Konbu (kombu) cha question (edit: Brewing in progress!)


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Konbu (kombu) cha question (edit: Brewing in progress!)

Postby Drax » Jul 4th, '09, 20:51

So I was planning to set up my first batch of konbucha this weekend. A friend of mine brought back a canister from Japan as a gift. It's called "konbu cha" and is in granule form.

All the instructions I've seen online start with a SCOBY (or a mother mushroom).

My question is -- will this actually make konbu cha? Or is it just something that's going for the konbu flavoring....?

It *does* appear to contain konbu cha in the ingredients...

I found the manufacturer's website with some info here (http://www.itoen.co.jp/products/kobetsu.php?id=75) -- the can I have is the orange one, about 10 down, the tokusen konbu cha (特選 こんぶ 茶).... the package one right below it has more of a description (including wording that makes it sound like it's an additive... not necessarily for starting your own SCOBY).

Anybody know?
Last edited by Drax on Jul 19th, '09, 15:57, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby nada » Jul 5th, '09, 02:50

Hi Drax,

I made Kombucha for several years a few years back. It requires a bit of fairly regular attention, but makes a lovely drink. It felt very nourishing & a glass in the morning set me up nicely for the day. I've been meaning to start making it again.

I'm not sure about this packet - I've never seen/heard of the culture in a dried form, but I guess it's not inconceivable.

You can get scobys for free from many people. Kombucha makers seem all too happy to help others in on this thing. I got a culture to start me off from http://www.kombu.de/suche2.htm.

Then before you know it, you'll have more scobys than you know what to do with.

I had good results with young sheng puerh and hong cha.

best wishes,
nada.
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Postby Drax » Jul 6th, '09, 16:54

Hey Nada, thanks for the info!

I think I may have to try out that website to find a starter (unless if anybody here has some they'd be willing to share? in exchange for tea even? :D :D : D)

I'm pretty sure that the stuff I have is Japanese kombu, which is a term for a type of kelp (i.e. seaweed), and that what I have is powdered seaweed for making seaweed tea. According to wikipedia, the Japanese term for kombucha is kocha kinoko (or tea mushroom).

On the plus side, I found confirmation that you can brew your own even from tea they sell in the store. Now if only I could find tea they sell in the store... so meanwhile, I eager open the charity shop! haha
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Postby Drax » Jul 11th, '09, 18:45

A couple of days ago, I managed to find an organic food store that sells kombucha, so I picked up a bottle, and I've used it to start my own. It's been brewing for a couple of days at this point, but appears to be working so far. Patience!

Even best, I got to enjoy about a half of glass of what was left over. Great stuff! I am looking forward to having my own to try.

And I will be especially curious to try it using young sheng. That sounds really interesting (and maybe a good way to use up some of the poorer quality stuff that I bought early on...? :D haha).
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Postby Drax » Jul 18th, '09, 22:29

Kombucha update -- it's been about 10 days at this point. If I had started w/ a full-grown culture, it would be done by now, but when starting from "scratch" they say it usually takes 2 weeks.

In the last day or two, the cloudy-gray cultures forming on the top have become very noticeable, so the critters are thriving. The weather has been great here and I've left the windows open, so it's usually 75-80F, which is perfect.

I'm guessing at this point that it'll be another week before it's ready to go. I should be able to start a second batch while I enjoy the first one, and after that, I should finally be able to branch beyond 2 jars...
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Postby silverneedles » Jul 19th, '09, 00:53

oh my, i dont know if i want to see, but i am curious nonetheless ...

... PICS ! :D
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Postby kymidwife » Jul 19th, '09, 03:22

I went back on my own word and actually tried a bottled version of kombucha from Whole Foods yesterday. It just tasted much like white wine vinegar with alittle fizz. Not really enjoyable at all to me as a beverage. It wasn't awful, just nothing I'd ever crave. Blech, not my thing I guess. Maybe the homemade version is better?

