kambucha tea

HENRY E. KILPATRICK JR. hkilpatr at osf1.gmu.edu
Thu Sep 14 17:26:27 EST 1995

: I am searching for info on Kamucha tea with the mushroom.I am currently a 
: brewer and consumer but not really knowing much about it.I have the regular 
: info on 100 year plus individual from remote clans and tribes of by-gone years 
: but what about modern day consumers?
: Is there a limit to daily consumption ? Can too much be toxic?Is there any 
: scientific proof or has there been any breakdown of its componants ? etc 
: etc.Any info would be greatly apprieciated

Paul Stamets has some information on it at his website.  You would probably do 
well to check it out.

I've never made Kombucha.  As a homebrewer and winemaker of many years, I can offer 
the following perspective:

Stamets says you need to get the acid level up (plenty of sugar for sure, maybe
more tea, I can't remember the details on this) or you have problems with toxicity. 
Once you get the ph high enough, you basically have a normal fermentation process
and bad bugs don't live in this medium.  I suspect the tea doesn't add anything,
although if enough is used you may get some preservative effect and bittering much
like what hops adds to beer.  The process seems to take long enough that I suspect a
secondary fermentation takes place and perhaps you eventually get vinegar. 

I would just take some wine grapes and do an open fermentation, getting my yeast
from the grape skins and the air.  Eventually you will get vinegar & you can drink
it without filtering all the dead yeast and other glop (I believe there are some
settled out proteins in the glop & this might be what you are getting with
Kombucha).  Have a glass of tea on the side.  Or make a Belgian lambic beer, which
goes through a secondary fermentation and turns the beer sour.  Many lambics are
flavored with fruit.  You could also add tea to the wort.  Call it Kombucha lambic. 
As Charlie Papazian of the American Homebrewers Association says, "relax, don't 
worry, and have a homebrew."

I don't have my brewing books with me to quote the Latin names of all the little
beasties that do their work, and brewing is second nature to me now, so I don't
remember all the scientific details.  Hence, my discussion may not be as scientific
as you might like.  Perhaps there are things in the Kombucha that you do not find in
the normal beer & wine fermentation process, but I don't think I'd risk playing 
with a low ph level to find out. 
Buddy K

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