Where do you learn your lessons?

 25 days ago, I decided to try to make homemade kombucha. The first step is to grow a SCOBY. After this tea/sugar/store bought kombucha mixture sat in the dark recess of an upper cupboard for more than 3 weeks, I took it out and voila – the SCOBY had formed!

SCOBY, a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, is a weird formation that you can hold in your hand. A little wobbly, firmer than jello, but not as firm as a mushroom, it covers the surface of the tea mixture I hid in the cupboard. This is the base from which to create the tart, carbonated pro-biotic drink that I pay way too much for over the counter.

The SCOBY is the mother, driving force, source of Kombucha production. And in this nearly four-week process, I learned way more than I anticipated.

  1. It develops on its own. You boil water, add black tea, sugar and store bought kombucha to start the process. Then you cover it with cheesecloth and leave it alone. My lesson: when I figure something out on my own, I own what I figure out.
  2. It grows in the dark. You’re supposed to keep it in a dark space so the SCOBY will form to about a quarter of an inch thick. My lesson: when I wake up way before the sun rises and lie in bed, some of my best ideas come to me in silence and darkness.
  3. It’s all about time and temperature. If you rush the process, the SCOBY will be too thin and watery. If the temperature is too cold, it will die. My lesson: timing is critical in life, let it unfold. And whatever I do, if I’m too hot or too cold, I will be miserable.
  4. It can be repurposed. Since you keep using the SCOBY, you can tear a piece off and share it. Or use it in your garden or compost. It’s even edible – gag me. My lesson: share the things I learn with people who want to move forward in life, don’t keep it to myself.

I will never look at my SCOBY the same way again.

The next step is to wait for up to six days in this first fermentation. When it’s just right, you add flavors, bottle it up and wait a few more days in the second fermentation until you’re ready to drink it. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

May your Monday be filled with new discoveries. And if you’re exploring something you’d like to share, please let me know!

You’ve got this.