So you say you brew your own beer. Big whoop. Do you brew your own kombucha?
Embraced by Seattleites for its purported health properties (eliminating toxins, increasing energy), the fermented tea beverage known as kombucha has long been sold prebottled in local stores.
But in 2010, Seattle company Goldfinch Kombucha (goldfinchkombucha.com) seized hold of our city’s craze for all things homemade by creating a DIY Kombucha Kit ($25), which includes a 1-gallon glass jar, green-tea bags, organic sugar and—here’s the crucial part—a mat of symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, or SCOBY (aka the “mushroom” or “mother”).
Though this blob looks straight out of sci-fi, it’s what makes the magic happen, and locals love it.
In the last year, Goldfinch has expanded distribution in Seattle and Portland from one store to nine (including Madison Market and Whole Foods), and in the last six months, online sales have skyrocketed. The kit comes with helpful hints, such as what your kombucha will smell like (vinegar, typically) and what to do about mold (a bad sign, always).
During the monthlong fermentation process, the SCOBY grows and the mixture transforms into a tart, naturally carbonated beverage. Pour a glass and celebrate raising your very own SCOBY, whose yummy microbes will be the foundation for your next batch of home brew.