Two starters cultures and tea. Kombucha time!

When I landed yesterday, one major issue was on my mind: my non-majors online General Bio course starting Monday. I had the website more or less organized, but I knew there were things to straighten up before the course shell opened on Sunday. As anybody who has taught online knows, the first week is the most critical: information has to be detailed and easy to find, instructions crystal clear, and instructor responses as fast as possible. So after some grocery shopping and catching up, I spent the night hours trying to tie up all the loose ends.

Two glass containers with kombucha cultures.

West Coast to the left, and East Coast to the right. Same tea. Curious how they will turn out!

In contrast Sunday was a mellower day. Short visit to the beach, coffee, more grocery shopping, and then housework, which these days counts almost as relaxation. Part of housework mixed with science was getting the East-West kombucha challenge. I had obtained a vial of local kombucha some weeks ago, and had it in a vase full of sugary water waiting for the biofilm to develop. Then I had Ashley Shade’s kombucha that traveled with me from Yale. She said it would be fun to compare the two, so I decided to get them started more or less in parallel. Needless to say, while the tea and sugar solution was the same, I cannot really say that the conditions are replicated, as  there is no way to say how many and what type of cells are in the two slimy films that landed in it. But for now my idea is just to get them started side by side. I boiled water and then poured it over the tea leaves (1 tsp/cup). After seeped, I added 1 cup of sugar/liter tea, and let it cool. Once at room temperature, I carefully let the biofilms slide in. Neither floated completely, and I hope they will straighten up eventually as they produce gas. Or not. Covered with double paper towels secured with rubber bands, and placed them on the counter, in a darker corner.

For now I do not intend to collect any samples, just to produce some kombucha and once I have more or less comparable “mothers,” then maybe starting a parallel experiment in earnest.

Oh and if you wonder why are the two containers different, there is a reason.

I could not find two large glass containers of matching size.

Time to visit a Goodwill store 🙂