Sarah
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Postby woozl » Jul 19th, '09, 03:54

Someone needs to call Andrew Zimmerman. This is right up his alley.
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Postby Drax » Jul 19th, '09, 15:54

The stuff I got at my local organic food store was pretty good. Only the faintest hint of vinegar, very fizzy. It tasted more like a hard apple cider, and the slight acidity gave it a nice kick.

So I will be curious to see how the homemade stuff turns out!

For the curious... I took some pictures.

The first picture is a large one of the two jars that are currently fermenting:

Image

The second is a not-so-good close-up from the side of one of the jars:

Image

Finally, we have an "isometric view" to give you a look at the lumpy layer forming. . .:

Image

I haven't tasted it yet to see how it's doing... I should probably do that today, but I need to get some straws to be able to easily draw out liquid to test...
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Postby Chip » Jul 19th, '09, 19:26

<shivers>

One day I will get up the nerve to give it a try and maybe make too.

Thanks for sharing with us Drax. It is interesting watching your newbie progress.
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Lovely photos!

Postby Intuit » Jul 20th, '09, 13:23

Looks like your mixed culture fermentation is moving along nicely - very uniform.

Need pH strips to keep track of the acidity. I will be starting my own cultures, using the directions on the website posted by Depravitea, early next week.

Drax had the same idea as I - use up the tea I would otherwise pitch because I'm inching upwards in quality and downwards in brewing volume.

Splendid project! Thanks for posting the photos, Drax!
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Re: Lovely photos!

Postby depravitea » Jul 20th, '09, 15:03

Intuit wrote:Drax had the same idea as I - use up the tea I would otherwise pitch because I'm inching upwards in quality and downwards in brewing volume.


I feel the same. All the tea I didn't like used to go to iced tea, (for some reason, even if it sucks, it's tolerable if it's cold lol) but now it will be KOMBUCHA!! I've also noticed that as my tea quality goes up, the quantity I make goes down, but using the gongfu method, you can still get a quite a bit of tea from the leaves, just not all at once.
I feel really guilty about chucking leaves that I haven't used completely, heck, I wish there was something to do with leaves that were completely spent!

Anyway, here's that website if anyone is interested -
http://www.foodrenegade.com/how-to-grow ... cha-scoby/

I started my first batch last week in an attempt to grow a scoby. There is definitely some... activity... happening in the jar lol
If I stop posting, you know what happened...

I've been buying the GT's Kombucha lately from the health food store until my batch is ready, and I REALLY like it. Very interesting flavor.

Image
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Postby Drax » Jul 20th, '09, 20:43

I admit, I'm not quite sure if the stuff is ready or not... the SCOBY still looks a bit thin in spots (and pretty lumpy)... yet the samples I've tried are pretty good. I can see big bubbles formed under the SCOBY, too, but not *too* much activity at the surface. Hmm. I guess I'll give it another day and see how it does.

It's been pretty warm in my place, and I haven't turned the AC on. Hrm. Well, I guess it's a learning process.

Those sites were very useful, thanks depravitea! Especially the one linked to at geocities on 'balance'... and your kombucha looks like it's coming along really well. You'll have to let me know when you decide to "stop" it. I haven't found a good place to buy glass bottles for bottling, so I'm going to stick w/ smaller Ball canning jars for now....

Chip -- I know the feeling. I'm still dreading having to manipulate the SCOBY.... :lol:
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Postby woozl » Jul 20th, '09, 20:48

Dude, stay in touch... leave an address.... like when backwoods camping :wink:


Scooby doobie doo where are you?
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"God Is In the Details"

Postby Intuit » Jul 20th, '09, 21:37

From Depravitea's web link on DoItYourSelf SCOBY:

"Once it’s about 1/4 inch thick, it’s ready to go. "

Eyeballing your photos, Dax, it would appear that you've met this condition for SCOBY maturity.

Cheers!
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