What is a Kombucha Mushroom Tea ?

What is a SCOBY?

The Kombucha Fungus or Tea Fungus, (either sounds terrible) becomes the Kombucha SCOBY (wow, what's that, sounds nice)

The mushroom or gelatinous gel that forms on the top of the brew produced during this process is fondly referred to as a SCOBY, or MOTHER. Mother being used to differentiate between the original SCOBY and the new SCOBY that is produced typically each brewing cycle. 

Kombucha = Serendipitous Colonies OBacteria & Yeasts.  

Some folks refer to the relationship of the Kombucha Bacteria and Yeasts as symbiotic. (the S in SCOBY) - as if the bacteria and yeast are in love and mutually admiring each other. Far from the truth they are. Each vie for domination. The yeast populate fast and crowd out the bacteria. The bacteria would be doomed but the yeast, as their population explodes, and bound by their confines, run out of oxygen. Forced to ferment to survive, their alcohol off-product fuels the bacteria revival. The bacteria's population now grows as the yeasts population succumbs to diminishing resources. Feeding off the alcohol and glucose the yeasts have created, the bacteria produce the mushroom that now seals the fate of the once-dominant yeast. Suffocating the yeast are now forced to produce more alcohol to feed their new masters - the bacteria. As the yeast's population declines, the bacteria rise.  The bacteria would now dominate with plenty of alcohol, glucose, and air - except for the hand of man. Or rather the thirst of man. Yep, it's quite a Serendipitous adventure. Harvesting when the brew is just to your perfection. Not too sweet, not too sour. Sparkling, healthy, with a taste sensation. If allowed to continue on its journey the bacteria would produce a poor vinegar. Running out of alcohol and glucose, the bacteria would then go after the dead yeast cells  and eventually even cannibalize the acetic acid they created. Vinegar flies would be attracted to the yeasts and Vinegar Eels would go after the bacteria, and life goes on. Don't worry we offer great guidance and dedicated to helping you produce a safe healthy Kombucha Tea - the Tea of Immortality!

Is Kombucha Safe. yes. But it may not be for everyone. Pregnant, nursing, infants, those with compromised immune systems, Some people become fatigued and quite tired - just the opposite of what the majority experience. Kombucha Tea - like any food - may suffer from contamination, poor hygiene, or a ferment gone wrong. Thankfully no one has ever died or become seriously sick from drinking kombucha tea. I have heard on average 50,000 people every year go to the hospital with serious food poisoning issues - mainly from eating at a restaurant. PubMed has reports of less than 10 suspicious cases of Kombucha poisoning where those folks went to their doctors with complaints about food poisoning which lead beck - or suspected - kombucha. Which may have been the case. For a more detailed article on why I don't think kombucha is for everyone and my Kombucha warnings please read my Kombucha Cautions and Safe Brewing article.  But know I do believe kombucha to be extremely safe. The CDC and the FDA has investigated Kombucha and concluded that Kombucha is safe. (when properly made). The TTB (the folks, in the U.S.A. that regulate the distribution and production, of fermented alcohol beverages - does regulate "Kombucha Beer" - kombucha that does have more than 0.5% alcohol by volume. You must be over 21 to purchase Kombucha Beer. The TTB does not regulate home production of kombucha, just like it does not regulate the home production of beer or wine. Nor does the TTB regulate Kombucha Tea sold in the stores that has less than 0.5% alcohol. 

Look at the kombucha brew. IF you see MOLD - similar to common household mold, typically will be FUZZY, or Dry and Dusty. Forms in small distinct patterns that are different than the mushroom. The mold will grow on top or the sides, but not in the tea itself.  Some kombucha books say to simply wash off the mushroom. Please visit our online gallery +with lots of pictures and descriptions of what to look for and what to avoid. There has been numerous examination of kombucha with mold. All reports that a properly fermented kombucha tea with a pH below 3.9 kills most human pathogens - or their cell count is so low so as not to be a threat. (Is Kombucha Safe articles in our Library) . My opinion is if you have any doubts throw it out.  We guarantee our cultures to produce a good healthy mushroom and kombucha tea. After that, you'll have 2 mushrooms which we encourage you to keep one as a spare (in a Kombucha Hotel) and every cycle thereafter extra mushrooms - just in case one goes bad. With proper care you'll have a lifetime supply. The original mushroom is referred to as "the mother", the kombucha mother, and the new mushroom that is produced is the kombucha baby. If left undisturbed, a new growth (kombucha baby) will also on top. It may appear that the mother is just getting fatter. There are a few times when no new growth may appear and yet good kombucha tea is produced. However, for the most part we are always looking for new growth of a new baby mushroom, as that will tell us the state of health of our ferment and kombucha brew. 

How do you say Kombucha? Kombucha is pronounced "Come Boo Cha".

At least that's the way I have been saying it. Kombucha does have lots of different names and pronunciations, and a lot of folk history. As I've said not all kombucha cultures are equal.

Mushroom or Fungus, what is kombucha? Is Kombucha a Tea Fungus?

There are many different recipes and ideas of what kombucha should be. There are many very similar looking "mushrooms" and healthy, beneficial drinks. Such as Jun, Ginger Beer, and MOV. About 50 different organisms that form a "mat" or "patty" or a gelatinous structure, on the surface of a ferment.

At first our scientist thought that this "mat" was a fungus. I imagine they were referring to it as a fungus as yeast are of the fungus family and the mat was a yeast patty - or fungus patty and hence kombucha become known as a fungus, Kombucha Fungus - or the Fungus Kombucha. As the common people knew fungus means mushroom and it looked more like a mushroom than a patty --- hence we now have Kombucha Mushroom Tea. note: the gelatinous structure is primarily cellulose and produced by the bacteria. Not a mushroom that grows out of the ground. 
 

How is Kombucha made?

Kombucha, also known as the Manchurian Mushroom, is a simple naturally fermented culture, made with water, sugar and tea. Left alone this water, sugar, and tea mixture will naturally ferment from any of the numerous airborne and ground organisms that should find such a paradise. Most of the time mold results.  The origins of Kombucha has been attributed to China - famous for its teas, (Cha) What makes Kombucha unique is the domination of a few selected airborne Acetobacter with compatible yeasts, which crowd out and dominate the stagnant, or left-over, or forgotten  tea. Some brave - or very thirsty soul found this neglected tea (Cha) exhilarating --- and apparently ignored the ugly looking thingy growing atop. They may have been excusing "it" as "Kombu" Japanese name for seaweed ... aw ha ... Kombu Cha. For picture guide of How to Make Kombucha see our Kombucha Brewing Guide article. 

