Where does one acquire a kombacha culture from?
You can use a commercial bottle or buy a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) online. Amazon has them. Real hippies share their SCOBY as they just keep getting larger and larger the more batches you make. They look like large disks that are part pizza dough, leather, and booger.
Thanks Steve. Is it possible to "breed" a SCOBY from WLP or wyeast parts like a mad scientist?
as far as I know the yeast banks don't keep all the component biota but it really is pretty easy. I grabbed a growler of some live culture kombucha at the hippie market (I went to my co-op but I'm sure WholePaycheck has some as well). mix up about 1 quart of tea/sugar liquid. I used about 4 tablespoons of sugar in a quart of water and a bunch of black tea. Add the last pint or so of kombucha to the starter and let that go.
By adding that much kombucha you acidify the starter to help protect it from mold. I used RO water for mine for the same reason I use it for beer, namely my local water is crap.
When that gets done (kind of hard to tell but you will see a thin pellicle like formation eventually) you can step it up to a gallon or two.
I'm a beginner at this Kombucha thing having made one batch and bottled 9 bottles worth. My wife loves the stuff and we save the little pint sized growlers (if the half growlers are squeelers, what are the quarter sized ones? Squeakers?) I use them for beer on the go or for kombucha.
mine have not gotten sparkly yet though so perhaps my culture is short on the yeast part or I did something wrong.