Store-bought kombucha (synergy) vs homemade... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 04-22-2009, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Which do you prefer?

I just bought some kombucha, Synergy brand. Just tried the strawberry flavor. It's not terrible, a little vinegary in smell but not taste. Like I read on here, I could handle about an inch or so, and then I decided to stick it back in the fridge. Is that even worth drinking, lol? Nutrionally-speaking... would I still get benefits from drinking such a small amount each time?

I am now curious whether those who have had store-bought vs home "brewed"? homemade? have a preference. I know there is a lot of variability in the taste no matter what... just trying to decide whether it's worth it for me to go down the road of brewing my own, or just drink the synergy stuff. If I don't do the kombucha, I was probably going to try the water kefir... just trying to decide where to direct my energies.

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#2 of 21 Old 04-22-2009, 07:53 PM
 
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Personally, I think either tastes yucky....I don't know how people drink the stuff!

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#3 of 21 Old 04-22-2009, 08:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It almost varies sip-by-sip for me... like a few sips ago, I'm like hmmm interesting not too bad... then I just took another sip and was like yikes it's horrible!

Definitely an acquired taste I think...

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#4 of 21 Old 04-23-2009, 10:31 AM
 
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Personally, I think either tastes yucky....I don't know how people drink the stuff!
I feel the same way... and my husband home brews it and people buy ti from him regularly! and i help him make it. I'm the most kombucha-educated non-kombucha drinker there is!

Just b/c kombucha is a wonderful healthy drink doesn't mean everyone is gonna like it or feel good from it. for me, even though I love the combonation and the benefits, it doesn't sit well in my stomach. it hits my stomach like a brick and bounces back off. ugh. but my kids LOVE it!

and yes there is benefit to drinking a small amount every day. maybe that is all your body needs!

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#5 of 21 Old 04-23-2009, 11:09 AM
 
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I honestly don't really like the taste of GT's but it calls me, so I must need it. I just started homebrewing and I like the flavor much better.

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#6 of 21 Old 04-23-2009, 11:11 AM
 
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Just a tablespoon a day can have an excellent impact on your gut!

I really enjoy store-bought synergy, but the virtue of homemade kombucha is that you can kind of alter the taste a bit more to your liking. For instance, adding more juice or fermenting shorter or longer can decrease the vinegary-ness and add sweetness or carbonation. You can also play around with flavor combination, etc. It's been alot of fun.

Also, I find that GT's varies from bottle to bottle, just like homemade stuff. Sometimes you'll find it's really sweet, other times more vinegary or dry. The strawberry flavor, especially, tends to be quite tart.

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#7 of 21 Old 04-23-2009, 11:18 AM
 
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I think it's definitely an acquired taste. When I first had it I thought it was gross but I have grown to love it.

The Synergy stuff is a little strong for me. I like it ok, but I can only handle about a 1/4 cup a day. The last time I visited my parents their healthfood store had some on tap, and that was pretty strong too. But I have had some made in Massachusetts that was very mild, and what I make at home is mild too. The tea you use, your brew time, your temp, if you do a secondary brew - those all affect the end result. Also, I think historically it's a tonic, not a beverage. I don't think we're meant to drink a quart at a time.

Try making some at home, at the very least to save some money. Once you get a a nice baby you can take a little sip each day until you get a strength you like. If you start with oolong or a green tea mixture it will be more mild as well.

I just had some water kefir grains. My dad thought my bottle was sap and poured the whole thing in the syrup pan on the woodstove (I asked him "didn't you notice the little floating white chunks?!?) I'm not too disappointed. I was finding it a lot of work to keep up with the grains and while I liked the kefir I didn't love it. That's a nice thing about kombucha - it does most of the work itself.

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#8 of 21 Old 04-23-2009, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Very interesting!

I have some other flavors... I think if I drink about an inch a day, I'll finish the strawberry in 4-5 days. lol I think I must need it too... the taste is not calling me, yet I still want to drink it...

Do most people order their mushroom online or get one from a friend?

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#9 of 21 Old 04-23-2009, 03:41 PM
 
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Just an inch at a time? I wish I had that problem! If I open a bottle of GT's, I down the whole thing in 10-15 minutes... : At $5+ a bottle, it's an expensive habit. But my god, I love the stuff. A bottle of that makes me feel invincible...for a little while, anyway.