Our Kombucha Culture is specifically fermented with the Gluconobacter genus of Acetobacter bacteria. The Gluconobacter subspecies is one of the bacteria reported in the studies quoted above as being enhanced by the co-fermentation of LAB isolated from Milk Kefir Grains. This bacterium converts the alcohol produced by the yeasts into the beneficial acetic and gluconic acids which makes kombucha tea distinct. (vinegar typically does not contain gluconic acid). Please see more complete analysis  See listing in our Library. 

Besides Milk Kefir Grains  (LAB) gluconic acid levels can also be increased with Continuous Brewing. Other variables which increase gluconic acid levels are Time & Temperature, type of sugar used: Honey already contains this acid, and Sour Cherry Juice produces extremely high levels of gluconic acid. (LINK) 

Lactobacillus (LAB, isolated from Milk Kefir) 

Lactic Acid Producing Bacteria. (LAB). These bacteria can ferment with or without oxygen from temperatures just above 60F to over 90F. all with slightly different results.  

Kombucha is a balance and a synergy of bacteria and yeasts. Their path is competitive - not symbiotic. There is fierce competition for food and resources. Mainly Glucose. Though the Gluconobacter prefer alcohol to glucose, which keeps the balance in a normal happy state - a three-way competition. also noted in the study above was that the Milk Kefir LAB helped the AAB survive longer. The Lactobacillus competes more with the yeast, going after the sugar, and if at low temperatures will leave the Gluconobacter out in the cold with little or no gluconic acid will be produced. Yeast add flavor while bacteria only really contribute to the sourness or sharpness of the brew. Look to balance your brew between the 3 main acids being produced in kombucha. 1. Gluconic Acid 2. Acetic Acid and 3. Lactic Acid.  Acetic acid is what makes vinegar. A strong and sharp taste. Lactic acid may or may not normally be in kombucha. It is mainly the gluconic acid that mellows out an otherwise harsh kombucha. Lactic acid is a sour but not sharp. It also helps to mellow out the acetic acid. Similar to Malolactic fermentation (conversion) or MLF where LAB are used to convert L -Malic Acid, in beer and wine, to a softer tasting L + lactic acid. 

Note:  Keeping the proper balance in your ferment is an art. All species are temperature dependent and react differently to the variables we provide, such as food, oxygen and water (hard or soft). Miraculously, kombucha survives. Only a few things go bad for kombucha home brewing.  Vinegar flies are a pest, Vinegar eels are destructive, Bacteria phages are a plague to our bacteria, and Mold we should avoid. Kombucha remains a safe healthy elixir. Easy and simple to make. Affordable - really cheap -  and just about fool-proof.  No worries. 

For example Silver Needle White Tea produced far greater gluconic acid levels than kombucha tea made with a black, green or combination of black and green tea   LINK The typical kombucha ferment produces acetic acid (0.7%) and gluconic acid (1.0%) in a nearly equal amount, (Cornell Study) Our White Kombucha Strain produces two to three times the amount of gluconic acid typically found in kombucha. (independent testing) 

SCOBY doo. Serendipitous Colony of BACTERIA and YEASTS.

On the yeast side there may be as many as a dozen yeast species that can successfully ferment Kombucha. Critical in importance is the Temperature. The crucial Gluconobacter needs to be at least 74F and higher. Higher temperatures tend to stress out yeasts and do unmentionable things.  We have identified and isolated 5 of these kombucha yeasts. 1. Torulaspora delbrueckii, 2. Brettanomyces 3. Saccharomyces Boulardii  4. Saccharomyces Banyanus, 5. zygosaccharomyces bailli. At present we are offering the first 3.

 

  1. 1.   Torulaspora delbrueckii, we find the most curious. This yeast uniquely is an aerobic yeast. Which means it doe not ferment when there is no oxygen. It goes dormant. As does the Gluconobacter. *1.  Whereas all the rest produce higher amounts of alcohol when the oxygen is cut off, and the Gluconobacter unable to convert alcohol into acetic acid leading to high alcohol levels – or a Kombucha Beer.  Please refer to our Second Stage Fermenting for details. 

However, T. Delbrueckii does finish off the sugar more completely than say S. Boulardii and can produce a Drier (less sweet) Kombucha with slightly higher beneficial acids. Please see our article on Torulaspora delbrueckii

  1. 2.   Brettanomyces is mostly known as a spoiler yeasts as it spoils wine, or creates a “barnyard” character to beer. We’ve chosen it here as its also a popular “Lambic” or wild brew, popular in some Wild American Ales. Most importantly for kombucha, it handles warmer temperatures better than most other yeasts, and thrives in Oak Casks. Personally I like the taste, not at all the barnyard typical in beers.
  2. 3.   Saccharomyces Boulardii  is a very well known and widely used probiotic, and our main reason for choosing this one. S. Boulardii is a sub species of  Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, the most widely used yeast in the world. Brews beer, bread and bakery needs. Also know as the ‘sugar fungus” which may have led to kombucha being referred to as the “tea fungus”. S. Boulardii ferments fast but leaves a large percentage of sugar behind so the Kombucha Tea remains sweeter despite longer fermenting time. Some breweries combine  S. Boulardii with T. delbrueckii for a more complete ferment of the sugar, which would benefit diabetics and other’s interested in reducing sugar levels without the vinegar (acetic acid ratios rising dramatically)

What does Kombucha need? 

To achieve this famous elixir, Kombucha requires a quiet space with Oxygen and warm temperatures (74F-84F).  In 9-14 days a slightly carbonated, semi-sweet, semi-sour elixir, with alcohol levels of fresh brewed kombucha around ~ 0.5% - about the same as freshly squeezed orange juice or fresh apple juice. 

What do I need to make kombucha mushroom tea? just 3 things and a place to call home. 

Water - typically boiled or filtered to remove the chlorine. 

Sugar -Which sugar do I use to make kombucha?

Use whatever sugar you personally use, or see our Which Sugar to Use Guide with about 50 fermentable options you have a good choice. Each different sugar imparts a different character, different nutrient value, different taste. Just as you are picky about your sugars so are the bacteria and yeasts. 

