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 Post subject: Kombucha
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 11:21 pm 
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I reckon that there is some relationship to making your own micro brew beer as well so JB might chime in on this as he does make his own brew. I didn't realize that fermentation was such a large subject. There is certainly a lot of variation of methods as to the right way to make Kombucha tea.

One thing of note is the alcohol content. Since it is sold in stores in bottles, and since it does indeed contain some alcohol, even if a very low content, it could fall under the jurisdiction of those that control alcohol in the government. So in an effort to prevent variations I think they have them pasteurize those brands to prevent them from further fermentation in the bottle and therefore may reduce some of the beneficial effects of the Kombucha (Cha in Korean means tea and the name of the person that cured the emperor of an illness with it in China was named Kombu so it was named Kombu's-tea or Kombucha.)(?). (But then the mushroom is considered Kombucha as well so who knows.)

Apparently there are many benefits from drinking Kombucha and it can be made using different types of tea but usually not with added ingredients such as with English Breakfast tea which contains Bergamot. It has to do with the yeast of the mushroom acting with the tea to create the necessary fermentation to digest the sugar which can be interfered with by the oil of Bergamot. Many things can be fermented however which can create many different types of drinks and various amounts of alcohol. But in this case we want the health ingredients of the Kombucha tea as it can balance out the body so it can actually do the healing since the tea probably can not do much on it's own other than in the case of the detoxifying effect of the contents of the acids created in the fermentation process. Some say it taste good and drink it a lot.

So anyway, if you have anything to add or discuss, please chime in especially if you have had experience with it. To me it is a fascinating subject while anything that can prevent diseases to me is fascinating, in this day and age of cancer rates increasing at an alarming rate, you'd think everyone would be interested in finding something that could help our immune system to fight off these illnesses. I'm always looking for helpful methods to avoid having to pay doctors and hospitals because I'm not in the business of supporting those entities. I'm glad they are there when needed but it's not my job to fund them. I'd rather die in my sleep healthy than suffer for years broke and sick in a hospital any day.

Here is a site with some really good scientific information based on research:
http://www.phoenixhelix.com/2013/03/25/ ... vs-truths/


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 Post subject: Re: Kombucha
PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:42 am 
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I never heard about Kombucha until your post. The fermentation is a bit different than the one of the yeast for beer, but the process is very similar. And it seems in Germany its treated on the same level as "alcohol free beer" - which can have up to 2% Alcohol.

I can imagine that it has some benefit for the health of the body. The yeast in the beer also has the reputation to help reducing inflammation within the body, and beer general has some positive effect for the heart (of course only if you drink with moderation).

I take kind of a middle ground in this issue as our health system is still quite excellent. True, sometimes the "chemical club" might be used to often, but a lot of doctors also supplement the treatment with other means like traditional chinese medicine and so on.

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"There is a great advantage in training under unfavorable conditions. It is better to train under bad conditions, for the difference is then a tremendous relief in a race."
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 Post subject: Re: Kombucha
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 1:38 am 
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Thanks for the info JB, and I'm glad your health system is more open minded then here in the US. The AMA (American Medical Association) and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) are tools of the drug companies as they don't like competition with medical systems that take away from their sales. That's not just a saying either, it's what is, because the Lobbyist for the Drug companies keep the pocket books full for those that make the laws in this country. If they had their way Chinese medicine would be outlawed as well as Chiropractic medicine and all Natural Medicine. It's no wonder out health care system is the highest in the world and yet we have some of the sickest people.

In this country Cancer is running rampant and the only prescribed method of treatment will kill you if the Cancer doesn't. That's why one has to fend for themselves if they intend to survive the medical system. That's a very sad commentary on out medical care. Some of the problem is that the doctors are not trained in nutrition and in many cases are funded by the drug companies which is a conflict of interest if you ask me. The typical method is to take a natural occurring drug, find a way to synthesize it, patent it, then charge a fortune for it. That doesn't say much for really caring about the people they make these drugs for. It's always about money.

The doctors receive samples of these drugs and told to try them out on their patients then report back how they work. So in effect, we are guinea pigs and paying for it on top of that. Usually they test drugs on mice or other animals but not usually humans until later when they get approval to use the drug. The whole system sucks! So it pays to be informed and research all one can on natural medicine to find what actually works. I hardly ever have need for doctors unless it is something like an accident or emergency situation. Most people have a hard time believing I'm in my 70's. I've had to prove it with my drivers license at times. But I don't care about that I care about finding what works and spread the word to others and then they can make up their mind if they want to try it to see if it works for them. However, too many times they are so convinced that our doctors know more that they take the prescribed methods of treatment and in many cases die from it. You can take a horse to water but you can't make them drink it!