I do wonder about the difference nutritionally between the GT's & homemade kombucha. The GT's certainly seems to be "live." I always open my bottles over the sink or outside! I've had one too many explode all over. I've never tried homemade kombucha--is it carbonated like the GT's? That's one of the things I love about it.

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#10 of 21 Old 04-23-2009, 03:47 PM
 
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I have now tried three types of store-bought kombucha and brew my own. Of the store-bought types, I found two that, to me, were the most wonderful thing I have tasted since Coca-Cola (which I love but no longer drink). I thought that the third one I tried (original flavor GT's) was horrendous, and I couldn't choke it down. When I brew my own, I think it is pretty good, but it only tastes as good as the store-bought stuff if I bottle it for about 3 weeks to a month. Also, I have had my home-brewed stuff taste pretty bad (to me) if I either use too little tea or don't use black tea. The tea strength, type, and brew time hugely affects flavor, in my opinion.

I am a bit lazy, so I would try several flavors of store-bought stuff before getting a SCOBY and making your own. We got our SCOBY from a friend. I think most people get KT SCOBY's and milk kefir grains from friends, but water kefir grains seem to be harder to find. We are going to re-order some online (husband killed them).
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#11 of 21 Old 04-23-2009, 03:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BetsyPage View Post
Very interesting!

I have some other flavors... I think if I drink about an inch a day, I'll finish the strawberry in 4-5 days. lol I think I must need it too... the taste is not calling me, yet I still want to drink it...

Do most people order their mushroom online or get one from a friend?
When you first start drinking kombucha, that is the way you want to do it.
It will clean you out to quickly otherwise.
In a few days, you will be drinking more, and most likely it will be around the time that your body dumps the toxins.
If you get itchy hands or feet, just soak them, of all of you in an epsom salt bath for a bit.

We now brew ours 30 days, just like GTs, and we love it, but if I had tasted that 30 day to begin with, I would have hated it!

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#12 of 21 Old 04-23-2009, 03:52 PM
 
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Just an inch at a time? I wish I had that problem! If I open a bottle of GT's, I down the whole thing in 10-15 minutes... : At $5+ a bottle, it's an expensive habit. But my god, I love the stuff. A bottle of that makes me feel invincible...for a little while, anyway.

I do wonder about the difference nutritionally between the GT's & homemade kombucha. The GT's certainly seems to be "live." I always open my bottles over the sink or outside! I've had one too many explode all over. I've never tried homemade kombucha--is it carbonated like the GT's? That's one of the things I love about it.
GTs is brewed for 30 days, hence the difference.
Homemade will be very alive as well, even the short brew, if its bottled for a couple of days after its ready.

When we use fresh peaches to flavor ours, a towel over the bottle, plus a bowl under it, is required when opening.
I have cleaned kombucha and peaches off of our ceiling more than once!

Paula, wife to Steve, mother hen to 38 , busy doing : TTC after 6
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#13 of 21 Old 04-23-2009, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is so interesting to me. It's good to know that the GT's stuff is strong, and so if I can "handle" it I might get some better tasting kombucha I'd actually enjoy more...

Can it really give you more energy? I tried it yesterday for the first time, and then I couldn't settle down to sleep very well. Then my 3 yo slept horribly and woke up 2 hours early. I'm a bit tired, which is normal because we then went on a semi-challenging ('cause I had a stroller to carry tired 3 yo) hike around a lake, but normally I would just be sooooooo tired right now... so to feel half-way OK is shocking to me...

What is weirding me out is it seems to vary sip to sip. Like one sip is terrible and then the next not so bad, or vice versa. That has me scratching my head...

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#14 of 21 Old 04-23-2009, 04:06 PM
 
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Can you mix it with something so it doesn't taste like rotten orange juice???

I got sick from rotten orange juice once when I was a kid...never again...never again..LOL

I think it reminds me of that so it makes me nauseous. Suggestions for palatability? I get it, it's great for me, but what good does it do if I barf it up?

Unless it's for WEIGHT LOSS.....Hmmmm....there's an idea....ROTFLMAO

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#15 of 21 Old 04-24-2009, 09:07 PM
 
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Just an inch at a time? I wish I had that problem! If I open a bottle of GT's, I down the whole thing in 10-15 minutes... :
Me too! The kids fight over it, it's crazy.