Tea - The kombucha is fine with any of the common grocery store variety.  And you are free to play with a huge number of premium and organic teas, herbs and spices that may be combined with about 50 sugar options that will get your creative juices going and your body be happier it has been in years. You'll swear your brew is illegal. :))


Herbs & Spices. Are a personal choice. May be added for taste, sometimes helps the kombucha, and often do both -- PLUS adds a real medicinal value.

Containers. There are some taboos such as lead or aluminum. or non-food-grade plastic. Most anything that is colored (there are exceptions) Any of your kitchen pots are OK to boil the water, dissolve the sugar, and steep the tea. Just need a container to brew your Kombucha Tea. Typical are the one-gallon glass pickle jars. These are often available from your local restaurant or thrift store. Of course, we have everything you need. All great for brewing kombucha and other probiotics. From 1/2 gallon to 8 gallon, glass, lead-free porcelain, food-grade plastic,  stainless steel, and the best American Oak Casks.  The typical one-gallon ferment taking 14 days to brew produces roughly 100 ounces of Kombucha Tea that you can bottle, refrigerate, and drink when you want. On average that's about 7 ounces a day. 2-gallon containers will double that to 14 ounces per day, which is usually good for 2 people. The Continuous Brewing Method a 2-Gallon container will produce 20-40 ounces of Kombucha Tea a day. 


Cloth, paper towel, secured with a rubber band, to cover the ferment while its brewing. Needs to be tight to keep out pests. Light, kitchen light or sunlight shone through the window will NOT harm the kombucha. Sunlight through a southern exposure may actually keep the kombucha a little warmer on those chilly days. The cover just needs to keep out pests. It is nice to cover completely to keep out pesky friends and neighbors who will poke at it and call it ugly - and you crazy. see pictures of kombucha brewing. These timid folks prefer Bottled Kombucha Mushroom TeaCapsules, or Kombucha Extracts. but making your own kombucha mushroom tea is simply, and really cheap. 

Tools. not essential but often make life a bit easier for both the kombucha and you. Heating Pads. Kombucha does well in the summer but sluggish in the winter. Higher temperatures produce a thicker, richer, more yeasty brew that many folks favor while the low temperatures produce a thinner, lighter, crisper brew. How do you know if your kombucha is safe or not ? pH Meters are recommended if you are going to bottle and store your brew for later. You plan to drink it as soon as possible then don't worry - but do check out State of Minnesota's Pickle Bill. designed to help folks make and store foods safely. How much sugar is in your kombucha? Check with a Hydrometer- if you are worried about sugar levels then get one they are reusable and worth it. How do I store my Kombucha Tea?  We have flip-top bottles, or you can use any recycled glass bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Choose a size that you'll be finishing that day. Temperature gaugesair locks, everything we can think of to make kombucha brewing more pleasurable. The difference between a man and a boy --- the price of his toys.  But really mom, these will save money - when compared to the price you pay in the store for one bottle of Kombucha Tea and how much you drink each day!  Seriously the tools are nice and convenient and make life easier -- but they are not absolutely needed. 

 

Higher levels of alcohol and lower levels of sugar as well as additional carbonation may be achieved by a simple and quick Secondary Ferment. Airlocks are recommended for safety. Distinct flavors and health benefits may be added at this time as well. All in our book, online library, or just email us. HappyHerbalist@me.com

Like its fermented relatives, Beer, Cider, Wine and Vinegar, different yeast and bacteria impact the fermenting process substantially. Our complimentary 77-page booklet describing these process's are included with each order. Information is also available in our online library, and our booklet may be downloaded for free. We also provide toll-free and email support for all kombucha brewers and serve as consultants for several commercial brewers. 

 

Besides exhilarating, what is Kombucha Tea good for? 

Kombucha benefits the pH naturally, restores the digestion, detox’s the body, alleviates pain and gives the body more energy.   It has a reputation for doing everything. In China, it is referred to as the Tea of Immortality. And it tastes great. 

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine's  yin yang theory  which predates western Acid Alkaline theory by thousands of years, balance is critical to health. As a pro biotic: Acidic kombucha tea, (pH 2-3.5) aids the Stomach in the breakdown and digestion of food.  Beneficial bacteria and yeasts, that comprise the Live Kombucha Tea or Pure Pressed Extract, compete with and help remove (suppress) harmful bacteria, yeast, and parasites. This may be why Candida sufferers can drink and also benefit from Kombucha Tea. Then due to the synergism of the stomach acids and kombucha, the transformed alkaline kombucha (pH 7+), aids the Spleen (function in TCM), intestines, gall bladder and pancreas (function in western speak) in metabolizing and distributing that digest throughout the body truly holistically balances and harmonizes the body. When one's appetite and digestion are good, life is generally good. Much of a body's overweight is attributed to a Damp Spleen (TCM terms). Once digestion is restored drinking raw kombucha, even with low amounts of sugar, gastrointestinal problems seem to resolve, over-weight issues fade away, kombucha tea appear to help the skin and hair, fatigue turns to energy. No wonder kombucha is referred to as the Divine Tsche, (Divine Tea) and as the Elixir of Life. 

As Kombucha balances the physical body, with healthy probiotics and beneficial acids, that transforms over-weight, while increasing muscle mass and tone, drinking Kombucha Tea balances the body's pH.  Drinking Live Raw Kombucha Mushroom Tea can actually change the  pH of the body. In a good way!  As researched recently by DR Robert Barefoot (Calcium Factor) and earlier by the 1928 Germans "Kombuchal"  (see German Reichspatent 538 028 our Library has a copy in the original German (Olde German) with an English translation).  Although it sounds weird that acidic Kombucha Tea (with a ph between 2.5 and 3.5) can alkalize the body (DR Barefoot's claim) to a healthy pH 6-7 . By using simple pH test strips at home, you can measure and observe your own body's pH becoming balanced. DR Barefoot attributed over 250 degenerative disease to a acidic body. 

