alexpgp: (St Jerome a)
Nothing much happened with the kombucha (aka "чайный гриб") on Thursday, when I put together the mix. On Friday, the two principal "globs" of kombucha "mother" harvested from the packaged product sank and remained at the bottom of the tea until about halfway through the day on Saturday, when they again rose to the surface. No other change was apparent.

Yesterday, I started to notice something forming on the surface of the tea, something... organized. It looked like S-curves of... small particles. By evening, the pattern was less pronounced, but there was more stuff at the surface.

Today, I noticed that small piece of mother that had sunk and risen exhibited small black flecks, which alarmed me ("fungus!") until I removed the piece and ascertained that the black flecks are tea particles. While removing this piece, I was reassured by the right smell (the brew smells like kombucha) and there being a lot more colony-forming action near the surface. During the day, I noted two sources of a steady stream of small bubbles rising from the bottom of the mix.

Keeping my fingers crossed.

alexpgp: (Default)
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.

alexpgp: (Default)
Last night's shift at the MCC went well, with the Russians I was supporting calling it a day around 7:30 am, as is their habit. I drove home, stopping at three garage sales along the way (experiencing not the slightest twinge of interest in any of the offerings) and the Kroger (for something to spread on toast).

I was in bed by about 8:30 am and got up 2-1/2 hours later, at around 11 am. Galina and I took off to look at refrigerators, leaving Natalie and the still-sleeping Kyle at the house.

My goal for the day was to end up at a wellness therapy place near the intersection of Stella Link Road and Bellaire Boulevard, for that was the only place in Houston I was able to find, during a brief break last night, that might have kombucha, a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast that I became (re)acquainted with - I'm pretty sure I had some while in Baikonur - via an item at Craftzine on brewing some of the stuff.

It turned out that the therapy place no longer carried kombucha because the Whole Foods Market, just down the street, had begun to do so. This was good news, as Galina and I were headed in that direction anyway.

You can imagine my disappointment when, upon arriving at the store, it turned out that what they had in stock was ready-made kombucha drinks, with just a hint of culture material settled on the bottom of the glass bottle. I had been interested in buying some "mother" material (i.e., the culture).

On the way home, we swung by the Russian store, where we picked up some goodies and - on impulse - I asked if they had any kombucha (which is known in Russia as chainyi grib - grrr, this computer doesn't grok Cyrillic, sorry!), and they sure enough did! In fact, for about what I paid for a 12-oz. bottle of "high-end" kombucha I bought about a gallon and a half of product with a sizeable chunk of "mother" culture floating in it.

I started writing this post too late; it's time, almost, to be going out the door for tonight's shift.



alexpgp: (Default)

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