Regarding the Kombucha however, I believe I read where it is in a way considered like a yeast because it does in fact provide benefits of a pro-biotic and and provides good bacteria. What they call the Scoby is what results which you can save or pass along. I wouldn't want the bottled kind sold in some stores because like I said before the ATF (alcohol, tobacco, and firearms) made them pasteurize the Kombucha to prevent it from further fermentation which would increase the alcohol content from the less than 1%. The pasteurization unfortunately destroys some of the good stuff in it. That is exactly the same problem with Organic Milk, it is Ultra pasteurized which also kills the enzymes. So effectively, we can only buy what they call safe foods but then they become sterile of the life force that we need in the first place to help our immune system. Kind of self defeating if you ask me but then everyone has their own opinion on that I guess.

The only problem I am going to have trying to ferment this stuff is the temperature regulation. It is suggested to keep it at 85 degrees f. My house will be much cooler in the winter as I usually have it less than 70 degrees. I don't like the house to be too hot in the winter as I like to prevent large temperature swings when going in and out of the house. I know women like it much warmer, ha ha. I would use a light bulb but it is supposed to remain in a darkened environment since it really is like a mushroom. I'm not sure how I will overcome this problem yet. Perhaps keeping it on top of the refrigerator will help some. The heat from the compressor exchange usually keeps it warmer on top of the refrigerator. I'll have to keep check of that temperature to see what it really is.

When making beer, is temperature a problem in the fermentation? I know that making Apple Jack it doesn't matter if there is a temperature swing as I have seen it made outdoors in barrels and the evenings are much cooler than the day time. I suppose temperature control would work better for that too for increasing the alcohol content. Do you have to check the pH as well for making beer? Apple Jack will turn to vinegar if it is left beyond a certain point.


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 Post subject: Re: Kombucha
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 2:48 am 
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The health care system was always a major point point for me not to live in the US. I actually tried to get a Green Card in the 90ies...

Well you could try to use a heating pot - where you can control the temperature, and keep it at 85 degrees. I guess you only need to have it at this degree for a couple of days... As long as the fermentation lasts..?

In making beer the temperature for the yeast is very important. There are two types of yeast: one which needs low temperature (around 50 degree F), and one which needs higher temperature (around 65 F). But i have no chance to get the temperature right for the lower one. Still it works and in the end you have beer, but itemperature has s significant impact on how its tasting and how long the fermentation lasts.

No i dont check the pH. You can see it on the foam and bubbles and general activity in the beer, when the fermentation is finished. What i check is the so called "non fermentable remaining extract": this is necessary to know how much alcohol your beer has, and also an indicator if the fermentation is finished.

The Kombucha seems to be some kind of high temperature yeast - because 85 degree is a lot!

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"There is a great advantage in training under unfavorable conditions. It is better to train under bad conditions, for the difference is then a tremendous relief in a race."
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 Post subject: Re: Kombucha
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 7:51 pm 
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Thanks for your input JB, and the fermentation is supposed to take from 7 to 14 days so that's a pretty long time to maintain the temperature. However, it will still ferment even if it drops down a little but it slows the reaction considerably and extends the time to up to 30 days. I read about the bubbles as an indicator but the thing to watch for is when it reaches a certain point it will turn to vinegar so that's why I mentioned the pH. I will have a very low pH anyway just because of the fermentation but it can continue to drop and ruin the taste but still be good to use. Braggs Organic Apple Cider vinegar is an example when it is vinegar but still has the "mother" in it which you can put into other apple cider vinegar and cause it to ferment even further and grow the "mother" in it as well. I have seen some bottles where it looks like spider webs in the vinegar. That's the good stuff!

The coby is pretty much like that because if you add some to the next batch it takes a lot less time to make so perhaps once I get it going then maybe it won't take long at all and the other method is to just replace what you drank with new tea and sugar and it will continue to ferment along with what is already under process. It's kind of like a continuous process that maintains itself on a daily basis. I don't intend to drink lots of it everyday though but just enough to maintain the pro-biotic benefit and whatever other healing properties it provides in the form of a particular acid which I can't recall the name of right now. I should be getting the scoby this week so I can start it going.

Sounds like you are enjoying the heck out of those micro brews however, ha ha.


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 Post subject: Re: Kombucha
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 4:30 am 
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7 to 14 days is too long for a heating pot...but it seems the same as with yeast: lower temperature will work, it might take just longer and has effect on the taste....anyway i got curious and will try to make a Kombucha too - after reading a bit more about it. As long as it has sugar, it might continue to ferment.