Rosina Fasching was the niece of the famous  kombucha medical researcher Dr Rudolf Sklenar. who researched Kombucha extensively and developed Kombucha D1 Drops and Kombuchal,  Rosina herself did a lot of research on the Tea Fungus as Kombucha was referred to back then. Reports on Therapeutic Success and Cases from the Medical Practice and her uncles 30 years research on cancer and metabolic disturbances and how DR Sklenar used kombucha to treat cancer is in her book The Natural Remedy its Significance in Cases of CANCER and other Metabolic Diseases

KOMBUCHA - HEALTHY BEVERAGE NATURAL REMEDY FROM THE FAR EAST Its Correct preparation and Use by Gunther W. Frank. This is the Classic of kombucha literature. A very thorough research on kombucha, covering all subjects of interest to any kombucha enthusiast and the medicinal use of kombucha at a time when doctors and medicines were not available. 

 Follow us and we will help you discover your own secrets to creating your own Tea of Immortality. One that tastes great and works for you and your family. 

 

Options.  Which TEA to use in your brew.  You can use just about any tea, and you can mix teas, herbs and spices. Each of our tea packages contains 4 ounces and may make up to 8 gallons of Kombucha Tea.  You can be sure you'll be off to a great start.  

What tea do I use to make kombucha?  Your choice of tea does make a difference.  

When we first starting making kombucha we were told to only use black tea, and not to use organic tea at all. That "opinion" remains in many books and many places online. But we have found that not to be true. There're many other fallacies as well. "honey kills kombucha", only use "glass'" only use "white sugar" "keep in a dark place." and on and on. Michael Roussin's  (kombucha-research.com) first challenged these "rules". His questions and answers along with my study of Traditional Chinese Medicine, started me on my Kombucha quest.  


I would opine that it was Kombucha Tea, which lead Hippocrates to declare "Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine your food". 

One of the first noticeable differences is the taste. The second consideration is the health benefits.  Selecting which tea may help you to focus on a certain area of concern for you. 

I have evaluated and chosen the following teas based upon several factors. 1). my personal experience and practice as a licensed Traditional Chinese Medicinal Herbalist and my clinical Acupuncture practice in California.  2) the category of tea. Within each category, there is a wealth of choices one may make. Please use these categories as a guide in choosing teas for your personal goals. 

When Kombucha Tea first became popular in the United States ~1980’s there was very limited research. Now, fortunately, there is high-quality peer-reviewed and scientific research. Time and Temperature (rarely mentioned in folklore) also play a critical role in the chemistry. Please visit our free online research Library. 

For kombucha brewing use 2 spoonful’s (10 grams) per quart of water. This may be adjusted to personal taste, but serves as a good benchmark. There are roughly 30 grams per ounce. Steeping time remains a personal preference but when brewing kombucha a longer steep time releases more sterols, which in turn favor, the yeasts over the bacteria. Since kombucha brewing is a balancing act a long steep time favors the yeasts, short steep time favors the bacteria side of the equation.  

For additional Information on Tea and more choices click here

 

Black Tea 
Our Black Tea is Top Grade Certified (USDA) Organic loose leaf: (Finest Tippy Orange Pekoe) Rich full dark black tea leaves, flavorful and fragrant.

Early books and recipes on kombucha demanded that kombucha only be brewed in Black tea. (often referred to as Russian Tea).  Kombucha does wonderful in this tea and delivers a full rich brew.   Reported benefits of Black Tea: fatigue, aches and pain, stroke and other coronary disease as well as reducing pancreatic cancer.  The catechin fraction of black tea, at about 0.4 mg/ml, was shown to be antimicrobial against Streptococcus mutans, related to dental cavities found in human teeth.  Black tea contains the highest purine content - necessary for optimum kombucha brewing. Produces the more common sparkling apple cider taste.  Black Tea and Honey is often what we recommend for diabetics.  In Traditional Chinese Medicine Black Tea is often prescribed in the Winter, and Green Tea, which is cooler, is often prescribed in the summer. 
 

Green Tea. 

Green tea was the first rebel tea.  The tea that broke the stranglehold black tea held on kombucha. It was neither from taste nor loyalty. It was due to the numerous reports of the benefits of green tea coming out of Japan. If green tea could cure cancer, why can't I have it in my kombucha? 

we offer a fragrant loose leaf Certified (USDA) Organic Silver Leaf Green Tea. 

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, green tea; Clears the Head, Refreshes The Mind, Relieves Thirst and Restlessness, Resolves Phlegm and fatty deposits, Promotes Digestion, Activates Blood. Opens the acupuncture channels.  Its nature is Cooling and acts as  a diuretic and astringent.  Japanese and European studies indicate perceived benefits;  Reduces the Effects of Cigarette Smoking May Prevent Oral Cancer, may Prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis, anti-inflammatory, reduces pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of joint function, prevent tooth decay, works better than the antibiotic tetracycline. 

For kombucha brewing the kombucha mushrooms tend to be clearer and thinner than the traditional black tea brew. Green teas tend to produce bitter brews if steeped over 5 minutes. Green tea tends to produce a higher ratio of Gluconic to Acetic acid.  The result is it will not sour quite the same as black but the acidity will still be comparable.  Green tea is usually steeped quickly to avoid becoming too bitter.. If your kombucha brew tends to be flat switching to green tea helps to re-establish the sparkling nature of fine kombucha. Green tea tends to be lower in caffeine than Black tea. though the caffeine content depends upon the age of the tea leaf. Younger tea leaves have greater amounts of caffeine levels than the older more mature leaf. 

 

Our Organic Blend  
Certified Organic, 2 parts Black to 3 parts Green Tea Our Organic Blended Tea produces a sparkling traditional kombucha tea flavor. The use of Green Tea helps to  produce a higher ratio of Gluconic acid to Acetic acid.  The result will not sour quite the same as black but the acidity will still be comparable.   The combination of both makes an excellent taste and brew composition. (Black tea produces a higher overall percentage of beneficial acids)  In TCM Green Tea is COLD by nature while Black Tea is NEUTRAL. Therefore, the effect in TCM terms is a more cooling, typically sedating, kombucha tea.

 

Oolong tea   
Certified Organic Oolong Tea.  A interesting category of Chinese tea. It is not a Green (unfermented) nor a Black (fermented) tea. Nor is it simply half fermented and half unfermented tea. It is something in-between. To the western mind (especially those scientific types) something is something or it isn't. Everything as yes or no. You either have a disease or you do not have a disease. Ah, but the Chinese Taoists (earliest herbalists and tea cultivators) saw things in another dimension. As a third possibility. Something akin to fuzzy logic. The possibility of something else. Where Aristotle saw things only in Black or White (has to be one or the other) Traditional Chinese Medicine defined things in shades of grey. . Where Green Tea is cooling and Black Tea warming; oolong is neutral. One's tea, as in one's food (and medicine) could fit not only the external environment (summer, winter, autumn) but the individual as well.

