08 May 2007

Endless Rivers of Kombucha

Or, "Welcome to My Mad Tea Party".

Kombucha is several species of fungus living in symbiotic harmony with several species of bacteria. Together they live in symbiotic harmony with (on? in?) people. I think kombucha is addictive to people so that we'll take them into our homes, grow them, give them to people, and those people will grow them and give them to more people, and so on.

I've heard from several kombucha drinkers that they first time they tried it, they thought it tasted strange, or they outright hated it. I didn't like it at first, but something about it made me want to like it and I tried it again. Then I couldn't stop drinking it. Then I shared it with Chris. He didn't like it. Then he tried it again. Now he can't stop drinking it. Then I gave it to Bea and Ingrid and the same thing happened. I went from making one 3 liter batch once a week to four. We often have kombucha drinking frenzies when I pour the finished product into the pitchers and bottles. And I want to call everyone I know to share the magically fantastic and wonderfully refreshing fermented tea. This one has a little ginger in it! This one has rosewater! I brewed this one with lavender flowers!

My 2 1/2 gallon continuous fermenting jug from The Happy Herbalist came today. I started it up tonight with one of the 3 liter batches. It fermented quicker than I had expected and was a little too vinegary. I bottled another couple of liters and added a little rosewater. It's tasty. Tomorrow the other two batches should be ready. I'm going to add goji berries to one of them and ginger to the other, and call up my fellow kombuchaholics to sample the latest brew. (We'll be home this evening, kombuchaholics!)

I have another 2 1/2 gallon continuous fermenter that I haven't started up yet. I was saving it for when I got another yeasty beasty from Vincent, the ever delicious ginger beer bug. [Note: To clarify, I'm not saying Vincent is a "delicious ginger beer bug". He just grows them.] But I thought it would be fun to have two different flavors of kombucha, too. I'm not addicted to ginger beer yet. Maybe that's a little excessive. It's just so delicious and fun to make. It would be nice to have a black tea and a green tea or a caffeinated and a decaf. Two different flavors of never ending supplies of kombucha. And ginger beer. There are other cultured foods I have yet to try: Caspian Yogurt, Tibicos. Just thinking of all the microbes I could propagate makes me happy.

And of course, I have four new babies. I have two huge jars of babies. I can't bring myself to throw them away, and I don't really have to. I can sell them, mail them, give them away, feed them to the cats... I just found an awesome use for the superfermented undrinkable stuff: make it into a gentle skin toner. So I never have to throw any of it away. Maybe there's more truth to the notion that kombucha is really a prolifically spawning demon. Demon, fungus, what difference does it make? I'm under the spell. I have been assimilated. I'm a host and carrier.

And I'm becoming a High Priestess and Evangelist of the Great Kombucha Plan. I'm giving a "How to Make Kombucha" workshop at 6:30, Monday, June 4 at Acadia Herbals in the Maplewood Shops, Northampton, MA. It costs $20, and I'll give a step by step demonstration of how you brew it, have samples to drink and kombucha skin toner to try, I'll have lots of written information, and everyone gets to take home a kombucha baby. Email me if you would like more information.

We're all mad here. I'm mad, you're mad...

Some Kombucha Websites:
Kombucha.org. A perfect example how kombucha ensures its reproduction. They say it up front: "Someday, everyone will have cultures."

The Kombucha Journal. Chock full of helpful advice. Home of the kombucha exchange.

The Happy Herbalist. Carries everything you need to propagate kombucha, kefir, and other probiotics.

The Original Kombucha Mailing List
. I'm a subscriber, but it's too active for me to read much of anything.


Seth said...

That's funny. When I first tried kombucha, I didn't like it either. Then I decided to give it another chance. Now, I'm hooked.

Maybe the kombucha mind control takes a while to achieve dominance in the host....

Parthenia said...

I think so. I think our minds try to resist, and sometimes they can. My older daughter is not as hooked as the younger one.

Eventually we become one with the kombucha, though. It's inevitable. Then we move on to other micro-organisms.

Kombucha is not a gateway microbe, though. My husband and I used to brew beer. When I was pregnant with Ingrid, I started making kefir and then acquired a SCOBY.

I wonder if other microbe growers feel the allure and all-consuming power of their yeasts and bacteria.

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