Yes, i enjoy brewing much..coming saturday i will brew again and try a "Bockbier" (a stronger type of beer) again, as my first try did not work out entirely well (i guess because of the heat wave we had this summer in vienna).

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"There is a great advantage in training under unfavorable conditions. It is better to train under bad conditions, for the difference is then a tremendous relief in a race."
Emil Zatopek


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 Post subject: Re: Kombucha
PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2015 4:27 am 
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Well I got my scoby now so I will have to get it going. I should probably start with white tea but I will use organic cane juice crystallized though. I got one of those pickle jars with a wide mouth and some cheese cloth for the top. I guess it is supposed to remain open to the air. Now to find a place in the house that is warm enough....!

I use to drink dark beers years ago but regular beer was not something I got along with. I did however prefer Canadian Club and the likes. I sure drank a lot of hard liquor in those days and I'm surprised my liver is still intact today! Of course I haven't had any alcohol in years now. I'm pretty sure there is a way to determine the alcohol content as well. I suppose one could use a hydrometer.

It's interesting trying home made things though because you never know when a time might come where things aren't as available due to some disaster or such. It's like where would one get green vegetables during the winter if suddenly shipping stopped? Well, I have been experimenting in that as well by sprouting in the winter. The results vary but that could be due to temperature as well since my house isn't kept at a really warm temperature in the winter. It gets down to 60 over night in the house which might slow growth down some. Most greens need warm temperatures to grow good. You only green then with sunlight at the end of the sprouting though.

Bean sprouts and alfalfa sprouts are pretty easy to work with and do provide good nutrition in the winter. One might ask why I would even bother growing them since you can go to the grocery store and get them cheap enough but there is a reason. The past several years have shown that you can no longer trust imported vegetables. As an example, just today I hear on the news that two people have died from cucumbers being contaminated and a whole lot of people got deathly sick over them. They came from Mexico I think and there is the rub, during the winter, many vegetables come from Mexico and distributed in the USA. There has been too many cases of contaminated food coming from there of late. So what do you buy that is safe? That's one good reason to grow your own stuff unless you can get it locally from a green house.

At least you know what you are eating if you grow some of your own stuff, especially during the summer there is no excuse for not growing something if you have a small garden area or even pots. Vine ripened foods taste so much better than foods that are picked green and then ripened with gas once they reach their destination for redistribution. It doesn't hurt to can foods as well. I dehydrate lots of things for the winter months. That's so I don't have to chance buying the Mexico imported vegetables. (and other imports from South America) It's always healthier to eat foods grown in the area you live anyway.

Dates are available at the end of Summer so I usually get some of those and dehydrate them as well. When I make a pie that requires some sugar I use the dehydrated dates along with raisins. I cook up some apples and add those things in with it as well as cinnamon, then take some uncooked Tortillas and roll them up and bake them into what looks like a burrito only it is a desert. Kind of like a turnover. You can also add dried cherries to the mix as well. It's all healthy stuff compared to the stuff you buy in the store that is loaded with preservatives and sterilized to the point lacking much nutrient value. I was going to drink organic milk until I found out that it is Ultra Pasteurized. What good is it once they do that? It kills the enzymes from the heat. And that is the same story with many types of foods you buy processed. It's made to be on a shelf for awhile. That's why they make the jokes about Twinkies that last for years, ha ha. It's dead food with no nutrient value at all and even insects won't eat it.

So making your own brew is one way to insure you know what you are getting and how fresh it is. I was surprised to find that you can actually increase the alcohol content of Kombucha to as much as 10% by refermentation. (And from TEA?) That's pretty wild. But I'm sure one has to be cautious to not allow contamination to get into it or it could become deadly although I don't think it would be from germs as the alcohol content would kill that. I don't know enough about how the low alcohol content and bacteria would mix. Some bacteria produce chemicals that are hazardous to humans. So with anything home grown one should research the dangers if any that could result. Better safe than sorry. But anyway, it's good to learn some of these things.


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 Post subject: Re: Kombucha
PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 5:03 am 
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On the topic of fermentation and temperature. Not sure how Kombucha is reacting. But yesterday i gave the yeast into the brew, and today fermentation has already begun. Actually it started after about 12 hours after pouring the yeast into the brew.

The room temperature, where the brew is stored, is 68 degree and the yeat needs a temperature of around 50 to 57 degree F. Still it does work - maybe its a bit slower and i guess it also has an impact on the quality of the beer, but it works.

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"There is a great advantage in training under unfavorable conditions. It is better to train under bad conditions, for the difference is then a tremendous relief in a race."
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 Post subject: Re: Kombucha
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2015 3:51 pm 
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Interesting that what I have read of the purity law it does not mention yeast at all. Is that something new that was added to speed up production some many years ago? I have the actual mushroom that is made from the fermentation for the kombucha as I purchased it from my doctor whom gets if from friends that make it. I still should research it some more to find the true origin of Kombucha.

