15 April 2007

Kombucha, Missionaries, etc.

The past two weeks, crap as they may have been, have been full of kombucha adventures. Friday the 13th came with prospects for brighter days (not weather speaking!), and a pleasant experience with two cute Mormon missionaries, which actually made my day. Joy pops up at the oddest moments. I love pamphlets and tracts where the images of Jesus bear a striking resemblence to my husband.

In preparation for the farmers' market, I've been buying up Boston bottles and salve containers, collecting new recipes, and planning the first offerings. For the first weeks I should have hair oil, personal lubricant, salves, and kombucha hair and skin toners. I'm doing research on other kombucha cosmetics, and will be setting my older SCOBYs aside for cosmetic use. Older kombucha tea (like the stuff the babies live in) can be used the same way as vinegar in toners and rinses. Soap will come in June, late May at the earliest. If I don't need to certify my kitchen by the Department of Health I will be selling Kombucha starter kits (SCOBY, instructions and recipes, mason jar). If I do need health department certification, maybe I'll hand out brochures on kombucha with information on purchasing starter kits outside the farmers' market.

I've been adding lavender and chamomile to some of the brews. Yum! I put about a small handful or chamomile flowers and a small handful or lavender flowers to the tea, strain them off when I pour and mix the tea and SCOBY, and ferment.

I don't recommend using smokey teas like Lapsang Souchong or Russian Caravan. My SCOBY wouldn't grow in it, but a nasty layer of fuzzy white mold (Aspergillus? Yikes!) grew on top of the tea. I fed it to the compost.

I've been adding ginger in the initial fermentation. I'm going to start adding it once I pour it off. I think it makes the SCOBYs carry a funny aftertaste.

I learned from the Happy Herbalist how to decaffeinate tea, so tonight I did a lavender, chamomile, decaf pu-erh brew with honey as a sweetener. I've read of mixed results with honey, so we'll see.

Also from the Happy Herbalist, I purchased a 2 1/2 gallon porcelain jug with spigot for continuous brewing. I can't wait! I'm going to keep doing experimental batches in my 3 liter jars. We're going to bottle the continuous brewed stuff to share with friends and take to work. So local folks, save your 12 ounce beer and soft drink bottles and I'll fill them with kombucha.

I think a spawning SCOBY demon would make a really cool Sorcerer demon character. The sorcerer drinks the tea or gives it to other people for whatever effect (energy, power, poison...). The SCOBY demon's need is sugar (or something creepier like human-derived glucose), the desire is to have its tea consumed.

I have a job interview on Thursday to train as and then work as Sleep Technician or Polysomnographer. I'm really looking forward to this, even more so than the Church Administrator job, as I would go back to the health care field, back to patient care, in a job with actual growth potential, that could be rewarding and interesting. I'm even looking forward to the possibility of working nights.

Chris and Bea dropped Jeddy off at his temporary board. I couldn't go with them. Just packing up his toys was hard enough. The cats are practically dancing around with party hats and noisemakers, they're so happy he's gone. James came and hung out downstairs this evening when we had a house full of people. We haven't seen her downstairs (other than darting from the stair to the basement to eat, drink, and poop) since Jeddy arrived. When our visitors arrived, they knocked and rang the doorbell without incident or barking or snarling. It was the right thing to do and I do not regret the decision to surrender him to the rescue organization. We weren't an ideal home for him and we couldn't address his needs. Actually Jeddy would make a good model for a Sorcerer demon as the hellhound with a heart of gold.


Kelly said...

Did you have to have your kitchen certified? Are you selling your Kombucha tea?
I'm recently out of work and thinking of doing this, since Kombucha is something I have growning around the kitchen anyway.

Any problems?

Thanks for any insights!


Parthenia said...

I didn't end up selling kombucha tea, because I would have had to have my kitchen certified or use a food processing plant, such as the Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center. Katalyst Kombucha uses this facility, I think, as do several other awesome local (to Western Massachusetts) companies.

I just give folks my extra SCOBY's. I like my Kombucha super strong and a little vinegary, and I'm not sure how marketable my "hardcore" recipe would be. :) I have considered selling kombucha brewing kits, but again, I'd need to grow the SCOBY's in a certified kitchen.

Good luck if you decide to do this!

wenzday said...

How did the honey turn out? I added some honey to a recent batch and now it is very fizzy even before bottling. Not sure if something else is wrong or if it is just the honey, like a mead-kombucha :)