Growing the most beautiful SCOBY

I'm attempting to grow a new scoby in my closet (That's the picture above)

Since I was a baby, I've always had an affinity for fermented food products. The unique taste and texture of anything fermented usually makes it worth trying for me. As such, the first time I tried kombucha, I immediately fell in love with a familiar tea flavor accentuated with the natural tingly bubbles.

I didn't look into how kombucha was made until I overheard a friend bragging about how he had smuggled in a mushroom called scoby into the States to grow his own special strain of the stuff. He insisted I try some. I drank a little bit of the vinegary, sweet, slightly bubbly concoction and thought it wasn't too bad.

Then, I went on a skiing trip in Tahoe and stayed with a woman named Joyce who insisted that there was a legendary gigantic kombucha mushroom that lived under the snow and beneath the ground. Again, I wasn't convinced that there could be anything special about her concoction. She had trekked out into the woods and retrieved a piece of this special scoby and brought it back into her home to make her brew. I don't know if it was my being tired from the days of skiing or if there actually was something very special about her recipe, but it was delicious. Not too sweet, very fermented. She had also chosen a very basic tea as the brewing medium and I loved it. The drink was super bubbly and I asked if she had somehow added carbonation. Apparently not, it was the magic of the gigantic scoby.

Thereupon, after making cookies and fudge, Joyce offered a piece of this scoby to me and I took it back home with me to Cambridge where I started making my own brew. The scoby grew very large and in big layers and had to be divided up into several jars. It was fantastic. In hindsight, I felt terrible about having to bury that mushroom while moving out.

Now, as I'm seeing bottled kombucha pop up in retail stores all around me, I'm getting pretty excited about trying to get one of these bottles to spawn it's own SCOBY. For now, I've poured a bottle into a tea brew and fed it about a quarter cup of sugar. I put a plate on it and stuck it in the darkness of my closet. Hopefully, with the right luck, something will form and I'll be quite excited to be the curator to my third mushroom.

5/31/2017 Update! The third mushroom exists

After just a few days in the closet, about a quarter cup of sugar, a hardworking mushroom has emerged and is doing well! Check out the evidence:

7/23/2017 Update! An exercise in Chinese Composition below entitled: 酵母茶

上个星期,我跑到店里面去看到了我喜欢的一种茶。一开始,我不知道这一种茶是用什么方法做的。可是,我走近一看,我就看到这种茶是一种酵母发出来的饮料。以前,我是试过这种味道的。我做研究生的时候,我有一个朋友 很快乐的叫我尝一尝他做的饮料。我尝了以后,觉得还可以。喝上去像有一种醋的味道。喝的时候,还有小的泡泡。可是,说老实话,我没有觉得特别好喝。我问我的朋友,这是茶还是什么。他没有直接回答我。他就给我解释这种饮料是从一个酵母做出来的。我问他这个酵母是从什么地方来的。他很骄傲的跟我说这个酵母是从东方带过来的。我觉得不值得,可是我没有说。过了几年后,我就忘记了!

我站在店里面的冰箱前面,看了这个五块钱一瓶的茶,我想到我第二次喝这种茶的时候。我到高山里面去滑雪,回来的时候跟一个老妇人住在一起。老妇人年龄大了,可是因为她天天出去滑雪,还要管理房子,种菜,著饭,他一点都不见老。有一天,我滑雪回来,他就给我喝这种泡泡茶。我尝了以后,我觉得真的是很好喝。为什么喜欢这个老妇人给我的茶。可能是因为我天天去滑雪回来,觉得特别累,所以喝出来的茶就觉得味道好。我问老妇人,你这个茶是用什么办法做的。她也很兴奋的跟我说,这个特别的茶是从一种蘑菇做出来的。

我想茶怎么会是从蘑菇做出来的呢?她说是!她吧厨房的柜门打开来拿出一个罐头。我蹲下来看,看到在茶水里有一个很大的蘑菇!拿出来以后,老妇人再放一抄白糖进去。她这个蘑菇是把这个白糖吃下去的。吃下去以后,这个蘑菇就会涨的越来越大。然后,在这个茶里面就会放出来这种醋的味道加上泡泡。

这个老妇人特别喜欢我,她说她可以吧这个大的蘑菇一小片擦下来给我。我虽然特别喜欢这个茶,也很想知道她说的这种办法是真的吗。可是我想这么好的蘑菇,不要把它分掉。老母说没关系!他就是自己出去的时候,在雪里面找到这个蘑菇的。她还很骄傲的说,这个蘑菇是只有我们这个家里有的。那我想好吧,给我一小片帮我装下来吧!

我就很小心的把这个蘑菇从大山带到飞机场再带到我家。到了家以后,我就放了一点白糖进去。我还放了一点冷茶进去作为一种蘑菇海洋。过了几天,这个蘑菇真的变了很大!茶也变了有很多泡泡。我就把一个瓶分成了两个瓶子。朋友到我家里来,我就把这个茶分给大家喝。蘑菇也很努力,我给蘑菇吃白糖,蘑菇就长得越来越大。我在这个家里住了两年多后要搬出去了,就把蘑菇扔掉了。

可是,看了这个五块钱的茶,我就后悔把老妇人的酵母丢掉了。什么茶都不应该是五块钱。如果一个小瓶要五块钱,这还可以算是茶吧?

突然,我有了一个想法。我把这个茶买回去,然后加一点白糖和冷茶。里边的蘑菇可能会长出来吧!我就把这个包装得很漂亮的茶买了回去。

到了家,我就把茶倒出来,放点糖,放点冷水。我就把它藏到我的壁橱里面。过了几天,酵母出来了。太好了!

今天,我尝了这个茶,还可以。但没有老妇人的茶好。我想还是大山的蘑菇和店里面的酵母不同 。

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