Longtime readers will remember that I am a diligent brewer of kombucha, the bracing, astringent fermentation of sweetened black tea, converted into a fizzy, tart collation of organic acids by a culture of yeast and bacteria that resembles a snot flapjack.

My brewing vat sits on a stand in my kitchen between the stove and the fridge, where the tempreature is pretty constant, and has thrived there for a couple of years. Every few weeks I peel off the overgrown culture, put the excess in the composter, and add more tea. Then I cover it tenderly with a dish towel so it can breathe without a lot of dust getting in.

Yesterday I walked in to cut myself a slash and found the towel immersed in the brew. It was at a pretty acid peak, and the summer culture is strong, so I’m hoping nothing weird like a mold spore got in.

With a kitten in the house there is only one explanation. I chased Agatha around all day, trying to catch her and sniff her, but she doesn’t smell like kombucha at all. It must have been a lightning strike.

feigning innocence


18 thoughts on “Kombuchat

    • The mare’s milk brew? Well, in the Society For Creative Anachronism there were some people who bravely tried to make it with goat’s milk. I know I drank some of the result but have zero recall of the taste, perhaps because of whatever else I’d drunk up to that point.

      Some people call the kombucha brew “teekvass.”.

      • Wait. I’m in bed and having one last sideways look at the world before The Brothers Karamazof (sp?) puts me to sleep… And I find a surprise SCA reference. We must discuss this further at some point!

          • Awesome!!!! I have a load of Ohio friends who are in the SCA and while I never did join myself, I enjoy their company. I’m fascinated by the fact that most of them nowadays are computer geeks as well as scadians. I can’t sew, so I’m pretty useless in the group, but I always wanted to learn to sword fight properly. A friend who is a fighter is also on the Cleveland women’s football team – and no, I don’t mean soccer! So proud of her.

          • I sang and did gymnastics and rude sight gags. A friend of mine used to fight — a big woman who was in the Inter-Kingdom war in Western PA in I think 1974. Came out black and blue from those rattan swords. That was the occasion for which I wrote a fight song twitting the Midrealm Dragon:

            O the Dragon
            Looks like a fearsome beast!
            But he needs more than an ugly face
            To conquer the lords of the East!
            O what do we care if his threats are dire,
            We scoff at his bellicose glare!
            For when he claims to be breathing fire
            It’s usually only hot air!

            Problem was, it was at a quick march pace and by the time people had had a little to drink they got their tongues all twisted up trying to sing it.

          • Ha! I would so like to ask my friends if that song is still sung! They all go to Pennsic every year, some more seriously than others, and I’d be giggling like mad to hear them attempt that tune!

      • In Russia, kvas is a very common drink, sort of a national beverage, really. There, it is made from fermented rye bread, not at all like the creative anachronists make. But in Russia, anachronism happens all by itself. No need for creativity.

        • The mare’s milk recipe came from the steppes of Central Asia, I’m told, but that was what they called it. Rye bread? not just rye? like your day old bread?

  1. Somehow I can tell my super-sniffer would not be amused by this tipple. I think I’ll stick with iced tea – which in Ireland is an exotic and disgusting drink. Glad to hear herself is mostly behaving, too. I bet Torvald is way happier – even though he always seemed to be a very happy boy despite his ostracism from the pride.

    • Me too. This is why people who live with cats develop a stunned, crazed look after a while, like people who have been in the sun too long. Tell me you don’t get it now and then.

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