lot. It might be horizontal or vertical in nature.

It may merge with the freshly formed mother if it reaches the top. You may either carefully peel the two apart when fermentation is done, or utilize the newly fused supersize SCOBY for your next batch.

How can I tell whether it’s functioning or not?

In a successful kombucha, there are three primary indicators to look for.
The first is the creation of a new mother on the liquid’s surface. The formation of yeast particles and stringy structures is the second step. Finally, the liquid should have a bit vinegary and less sweet flavor than before.

If none of these occurs, your mother’s health may be jeopardized. It’s possible that the original liquid was too heated when you introduced the SCOBY, killing it; it might also be chlorinated water, or it could be too cold. For fermentation, kombucha likes a temperature of 75° to 85°F (24° to 30°C).

You may buy sophisticated kombucha warming mats or simply wait for it to ferment on its own, as long as the mother is still alive. People used to ferment kombucha in cold European settings, so you may simply need to be patient, since it will take a long time—possibly a few months. You’re alright as long as there’s no mold.

Another thing to keep in mind is that cigarette smoke, as well as consistent smoke from an open fire, such as a fireplace, may harm the SCOBY.

When it comes to kombucha, how sour should it be?

It’s crucial to pay attention to the acidity level of your tea. That’s what protects the tea from mold and bacteria until the SCOBY generates enough acid on its own. The amount of acidity in your tea and sugar, as well as the health of your SCOBY, may all affect the quantity of acidity. The kombucha should start with a pH of less than 4.6 and end between 2.5 and 4.0 to maintain the ideal habitat for your SCOBY.

Acidity is measured using the pH (potential hydrogen). It’s a term you’ve probably heard in relation to the human body or gardening and soil composition. We’re using it to make drinks in this situation. You may get affordable pH testing strips from your local pharmacy if you want to know the precise pH of your brew.

However, testing is unnecessary; as long as your brew is somewhat sour, you’re on the correct route.

What if I don’t feel like brewing right now?

When compared to kefir, kombucha is fairly robust. You may put your surplus SCOBYs into hibernation when you need a break from brewing or wish to store them. Fill a clean glass jar halfway with brewed, unflavored kombucha tea, cover, and store in the refrigerator until ready to brew again.

Walter Trupp of Melbourne’s Trupps Cooking School (and fermenting fanatic) claims his SCOBY has been good for years.

What’s the greatest kind of tea?

The ideal tea for kombucha brewing is black tea, although there are many of alternative options. The SCOBY feeds on the tannins and polyphenols present in tea from the Camellia sinensis family, in addition to sugar.

Green, white, and rooibos teas are all excellent choices. Pu-erh tea is a fermented Chinese tea that is often advised for kombucha. The leaves of pu-erh tea are fermented by natural bacteria that live on them. When producing kombucha, yerba maté works well as a replacement for black tea.

Herbal teas have fewer tannins or polyphenols (or none at all) than black teas. That isn’t to suggest you can’t use herbal teas in your brews, but it’s better to conduct a black tea brew every couple of batches to replenish the SCOBY and maintain it healthy. To help your SCOBY survive to a ripe old age, you may brew it with half black tea and part herbal tea.

Experimentation is crucial when it comes to herbal teas. I suggest starting with the black tea and sugar combo to acquire a feel for producing kombucha.
Feel free to experiment with whatever tea you choose after your confidence and backup collection of SCOBYs have grown. Herbal teas containing volatile oils, on the other hand, are considered to deteriorate and harm the SCOBY. Peppermint, spearmint, rosemary, sage, and, to a lesser degree, chamomile are among the examples.

If you wish to include these herbs in your brew, do so during the second fermentation to avoid damaging your SCOBY. Any herbal teas you use should also be organic.

What about the stimulant?

The amount of caffeine left behind after the fermentation process is negligible. Caffeine levels are typically reduced by two-thirds throughout the fermentation process. As a result, the quantity of tea remaining will vary depending on the kind of tea you started with.

Sandor Katz writes in his book The Art of Fermentation that a completed brew of black tea kombucha has 3.4 mg caffeine per 100 ml, which is significantly less than a cup of black tea.

Most individuals are unaffected by this dose of caffeine. If, on the other hand, all it takes is a whiff of a caramel macchiato to keep you up all night, here are some tips for lowering the caffeine concentration of your kombucha.

Plunging your tea bag into a cup of hot water for approximately 30 seconds, then removing the tea bag, tipping out the liquid, and starting again with the same tea bag and new water is an ancient method for decreasing the caffeine in your cup of tea. This method eliminates around half of the caffeine from the final product.