This is a favorite for kombucha brewing. delivers a sparkling clean apple cider sensation. It tends to produce a more balanced blend of acids than either a black tea or a green tea. 

 

Silver Needle White Hair Tea  
Our Silver Needle White Hair tea is fantastic. A special tea high in antioxidants and consists totally of young buds that are covered with white down. Reputed to offer the most health benefits. The tender new growth leaf is the least processed of all teas. A world famous exquisite tea. 

Gluconic acid is associated with detoxifying, especially of heavy metals. There is also a significantly higher ratio of gluconic acid to acetic acid thus producing a smoother more pleasant taste. Another important factor is the amount of keto-gluconic acid present in the tea. Here again, in our Silver Needle White Hair Kombucha, we tested at close to twice that typical amount as well. This is the acid that that has been misidentified as glucuronic acid and leading to speculation for the wonderful health of those that drink kombucha tea. Highest in antioxidants and highest in medicinal value (Japanese Study). Produces a kombucha tea with a pale yellow hue with a light honey-sweet scent. Delicate in taste with a clean mellow sweetness the aftertaste is fresh, light and sweet. Most white teas are considered low in caffeine (as they are least fermented, yet since these are only the finest young buds picked in spring they have the most Yang energy of teas. The true champagne of kombucha tea and the most YANG. Quietly powerful.

 

 Tibetan Pu-erh Tea 

Loose leaf Grade A (high grade) and aged 4 years.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine Pu-erh gives warmth and energy to the Middle Burner (Spleen and Stomach). Supports the distribution of fluids and digestate and eliminates stagnate dampness. Aids the Gallbladder and ensures good metabolism by removing fats (damp heat) from the blood without decreasing energy. Aids digestion, helps detoxication. help produce saliva and slake thirst, dispel the effects of alcohol and refresh one’s mind. Pu-erh tea has functions of lowering the triglyceride, cholesterol and hyperuricemia Those with chronic illness of lungs, stomach and liver or a weakness of these organs can greatly profit from this tea.  This tea is often served in Southern China after meals. French researchers at St. Antoine Hospital in Paris found that three cups of pu-erh a day for a month brought lipids down 25 % in 20 hyperlipidemia patients

This is a favorite of kombucha enthusiast as it's claimed to enhance the kombucha teas overall affect notable in reducing body aches and pain. Another advantage is in the tea's natural sweetness and less sugar may be used. It’s a ideal tea to use for beginners as this tea does not sour as quickly and hold its pleasant taste a few days longer than typical teas. It is also economical. You need only about 1/2 of what is typically used without sacrificing in taste. It is also the easiest tea for beginners to brew as it's almost foolproof. You can use a little bit of tea or a lot. You can steep it briefly or overnight. And when its comes to when is the brew ready, it’s the most forgiving tea you can use.

Pu-erh tea's are washed before use. That is they are quickly rinsed in very hot water. This removes the dust that may have accumulated. The tea is very strong so there is no need to worry about watering down the tea or of having to used more. If you are using a tea ball or bag simply steep the tea for a quick minute, toss out the liquid and then place the rinsed pu-erh tea in your ferment (or cup of tea)

Pu-erh tea is often served in Southern Chinese restaurants especially after a heavy meal to aid digestion.   When brewed as a single cup of tea the flavor is very strong and earthy, but when fermented with kombucha the flavor is lighter and more mellow.   This is our most YIN of our kombucha mushrooms tea.  Produces a fulfilling completeness. 

 

 Combining teas. Many folks find blending and adding pieces of fresh or dried fruit and herbs make a perfect match.; Hawthorne, Elderberries, Wolfberries, Ginseng, have been popular for years.  We recommend Harald Tietze book (herbalist, kombucha author) as he offers hundreds of wonderful flavorful and healthy combinations. Various sugars and Tea, herbs and spices help create unique kombucha health benefits. Organic, raw, Kombucha Tea benefits the immune system, benefits the gastrointestinal system, in our Kombucha Research numerous kombucha scientific studies reveal natural benefits without side effects, and how kombucha works to benefit our bodies. 

 

My all time favorite a combination of Green tea  and Jasmine Flowers.

Dragon Pearl Tea   

Green Dragon Pearl Tea (Mo Li Long Zhu) is a beautiful fusion of tender green tea rolled leaves and jasmine flowers. A wonderful boutique. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine jasmine enhances green teas cooling and relaxing benefits as well as Kombucha own clearing affect. Synergistically   Kombucha tea and Dragon Pearls Dispels Wind, frees the channels, stops bleeding, and disperses  stasis: Used to treat Wind-Damp joint pain, and stiffness, trauma, cools the blood and stops swellings, painful obstructions of the throat.

The Chinese story for the absolute best tea - that to be served to the emperor I was told, was where just the youngest, most tender outermost leaves were chosen only at the earliest hours where the dew still moisten the tender leaf, and the sun gently warmed the leaf to open. Each delicate leaf upon opening was hand selected by 60 of the fairest celestial maidens who carefully and skillfully hand rolled each pearl While another of the fairest maidens took the same care and crafted each Jasmine flower to share in the tea. 

The preparation of the tea  should (IMHO) follow the same respect. Do not simply throw these pearls into a pot of hot water.

The water should be "shrimp eyes" the term used to describe water that is just about to boil. Carefully place each pearl into the water. Steep until each pearl opens and unfolds. Turn the water off and allow the pearls to breathe into the water. Then  remove.  

Take your time to sip this tea. Stop, close your eyes. Don't try to think of anything. Just the bouquet and the taste. 

The result is a rare enjoyment of relaxation even in a too-busy world. As a green tea, it is lower in caffeine than the common black teas. Yet since Dragon Pearls are made from the younger more tender leaves it is higher in caffeine than the inferior grades of green tea. One important advantage is that our Dragon Pearls may be steeped much longer (and may be used over again to make a tasteful cup of tea) without becoming bitter as common in green teas.

 

OPTIONS.  We offer additional choices. Add both flavor and medicinal quality to make your kombucha - more YOUR kombucha. Of course you don't have to add to your kombucha you may simply use these medicinal spices and herbs separately.  

