Sunday, January 27, 2008

V's First Kombucha


Today I, Vanessa, finally started my very first batch of kombucha tea. For whom does not know much about this, it's an ancient (apparently ~250 BC) culture of yeast and bacteria that is used to make kombucha tea, a very good and health promoting drink. Here is also a link to a funny and informative short article about kombucha http://www.centerstagechicago.com/lifestyle/articles/green-thumb-kombucha.html.

First you'll ask why on the planet would I want to make this myself when I can run to any organic store and buy myself as much kombucha as I’d care to drink? Well here we go: no. 1 reason - a single serving bottle of kombucha runs between $4-$5; no. 2 reason – I find fascinating making a drink out of live critters (granted not visible to the naked eye, but still visible when they grow and reproduce). I have always wanted to make beer for the same reason (e.g. the critters), but I think kombucha is even better as it is good for you (e.g. although I have heard that one glass of beer -- or wine -- a day is also good for you, but lots of people don’t stop at one glass with beer or wine), it taste even better (i.e. at least I think), and it seems a lot easier to make (i.e. with continuous brewing).

My mail-ordered mother culture came in on Thursday and yesterday evening I began the process of getting it going as you have to wait 8-14 days for proper fermentation before you can start drinking it. However, it got late and I had to leave my tea + sugar chow for the critters near the wood-stove to keep it at comfortable room-temperature (e.g. 70-80 degrees F or 21-27 degrees C). By the way, I refuse to call my culture “mushroom” because it is not a mushroom and I cannot understand why anybody would call it that if it isn’t. FYI, it seems the correct name is symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, or in short SCOBY. I like the correct name as well the more affectionate names that some brewers use of “mother” and “baby” to refer to the starting culture and the new culture produced in a new kombucha batch respectively! I really like the fact of getting a culture of bacteria and yeast, feeding it well (w/ sugar), housing it nicely (at room temperature), and then getting the culture to propagate by forming a new one -- it’s really neat! I do like this stuff; that is why I wrote my only published article on other critters (i.e. clean up of groundwater and soil contamination by microbes). Side note -- I really should have studied at least more biology!

Well, my first kombucha batch is now near the wood-stove (see photos) and we’ll see what happens in a week or so. Hopefully, I won’t kill the mother and will manage to get a baby for my next batch and/or a back-up for the future. Sweet… or better yet sweet, sour, and fizzy as kombucha is!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Seems creepy that it is alive!!! I guess it is no different than yogurt...