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: