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Natalie brought by a grab-bag of goodies on the day I arrived for my recent Houston gig, and one of said goodies was a container of kombucha, or "mushroom tea" ("грибной чай") from the Russian store between where she lives and Clear Lake. Calling it "mushroom tea" is a misnomer, of course, as the fermenting agent in kombucha is a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast).

I even managed to create another batch of the stuff after the first few days, by adding brewed tea and sugar, and the resulting beverage was enjoyed during the last few days of my assignment.

Since TSA frowns on liquids, and as I didn't want to entrust a bottle of kombucha "mother" to my checked bag, I gave the bottle to Natalie to bring to Pagosa for the wedding. I neglected to ask that it be kept out of the heat. When I opened it in Pagosa, it looked and smelled "dead."

So I went to the local natural foods emporium here in Pagosa and picked up four bottles of the commercial stuff that swears it contains parts of the "mother." I drank most of the contents, being careful to decant clear liquid and to retain the mother. Today, I brewed about a gallon of black tea, sweetened with organic sugar, to which I added the balance of the commercial kombucha, enough to hopefully acidify the tea (to keep it from developing bacteria and/or mold) while the mother goes crazy and replicates itself in a caffeine-and-sugar rich environment.

More news on this front as it develops, say, in two weeks.



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