At first, it was believed that Kombucha Mushroom Tea could only be made with black tea. We now know that both the bacteria and yeast feed off the nitrogen. That opens up very many possibilities - as a medicinal herbalist, for me, that was awesome!. Now your food can be your medicine and your medicine your food. Plus is so simple, easy, ever so affordable, and taste so good.  

Directions on use, either directly with brewing Kombucha, adding to Second Kombucha Ferment, or making a medicinal tincture or extract are included in our Kombucha 3.0 Booklet (free with any order, published in our Online Library, or available as a Free PDF download. 

 

Herbal tea and Spices  adds specific medicinal benefit

These herbal teas are not Camellia Sinensis. Kombucha purists recommend only fermented Camellia Sinensis (black tea) be used in kombucha brewing. However noted kombucha experts like  Guenther Frank and Harald Tietz. as well as my own experience state that many herbal teas are acceptable because it is the nitrogen that is important for successful  brewing. We have found each of selected herbal teas add medical value to the art of brewing kombucha. You can substitute any of these herbs and spices in place of the tea. (Camellia Sinensis)  We suggest to maintain viability that every fourth brew be done in regular tea (Camellia Sinensis) or 25% of every brew be with real tea (Camellia Sinensis.) The caffeine in Camellia Sinensis has a stimulating effect on the bacteria so if you find your ferment getting a bit lazy add some more real tea. 

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, food should be your medicine. And a cup of warm tea is a nice way to take your medicine. We started adding a choice of something other than tea (Camellia Sinensis) to our Kombucha Cultures due to the demand that many people benefited from drinking Kombucha Tea but were unable to handle the caffeine content even when brewed lightly with a decaffeinated tea. see our online article on adding herbs and spices to your brew. 

 

Rooibos Herbal Tea, 

One of the very first Herbal Teas that replaced Black Tea. -- Rooibos.  These rebellious kombucha souls did not want to give up their kombucha, but their bodies were being wrecked by the caffeine. Even though kombucha brewed with decaffeinated green tea contains only about 1/7 th that of a cup of decaffeinated green tea, some people yet feel adverse effects. (Yerba Mate was the other popular substitute).

Certified Organic naturally Caffeine Freea pleasant sweet red tea with a reminder of tai iced tea. Rooibos is naturally Caffeine Free and believed to be beneficial in the treatment of high blood pressurediabetes, mellitus, atherosclerosis, allergic diseases, various dermatus diseases, liver diseases and cataracts. 

Rooibos can strongly be recommended for people suffering from irritability, headaches, disturbed sleeping patterns, insomnia, nervous tension, depression or hypertension, as it contains no caffeine and has a soothing effect on the central nervous system.  Benefits the stomach and indigestive problems like nausea, vomiting, heartburn, stomach ulcers and constipation. Has anti-spasmodic properties, thus relieving stomach cramps and colic in infants. A benefit in the management of allergies like hay fever, asthma and eczema.  Rooibos has a soothing effect on the skin, relieving itching and certain skin irritations like eczema, nappy rash and acne when directly applied to the affected area. This enhances the aged kombucha tea?s own properties as well. Since Rooibos contains no oxalic acid it can be drunk freely by people suffering from kidney stones.  Can be used as a pick-me-up in the morning, a superb thirst-quencher during the day and at night it helps you to relax and get a good nights rest.

Rooibos has a very pleasant taste and flavor. Reminds me of Thai Ice Tea. 

 

 Yerba mate   Popular fermented in your Kombucha or just as a cup of tea. 
The average infusion of mate contains

Vitamins: A, C, E, B1, B2, Niacin (B3), B5, B Complex
Minerals: Calcium, Manganese, Iron, Selenium, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus
Additional Compounds: Fatty Acids, Chlorophyll, Flavonols, Polyphenols, Trace Minerals, Antioxidants, Pantothenic Acid and 15 Amino Acids.

According to Dr. Mowry, Director of Mountainwest Institute of Herbal Sciences, one group of investigators from the Pasteur Institute and the Paris Scientific Society concluded that Yerba Mate contains "practically all of the vitamins necessary to sustain life." They focused especially on Pantothenic Acid, remarking that it is "rare to find a plant with so much of this significant and vital nutrient. It is indeed difficult to find a plant in any area of the world equal to Mate in nutritional value."  

Quite a few folks brew their kombucha exclusively using Yerba Tate. We recommend brewing with at least 25% real tea, probably because personally Chai and Mate are not my cup of tea. 

 

Cayenne   

160,000 HU pure cayenne. Really Hot !  By comparison Tabasco Sauce  (good stuff) is about 40,000 HU.  Use as much or as little as you need. Cayenne ferments very well and may be used in the primary or Secondary Ferment. If you use it in your primary ferment be aware that the oil (capsicum, used in the pepper spray) will remain impregnated into your brew and if you use an Oak Cask will still be tasty long after. Not only is Cayenne flavorful and energetic in many ways its an incredible healing herb.  

Dr. Christopher and later Richard Schultz report that the cayenne pepper benefit both the heart and the health of the entire circulatory system. Dr. Christopher, after extensive experience, believed that cayenne pepper delivers vital nutrients directly to the heart within seconds of proper use. He utilized the stimulating effects of cayenne to restore proper function to the heart in heart attack cases.

Clinical and anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that cayenne pepper can be utilized to carry other substances, such as herbs and other nutrients, into the bloodstream - and sometimes within seconds. Extensive clinical studies conducted with cayenne pepper and Ginko Biloba demonstrate that Ginko is 75% more effective when used with cayenne.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine cayenne is excellent for DEFICIENCY conditions. Cayenne focuses on the Spleen's energy and to break through stagnations arising from a deficiency. Symptoms include: Deficiency of energy and lowered body resistance. Emaciation, listlessness, lassitude, shortness of breath, pallor, insomnia, poor memory, spontaneous and night sweating, nocturnal enuresis, alleviated by pressure, feel better after a bowel movement.

antidote: Milk or yogurt will quickly cool the burn, Use lots of water and air circulation if the eyes are affected.  

