by Lake Sharp
You may have heard of the wonder tonic kombucha. It is all the rage here in LA, people scouring the city to find a place to throw down $4 for 16oz of this healthy bacteria/yeast-poo water. Yep, the liquid is the biproduct of bacteria and yeast feeding on sugar and tea, Ashby explains it a little better. Kombucha has been around since the Qin Dynasty in China (around 250 BC) and can now be yours in the good ol’ DIY fashion of HK. It’s really easy and fun to have these little science experiments growing in your cubbard.
How to Boocha
To harness the powers of this “immortal health elixer” you need only a few things, namely, the mother. The mother is the gooey slime that forms on the surface of tea…it is the organism. In kombucha, it is often refered to as the “mushroom,” though this is purely figurative. You can buy mother and a booch kit online or from some healthfood stores. But if you are patient, you can grow your own by simply buying a 16oz bottle of your favorite brandname booch and pouring it into a glass galon jar. The strands of culture will eventually turn into a clear blob. You have to let it grow for a good month or so undisturbed, but once you feed it, the culture will go nuts and soon turn into the big brown “mushroom.”
So, the groundrules for kombucha are these:
Metal kills mother, only use wooden or plastic utensils while handling the bev.
It grows best in clean glass galon jars.
Keep it stored in a cool dark place.
12 cups of black tea mixed with 1 cup sugar cooled to room temperature.
As your mother grows, the fermentation procces will shorten, but it’s really just a matter of taste. If you like a sweeter booch, bottle after a week. Each batch I make tastes a little different. I am still experimenting with how long I let it ferment and bottling techniques to get the right amount of fizz. If the taste gets too strong after several batches, you can remove some layers of mother and either start new batches with them or give them to friends to start their own.