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#16 of 21 Old 04-26-2009, 12:00 AM
 
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Okay I think I am almost convinced to make my own kombucha. Can you tell me how it works in a nut shell? Is it time consuming? Any tips for success or links for the best place to buy it?
I tried it for the first time yesterday and I drank half of the bottle. I was a coca cola a day person until 4 weeks ago. I bought the grape GT stuff and woo hooo ... I loved it! I also felt very energized after drinking it. TIA

Oops...I thought I was starting a new thread but my post got tagged on to your thread. It is related, but I don't want to hijack your thread. Sorry! Hope it's ok to leave it here.

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#17 of 21 Old 04-26-2009, 12:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, it's fine with me, hijack away.

I am wondering if I would prefer a kombucha with juice rather than the "pulp" in it like GT's... some directions I read said use plain juice...

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#18 of 21 Old 04-26-2009, 01:34 AM
 
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I wrote this up for my brother and SIL who felt they didn't have time to sift through everything:


Kombucha
(The abridged version)

KEEP EVERYTHING VERY CLEAN AND ONLY HANDLE THE SCOBY WITH THOROUGHLY CLEANED HANDS!
AVOID METALIC OBJECTS (aside from boiling tea)

Grow scoby: Let kombucha sit in a bowl covered with tea towel for weeks until jelly scoby forms

Make kombucha:
*Do a half batch the first time you use your new scoby.
•1 kombucha culture (or scoby)
•2L of water
•3 or 4 Organic teabags (white, green, or black- no flavours)
•160 g of white sugar (20g=1TBSP)
•200mL of kombucha from previous batch OR 2 TBSP of cider vinegar

**Steep tea for 20 minutes, add sugar when still hot, let cool until body-temperature (better too cold than too hot since heat is the only thing that can kill the yeast). Add kombucha then scoby on top once cool.
Cover with a tea towel secured with a rubber band and let this ferment in a glass container (the more oxygen on the surface the better- i.e. use a bowl rather than a bottle) for 5-14 days it will start sweet, then get more sour as time goes on. Bottling too soon will create a VERY effervescent beverage and could risk blowing out capped bottles.

Bottle kombucha:
Fill bottles fully and let kombucha sit in bottles for 3-5 days (or more in the fridge). You can add flavours at the bottling step (organic raspberries, ginger, apple/pear, etc.) if desired, just put them in the bottle of the bottle, then fill with kombucha.
Kombucha is ready to be consumed immediately, but it will not become bubbly until second fermentation in bottles

*Reserve 200 mL for your next batch.

Enjoy 

Kombucha can create detox symptoms in your body- some people say to start with a few ounces a day, then work up to 3 glasses (2 on an empty stomach- before breakfast and before lunch, then one before bed).


I got all of this info from here: http://www.seedsofhealth.co.uk/ferme...ha_howto.shtml

ETA: I just did my first 30 day batch and WOW!! No more short brews for me!

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#19 of 21 Old 04-26-2009, 01:38 AM
 
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Making your own kombucha is very easy and very economical. Depending on how much you pay for organic loose tea, you are looking at under $2 gallon (I buy tea in bulk so mine works out to about $1 per gallon).

You'll need a kombucha scoby/culture, sugar (organic white sugar works best), loose tea (I like Oolong but any green or black tea without oils works great--no Earl Grey, Orange Spice, etc.), filtered water and kombucha tea from a previous batch (or a bottle from the store).

Fermentation takes 5-30 days depending on your taste preferences. Once the scoby is removed, you can add plain juice, fruit, etc. and leave it tightly capped for another few days to increase the carbonation. As others have pointed out, you will want to be very careful when you open the bottle!

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#20 of 21 Old 05-01-2009, 06:15 PM
 
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where is the thread about fermenting the Kombucha for 30 days and the vinegar taste is suppost to go away which did not happen for me, I have a gallon of very very vinegary kombucha here, eww! time to start more so I can have some good stuff...

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#21 of 21 Old 05-02-2009, 04:21 AM
 
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Which do you prefer?

I just bought some kombucha, Synergy brand. Just tried the strawberry flavor. It's not terrible, a little vinegary in smell but not taste.
I'm a big fan of all the GT's except strawberry which tastes terrible to me. Have you tried the others now?

I make my own with green tea and brew about 8 days. I like it very much. But, I don't get the same reaction from it as I do GT's. GT's and home brewed are like apples and oranges to me. I'm still feeling this whole kombucha thing out too.
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