 

Ginger

Fantastic Taste, I just love Ginger. One of Traditional Chinese Medicine  most popular medicinal herbs.  a digestive, laxative, antitussive, ant flatulent, and antacid preparations.  abdominal pain and distention, and vomiting or diarrhea.  Restores Yang: Used to treat cold limbs and extreme weakness associated with devastated yang. Cold Phlegm coughing and panting.  Used to treat bleeding associated with cold obstructing the channels. Warms the Spleen and Stomach makes digestion better, as your digestion improves your health improves. Goes great in Kombucha Tea. Add as much or as little. Mellows out and increases effectiveness with cayenne.

This is Dried Ginger. Dried ginger is Hotter than Fresh Ginger. Fresh or Raw Ginger (Sheng Jiang) promotes sweating and dispersing exterior cold. While Dried Ginger (Gan Jiang) is more effective in warming the Spleen and Stomach and expelling interior cold, and more chronic conditions. 
 

Elderberries   

 the "medicine chest of the common people"   

Elderberries may have gotten its name from the medicine the Elders would make for those that were sick. Produces elderberry wine, jelly, bread and great Kombucha Tea.  Promotes urination and is an effective detoxifier. A traditional remedy for fever, colds,  flu. respiratory infections.   High in antioxidants. Helps chronic rheumatism, neuralgia, and sciatica. Can be used topically to clear infections such as acne, boils, and skin rashes. An astringent, immuno-stimulant, emetic, expectorant, diaphoretic, laxative, diuretic, sedative, and anti-inflammatory  - and it taste great !!

Elder is an excellent blood cleanser (it helps eliminate waste in the fluid surrounding the blood cells).  Elder flowers contain 3 rich sources of potassium plus viburnic acid (helpful for asthma an bronchitis), volatile oils, vitamin A, vitamin C. and bioflavonoids. Elderberry jam/jelly contains many vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin B17. In fact, elderberries contain more vitamin C than any other herb except for black currants and rosehips!

Research indicates that elderberries stimulate and build up the resistance of the immune system, and it also directly inhibits the influenza virus. 

 

GoJi  

Gou Qi Zi (Fructus Lycii Chinensis/ Lycium or Chinese Wolfberry), Popular in Traditional Chinese Medicine Three to four ounces of this juice is being touted as a benefit to the immune and hormonal systems.  For hypoglycemic and blood lipid lowering effect and the treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.   The famed Li Qing Yuen, who lived to the age of 252 years (1678-1930), consumed Goji berries daily. The life of Li Qing Yuen is the most well-documented case of extreme longevity known Li was a herbalist, and skilled in Chi Kung and spent much of his life in the mountain ranges. It is said that he changed his diet to consume little meat or root vegetables and limited his consumption of grain. Instead, he lived mainly on steamed above-ground vegetables and herbs, consuming both goji berries and panax ginseng on a daily basis. Goji berries have been traditionally regarded as a longevity, strength-building, and sexual potency food of the highest order. In several study groups with elderly people the berry was given once a day for 3 weeks and the results showed that appetite improved in 95% of the patients, 95% of the patients slept better, and 35% of the patients partially recovered their sexual function. All of the patients spirit and optimism increased significantly. A good daily intake of Goji berries is 10-30 grams (1/3 - 1 ounce a small handful). Goji berries may be used as snacks or mixed with recipes or smoothies like other dried fruits. Very sweet an goes great in Kombucha. 

 

 Korean Red Ginseng 

 The most Yang of all the Ginsengs. Although American Ginseng is more highly prized for its value to longevity, Red Ginseng's  high octane, "I need it now!" attitude, manifests a high testosterone level or energy level immediately. Because of its hormone attraction Red ginseng seems to slow down the growth of breast cancer.  Women should take Korean Red for only 3 months at a time and then rest because Red Ginseng is high in testosterone and will act like testosterone.  Ginseng is rich in  vitamins and minerals, amino acids, essential oils and enzymes.  Restore vitality, alleviates stress and tiredness, increase  blood circulation, concentration and enhances brain function.  It helps boosts the immune system, detoxifies the body's organs,  protects the liver and can detoxifies the effects of alcohol.  It helps combat ageing due to its antioxidants. Although it can be beneficial for those recovering from illness, surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and those suffering from diabetes, American Ginseng is far superior and safer.  Ginseng is the number one Chinese herb of Immortality. 

 

Gynostemma pentaphyllum, or Jiao gu lan  

Jiao Gu Lan in Chinese  (pronounced jee-ow-goo-lahn), is one of the  Chinese “Herb of Immortality,” given this nickname due to this herbs' many health giving qualities and anti-aging effects.  Also referred to as  "Southern Ginseng" Jiaogulan contains a large quantity of these saponins, known also as gypenosides. TCM uses this herb to treat jaundice and chronic bronchitis. It has the classic function of clearing away heat and toxins. Often referred to as "Southern Ginseng" as it contains large quantities of gypenosides. Japanese studies have indicated that Gynostemma has a double-direction, regulating influence, meaning it is calming when one is overexcited and stimulating when one is depressed. Contains many amino acids, vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Gynostemma is generally reinforcing to overall health and has a strong anti-fatigue effect.

Scientific research studies in China have shown that jiaogulan decreases cholesterol by improving the liver's ability to send sugar and carbohydrates to the muscles for conversion to energy instead of turning the sugar into triglycerides which the body stores as fat. 3 It lowers LDL's (bad cholesterol) while raising HDL's (good cholesterol). It improves fat metabolism, reduces blood fat levels and depresses lipid peroxide and fat sediment in the blood vessels.

Jiao Gu Lan, like Siberian Ginseng (another potent herb used in Kombucha) is a medicinal grass-like weed. Has a bitter taste. Definitely an acquired taste, I recommend using only in a Second Ferment. 

 

Green Super Food. 
USDA Certified Organic. Kosher Certification Service   Super Fuel

Ingredients: Totally Organic; Barley Grass, Wheat Grass, Dulse Leaf, Orange Peel, Beet Root, Dandelion Leaf, Lemon Peel, Ginkgo Leaf.

Our organic GreenPower blend is a synergistic blend of potent certified organic green plant foods. It is a complete green supplement and alkalizing superfood packaged with all the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that our bodies need to encourage optimum health and well being. Each ingredient is grown, harvested, and packaged to meet highest quality standards.

Mix with water, goes great with sparkling mineral water. Use with Kombucha, Kefir, and Japanese Water Crystals, to create a zesty tasteful nutritional rich natural energy elixir. 

