3

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Has anyone tried catching Kombucha bacteria/yeast without a starter?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 20, 2012 at 12:29 AM

I have been looking at brewing some Kombucha (and have also thought about bumping the alcohol in the brew to replace my vice for beer) and all the recipes say you need a starter or at least some Kombucha with the mother in it to begin.

I was wondering if you can try and "catch" the required yeast/bacteria like when making a sourdough starter.

Any thoughts or experience?

Aa748fb43334ffd2db3934aa00874bbe

(458)

on September 20, 2012
at 01:48 AM

This. Also, make sure to get the unflavored variety for your starter.

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on September 20, 2012
at 12:58 AM

I agree. Also, spend a few extra dimes for the good stuff. I've tried making kombucha with Celestial Seasonings brand, and it did not work nearly as well as GT's.

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7 Answers

11
192a2d6a31fe367deb913ccaa2c97460

on September 20, 2012
at 12:35 AM

I've always had to start with 1 cup of premade kombucha. That'll turn into a mother in about 3 weeks with the right amount of sugar/tea mixed in. My boyfriend tried a wild innoculation with kombucha and ended up with some pretty awful stomach trouble. I've had things catch with homebrew, which will occasionally work- but with kombucha I find it's better to just suck it up and buy a 4$ bottle to grow yer mother with. don't want to mess with too many mystery cultures..

Aa748fb43334ffd2db3934aa00874bbe

(458)

on September 20, 2012
at 01:48 AM

This. Also, make sure to get the unflavored variety for your starter.

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on September 20, 2012
at 12:58 AM

I agree. Also, spend a few extra dimes for the good stuff. I've tried making kombucha with Celestial Seasonings brand, and it did not work nearly as well as GT's.

5
4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on September 20, 2012
at 02:27 AM

It may have originally started like that, but there is a reason for the "symbiotic" in the acronym SCOBY.

There are a lot of "wild fermentation" types of drinks (mead, kvass, ginger bugs), but kombucha isn't one of them.

2
489497642ad41d4b45db4d07dbe54353

(978)

on September 20, 2012
at 12:03 PM

You can not make kumbucha without a starter unless you have been making it and only it for years in your kitchen. You can make a random fermented beverage without a starter.

When you do a wild ferment, instead of one using a starter, you can only capture the micro life that is already around. If you start one in a kitchen that does a lot of bread baking or brewing, you would get yeast growing, if you start one in a kitchen that often makes lacto-fermented pickles, you would more likely get lacto bacteria, if there has been a lot of vinegar going on, you get vinegar.

This is one reason for regional differences in traditional wines and beers. And why different caves make cheeses that taste different. It is part of the "terroir" of a food.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terroir

If you keep a modern, clean, disinfected kitchen, it is likely to go bad. The good and bad bugs will be in small but equal proportion and the bad ones can take over.

1
C0d44d0c62dcf60e8a80ae21411ddeb9

(370)

on September 20, 2012
at 06:11 AM

Don't do it. It wont work.

Just use GT's.

Not a fruity/freaky flavor; keep it simple. Get two super-clean glasses (no residual soap!). Pour half the bottle into each glass. Drink one because it's delicious and you just paid 4 bux for that. Set the other glass aside in secret spot with a napkin or something on top, unrefrigerated; and wait for the scoby to get built (prolly a week or so, depending on conditions). When it looks thick enough.. say, a firm 1/4" pancake, depending on diameter - put the entire contents of the glass w/scoby into your fresh and cool tea/sugar preparation. You may even want to make your 1st batch smallish, like 2 quarts, so the starter isn't so diluted that you feel like you are waiting forever to see results. (always keep your tea/sugar ratio the same, no matter the quantity, natch.)

I wouldn't try to "bump the alcohol". It's pretty important to keep conditions just right to foster an ideal symbiosis of organisms -- otherwise risk getting off flavors, or worse. Anyway kombucha can curb beer cravings even w/o booze.

PS The best jars to use are glass gallon jars that the olives and cherries that bars use often come in. Ask yr neighborhood bar/club if they will save you one. When using, just fill to about where the jar begins to curve.

1
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on September 20, 2012
at 03:11 AM

I made my own scoby from a commercial raw kombucha. Not difficult at all. But as for catching random beasties in the air, it's going to be difficult to ensure you're getting a variety of good, safe beasties. And you probably won't get the variety you can get from a real culture.

1
E565e11cf32b38ab1f45086c1e0205f7

(613)

on September 20, 2012
at 02:34 AM

Ask around at a health food store or see if they'll let you put up a little sign with your contact information asking for a SCOBY. If you weren't aware, the kombucha brew will grow a new one every batch - meaning anyone who brews is usually looking to give the things away.

1
1133603ea602c6824da56e8b596c9754

on September 20, 2012
at 02:23 AM

What about just making mead?

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