Alternatively, make your tea using a blend of Camellia sinesis teas. Makeup just one-third of your tea mix with black tea, and the balance with green or white tea, both of which are inherently caffeine-free.

Finally, include herbal teas like rooibos, which is caffeine-free and delicious. After a few of batches, be sure to give your SCOBY some pure black tea.

What about the amount of sugar in it?

Although the sugar in kombucha may turn some people off, it is mostly used to feed the SCOBY, not to sweeten the drink. According to the website culturesforhealth.com, 1 to 2 grams of sugar are present in 8 ounces (235 ml) of finished unflavored kombucha, which is a very little quantity.

What’s the deal with that odor?

At the conclusion of the fermenting phase, your kombucha should smell somewhat vinegary. The longer you let it alone, the more vinegary it will smell. If you detect any foul odors, it’s an indication that your SCOBY isn’t feeling well. Cheesy scents, rotten odors, and eau de filthy socks are not typical, and if you notice any of these, toss it away and start again.

Help! Why isn’t my kombucha fermenting?

One of my favorite aspects of kombucha (among many) is that it produces a nicely carbonated beverage that is both delicious and refreshing.
The SCOBY creates a seal at the top of the jar during the fermentation process, and the beneficial bacteria and yeasts begin to devour the sugar in the tea, leaving the natural by-product of carbonation. You may have left your kombucha to brew for too long if it isn’t bubbly.

Overfermentation not only results in an excessively acidic, vinegary final product, but it also kills out most of the beneficial bacteria and yeasts, as they have depleted all of their food sources (the sugar).

Don’t allow your initial ferment to become too sour if you want a nice, sparkling kombucha—just keep tasting it to see whether it’s ready. Transfer it to a separate airtight container for the second fermentation with your selected fruit, juice, or other flavors after you’re pleased with it. The yeasts will spring to life and feast on the fruit’s fresh sugars, resulting in more carbonation for you.

KEFIR Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to kefir grains and kefir starter, what’s the difference?

A kefir starter is a powdered product comprising bacterial strains and whey powder, while kefir grains are the real culture. The kefir starter usually has seven or eight distinct bacterial strains, while the kefir culture has around fifty. Both the grains and the starter may be reused over time, however the starter can only be used about five times before it becomes unusable.

Kefir starters are more convenient for individuals who just want to prepare a batch of kefir every now and then, but in my experience, kefir grains provide a far superior result—and are more fun!

What happens if I want to take a vacation from kefir brewing?

There are two methods to give your kefir grains a break. Put them in a small glass jar with a tiny bit of leftover brewed kefir and store in the refrigerator airtight. You may also dehydrate the grains by rinsing them completely in filtered water and placing them on an unbleached piece of paper.

Dry for three to five days, or until thoroughly dry, on parchment or baking paper at room temperature. Refrigerate for about six months in an airtight container.
Treat the grains as you would any new batch of kefir to rehydrate them again; however, it may take two brews for them to recover their strength.”

What are the signs that my milk is fermenting into kefir?

The milk will thicken and get sourer as it thickens to a drinkable yogurt consistency. It’ll also have a sour yogurt-like aroma. By fermenting your kefir for a longer or shorter period of time, you may change the sourness. If your kefir smells or tastes bad, don’t drink it.

What does it taste like when you drink kefir?

Kefir is a fermented milk drink that has a distinct flavor. It has a sour flavor and is mildly effervescent, however, the taste varies depending on the period of fermentation. It’s great in smoothies and other dishes. Whether you’re hesitant, buying some ready-made kefir and tasting it before investing the time to ferment your own is an excellent option.

This way, you’ll know what it’s meant to taste like and if you enjoy it. Your homemade kefir will have a higher concentration of beneficial bacteria than store-bought kinds, and it will be far less expensive.

What kinds of milk are suitable for kefir fermentation?

Cow, goat, sheep, or coconut milk may all be used. Start by culturing a few batches in cow’s milk, then try experimenting with various milk. In order to keep your grains happy and healthy, I recommend returning them to a dairy milk brew every second or third batch.

Milk with long shelf life or that has been ultra-pasteurized should be avoided.
If you can get any non-homogenized milk, you’ll notice that the top layer of kefir becomes a bit more yellow as the cream rises to the top.

You should gradually wean your kefir grains onto raw milk, according to the website culturesforhealth.com. Make sure your grains are happy and producing nice kefir before adding a little raw milk to your next batch, then a little more for the batch after that, and so on, until you’ve reached 100 percent raw milk. This allows the grains to develop their own bacteria before competing with those present in raw milk.