With Fresh Kombucha: use 1-2 level spoonful’s along with your regular amount of tea when making a new batch.  Super Green Food Fuels the body and the kombucha. Mix with water, Kombucha, Kefir, Japanese Water Crystals, to create a zesty tasteful nutritional rich natural energy elixir. Caspian Sea Yogurt and bananas for a super smoothie 

 

Continuous Brewing vs Single Stage Brewing

We offer a wide choice of options and choices of brewing containers. There are now 2 popular methods of brewing Kombucha Tea. The Single Stage: where one starts with 10% of the previous batch of kombucha tea and the mother mushroom, adding 90% fresh sugar and Tea. The batch is then left to ferment typically for 8-14 days. Depending upon temperature - 8 days at 84F and 14 days at 74F, plus or minus depending upon personal preferences. The batch is then harvested, bottled for later, and another batch started.  We began recommending a Continuous Brewing Method because it allowed all the possible nutrients of the kombucha to be developed yet the taste right on, plus you could use a smaller container yet produce more tea.  In this method once the kombucha ferment is right at the point you like only 10 or 20% is removed and replaced on a daily basis. Each gallon of kombucha brewing in a single stage container will produce 128 ounces of kombucha less 10% to start the next batch. Maximum of 115.2 ounces per 8-14day cycle. While a Continuous Brew will produce 12.8 to 25.6 ounces per day or up to 204.8 ounces per 8-day brewing cycle. There are personal considerations and other concerns and good reasons why a Single Stage works better for you. Its just our thoughts is that the more choices we have the better. 

 

Heating Pads. 

Strangle some folk’s bluster that artificial heat will kill and disturb the delicate microbial world of the kombucha. But in reality, kombucha does not do well in winter. The Acetobacter bacteria responsible for producing the beneficial kombucha acids - gluconic acid and acetic acid are not that active below 72F. What you happen upon is more a LAB Ferment. Lactic Acid producing ferment led by the Lactobacillus bacteria which are active in chilly temperatures down to 60F. Undisputable LAB ferments are tasty, yummy and healthy. You got Jun, Ginger Beer, Japanese Water Crystals, Water Kefir, plus numerous regional favorites  and your base home ferments like sauerkraut and kim-che and lots of things pickled - but no gluconic acid which makes kombucha unique and healthy.  

Keeping your ferment at the proper temperature range was one of the first thoughts of modern Kombucha Experts like Guenther Frank who fist came out with a 30 watt kombucha heating pad sold mostly in the European market, followed by Harald Tietze, Australian Kombucha Expert (and Austrian Herbalist) who also produced a 30 watt heating pad for down-under and America. With Harald' guidance we starting making our own pads rated at 25 watts and have since expanded offering 6 different heating pads, and a digital regulator to keep your favorite brew and ferment just right. 



Most Probiotic Ferments do best in a warm temperature setting. We recommend a temperature range from 74 F to 84 F  (22-28.8 C) ,for Kombucha, Jun, Ginger Beer, Water Kefir, and Vinegar. While Villi and CSY and vegetable ferments like sauerkraut do well in the mid 60's (15.5 C) While one does not need constant temperature the greater the consistency the more reliable and predictable will be your ferment. OPTIONAL digital regulator helps maintain the optimal temperature without fear of over-heating. 

OPTIONAL digital regulator helps maintain the optimal temperature without fear of over-heating.  

 

Miscellaneous Items that come in handy, bottles, t-bags, water distiller. We  selected a few ones here, We have 4 more pages of cool stuff in our Accessory Page.  

 

Recommended Tools for Best Brewing Practices. 

 

pH Meter:    reg price $34.95

pH Testing. Applications: In home fermenting - Kombucha, Ginger Beer, Jun, Kefir, Vinegar, Beer, Wine and pickled foods, especially garlic. The State of Minnesota, Department of Agriculture, wrote the Pickle Bill, in an effort to help folks at home and those selling at  farmers market process safe foods. To be on the safe side, home ferments should have a pH under 4.0 at time of bottling. This is especially important where one is planning on storing their product for a longer period of time. The Pickle Bill recommends the pH be determined by a meter and not to use pH paper.   Our meter has a large digital display and reads from 1-14 (pH scale) to the tenths.  Optimum starting ferments for highest and faster growth is typically 5.4. At that level it is also easy for mold and pathogens to invade.  To lower the pH we recommend using some of your prior ferment or distilled vinegar. To raise the pH use baking soda or baking powder, or calcium carbonate. For more information on our pH meter click here. 

 

Hydrometer.  reg. price  $9.95

 Test Sugar and Alcohol levels of your Kombucha Tea, Ginger Beer & other Ferments. Can be used for Diabetic testing and other health concerns like water metabolism.   Hydrometer shows Specific Gravity from .990 to 1.170, Balling or Brix from 0 to +38% sugar by weight and Potential Alcohol by Volume from 0 to +22%.  Comes with instructions and is easy to use.  The Hydrometer and the pH meter are two of the most important tools for judging and determine fermentation of our bacterial / yeasts ferments. These also allow us to correct mistakes and make course corrections and to talk to other brewers who may be experiencing similar brewing problems.  For more information on our Hydrometer click here. 

 

 IR Temperature Gauge reg. price $9.95 

The third, and maybe the most important variable to one's ferment is the temperature.  Temperature is also directly related to Time. We have posted lots or articles on these variable and how one can adjust these variables to suit your own specific needs.  For more information visit our free Online Library. click here. 

Buy all three and save $10 buy all three now and save $10)  

 

Thank You.

Thank you for taking the time to read through our article.  There is more information in our Booklet and lots of articles and science stuff in our Library. And please feel free to contact us and ask questions.  HappyHerbalist@me.com 

 

For your patience and confidence the more you order the more you save. ... and as always if you discover that its not working for you,  you can return any item and we'll give you a full refund - you pay the shipping back and as long as its not damaged we'll give you a full refund or credit. We will work to make it right.  

I have studied and worked with Kombucha for over 25 years. I have used the tea and extract very successfully in my clinical practice in Santa Cruz, CA.  where I was a California licensed Acupuncturist and Medicinal Herbalist.  I continue to help both small scale and large commercial kombucha breweries, and start ups bring their magic to the kombucha world. I am positive I can help you achieve the success you are after. 

 Be  Serendipitous ... let's see what the new year brings.