Kombucha News – August 2010

Another wild and maybe even wacky week of the SUMMER RECALL 2010 has passed, and Kombucha continues to permeate the consciousness.  Let’s see what’s new:

1. Small Kombucha brewers weigh in on how they are dealing with the recall: handling Whole Foods’ “freak out,” considering winery applications, and generally holding on for dear life!
2. By contrast, it seems that smaller Portland, OR area Kombucha brewers may have benefited from the big guys absence from the shelf.  Plus, a great taste test of small brands at the end of this article.  Fun!
3. We’ve used Kombucha soap before (and loved it! So clean and soft.) but now there are real Kombucha based cosmetic products (warning: PDF!),  specifically a “kombucha cleanser” and other products with kombucha from Emergen-C.
I have ground up SCOBYs many times and applied to my face as a skin mask.  It’s invigorating and leaves my face feeling like a natural mild chemical peel.  Wonder if their products will use enough kombucha to make a difference?  Thoughts anyone?
4. French actress Mireille Darc sings Kombucha’s praises and claims Kombucha is mentioned in the Bible! (from French by Google Translator) I’ve not heard this one before.  Does anyone know this story? (mostly it’s fun to read the translation and pretend to hear her French accent) (Update: Ah here’s the bible story.  Ruth and her “vinegary beverage.”  What a smooth talker that Boaz was.)

A bottle of Lev's Green Tea Kombucha Extract sits on a refrigerator shelf

courtesy Tamara Palmer, SF Weekly

5. Lev’s Original (or is it now “Lev’s Probiotics of Treasure Island?” – which is a strange name change IMHO) has hit the market with a brand new product: Kombucha Extract!  Okay, so it’s new to the shelves, though we have seen some homebrewers selling it and we have used our own “super strong” kombucha for cleaning and keeping grandma in check.  But now Lev’s is selling the stuff and says one tablespoon carries the same nutritional punch as an entire bottle of the regular stuff.  Whoa!  No fizz, no alcohol and, we’re guessing, No Wussies!!!

6. Finally, Honest Tea, in a piece of marketing we can’t decide if we love or hate, set up booths around the country offering their product on the honor system for $1.  Most honest city: Not Los Angeles, we can tell you that much.  LA was 75% honest, the lowest of cities listed.  More importantly, Honest Tea is back on the shelves starting today, with a new process to keep alcohol in check, plus it will be shipped and kept cold at all times.  Now how about the taste everyone?
Hannah Crum, the Kombucha Mamma!Hannah Crum is The Kombucha Mamma, founder of Kombucha Kamp, Industry Journalist & Master Brewer, educating others about Kombucha since 2004. Connect with her on Google +
Kombucha Mamma SCOBYs & Kits ship free in the US!

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Continuous Brew mini-FAQ

How does it work?

By changing the starting ratio from…
1 Part KT:9 Parts Starter (orignial method)
3 Parts KT:1 PART Starter Liquid (CB method)
…the brewing cycle is dramatically reduced (just 1-2 days to complete).

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What about the Sugar?

Your colony of bacteria and yeast will be hungry and will very quickly process the small amount of sugar into mature KT.

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I don’t want to take on more work.

Actually, CB results in less work.  One example: a more streamlined bottling experience, without the need to lift your brewing vessel, clean it every week or deal with the mess afterwards.

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I can customize the flavor?

Sure, just drain mature KT and add starter liquid to taste.  Or for bottles, flavor as desired – no funnel, no mess!

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It’s actually healthier?

So says Michael Roussin and experts worldwide.

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Will I have too much Kombucha?

Not at all.  Having it on tap will change your perspective.  Plus, you’ll find friends, family and neighbors eyeing your Kombucha set-up with envy and maybe even helping themselves to a fresh glass.

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Really? You’re telling me it’s fun?

Yes.  With a straight face.  It is.

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I’m nervous. Is it hard?

Don’t be nervous.  You have the experience of hundreds of homebrewers backing you up in the form of my detailed instructions and maintenance plan.  You will be guided along the way.  You will save time and effort.

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