More on Kombucha

I first had kombucha at the amazing Wise Woman Center in Woodstock NY run by the indefatigable Susun Weed. There on the counter was a bucket with this evil looking blob floating in a brown liquid that smelled like vinegar. I thought it was a vinegar mother, the bacteria colony that makes vinegar. But a sign said kombucha. I wondered what kind of cha, or tea in Japanese, could be made from Kombu, a type of seaweed. I sure didn't see anything it that murk that looked like kombu. Susun said it was not kombu but a fermented tea of Red Raspberry leaf and spearmint. It was a thing handed down from grandmother to daughter for at least the last 1000 years and it was good for the gut and the immune system. I could attest that it looked handed down for a thousand years. It was spooky looking. There was this huge, flat pancake looking thing floating in liquid surrounded by tiny bubbles. "Have a sip" she said. I'm not one to shrink away from a challenge and I have always said I'd try any food so long as it was not alive going down my throat, so I said "ok." This batch was aged so it was vinegary. Not unpleasant, just sharp and ever so slightly effervescent. I enjoyed it. On my departure from the center 6 weeks later I was armed with a baby kombucha mother and some Tara grains. More on that later. I kept brewing the kombucha tea at my home. Each batch made a new colony that I gave to friends and co workers at the pharmacy I worked for. One day I got a call at work from the local newspaper. The reporter had heard I was making this weird brew that some folks were calling a health miracle. She wanted to see it and interview me. I made no claims that this stuff was a health tonic. I have always asserted that it was a tasty self replicating brew that has been around for at least 1000 years. This was 1995. I got in the paper and became know as the kombucha woman at the Pharmacy. The next year I moved from WI where I was living to MD then to TX and I gave up my beloved Kombucha. There was no way I could keep up with the upkeep the brew needed in my new living situation. Besides, the FDA was telling folks