The warmest place in my house at present is atop of the refrigerator where the heat from the compressor comes out and even then it is only in the low 70° range at this time of year, I figure by winter it will be much lower. Perhaps that is why the variations in the time to make it as some say 7 days and others say 30 days. The mushroom they gave me however does have a distinct smell of alcohol and vinegar. Once I make some however I can just add some to the new batch and it will take off from there. I only used about a cup of raw organic sugar however in a half gallon of tea. It is just tea however and I'm wondering if I had just added the actual tea leaves what would happen? That's why I want to investigate it further. It's just like in Apple Jack, you have to have the apples in the barrel and not apple juice.

Speaking of which, this is the season for Cider. Today, Cider is nothing more than sugar loaded apple juice that they sell in the supermarkets. I wonder how it was made in the old days and was it other than containing alcohol? I would guess that is was actually unfiltered apple juice that was allowed to ferment without the need to add sugar since apples have their own sugar content. If someone knows, post it here.


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 Post subject: Re: Kombucha
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2015 4:00 pm 
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One other note about Kombucha, do not cut the mushroom (the Scoby) with metal, use a plastic knife or scissors. Also, do not allow it to reach a temperature higher than room temperature (although in some houses that could be close to 100° in un-airconditioned houses in the summer).
These are some of the things I am looking to investigate to verify. Apparently the mushroom (Scoby) which is usually a flat organic smooth surfaced growth tan colored at the top of the liquid in the jar, is sensitive to temperature much like some yeast is.

That is the problem with buying Kombucha at the store, it could be pasteurized which would kill fermenting properties which is why it was pasteurized in the first place so no further fermentation could take place increasing the alcohol content or exploding bottles. I wonder if pasteurization kills the good properties that is intended to aid your health? That is the problem with raw pasteurized milk, it's the same as regular pasteurized milk except it is not homogenized. So why pay more in that case since you are not getting true raw milk with all of the enzymes intact? Far better off finding a local dairy with clean facilities to buy your raw milk. But then again, should humans be drinking bovine milk? It is intended for calves to make them grow large quickly. Cheese is different in that it is fermented and sour cream is also good, and in all of those cases it has not had the enzymes destroyed initially since it requires the bacteria to make it which would be destroyed in the pasteurization process. (or so it would logically seem to me, but I could be wrong since I have not verified it.) (Just making it clear that if I'm not sure of something I will indicate it)


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 Post subject: Re: Kombucha
PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 2:43 am 
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Well better a late reply, than never...

In regard of the purity law: yes yeast was not known until around 1610. Before that the brewers just waited until the natural fermentation started. One thing is interesting: in the middle ages in central europe most brewer were also baker - because they had more success. Which is quite clear why, as soon as yeast was know!

With beer and the taste of alcohol its in this way: its mostly due to too much barley malt in relation to water. Temperature does not have an effect in this regard as far is i have experienced. So with Kombucha it might be in relation to the sugar: the more sugar the more prominent the Alcohol taste.

The cider is called in Austria "Most" - and we still have the natural thing served. I recently bought it direct from the vinter. Besides cider we have the new and not entirel finished fermented wine called "Sturm". The name comes from two things: first from the stormy weather during the days when its made, and second you will get the worst possible hangover if you drink too much. And that can happen easily, because its very tasty and sweat - you dont really taste or smell the alcohol while he is sneaking on you. Great stuff!

I think the fermentation reduces some of the benefits of milk - but on the other hand it safer and lasts longer. I tried fresh goat milk (really only minuted after it got out of the goat) in summer, and the taste was incredible!

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"There is a great advantage in training under unfavorable conditions. It is better to train under bad conditions, for the difference is then a tremendous relief in a race."
Emil Zatopek


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 Post subject: Re: Kombucha
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:47 pm 
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Thanks for the reply, good info. My Kombucha is ready now and can't taste any alcohol so it must be really low in content. It has a pH of 6.3 while the one from the store is 6.27 so they must really keep the content of alcohol low and that's good. The taste is pretty good though and I'd have to say much less tart than Apple Cider Vinegar is because that one a spoon full will smart and harsh on the taste buds. The Kombucha however is much milder but still has a bite. I'm using the take and replace method so it continues to ferment anything new I add back in, so far works out good. I took the scoby out and now it is making a new one. At any rate, I'm getting my probiotics pretty cheap now. A half or full cup of organic sugar is fairly cheap compared to store bought probiotics!


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