Have you fallen in love with kombucha yet? The fizzy, sweet-and-sour, probiotic tea drink is available for purchase all over these days. In glass bottles and cute little cans it comes spiked with ginger, berries, and other flavourings, and will really get things humming in the intestine area, if you know what I mean.

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If you really love ‘booch, you’ll want to start brewing it at home. For this you’ll need a SCOBY (a Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast). I got mine from my yoga teacher (I know, I know, could I write a more hippie-ish sentence if I tried?). My SCOBY is now roughly the size of a chunk of tire rubber (I should have taken more care to thin it out over time but… didn’t…) and will churn out a batch of ‘booch from sweetened tea in mere days.

My SCOBY collection... gross, eh?

My SCOBY collection… gross, eh?

However, this article is not supposed to be about how to make your own kombucha. This blog is about what to do with surplus sour ‘booch, of which I have a lot thanks to my tank-like SCOBYs (yes… plural… they’re stuck in my jars since they’re so big, meaning I can’t give them away).

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As with all fermented things, you start with sugar and bacteria. The bacteria eats the sugar, producing more bacteria (probiotics!) and acid/alcohol as a by product (this is what gives things like yogurt their tangy taste). The longer you let something ferment, the less sweet and more sour/alcoholic it becomes. ‘Booch that’s been given an impressive ferment time will be pretty darn sour. I often have some of this kicking around as my production generally outstrips my intake. This ‘booch can be used as a nice cooking vinegar, but guess what else it’s good for? An acidic hair rinse!

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I’d recommend using an unflavoured kombucha that’s been allowed to ferment for long enough that it tastes distinctly sour. If you don’t brew your own kombucha you can achieve this by purchasing a bottle of living kombucha from a store. Get one that comes in a glass bottle so you can swap the lid out for a coffee filter secured with an elastic band, and leave it somewhere reasonably warm and dark to continue to do its thing for a few weeks. You should start to see a thin, gelatinous layer form on the top of the kombucha—that’s your baby SCOBY (you can use this to start brewing your own ‘booch going forward if you want)! If that doesn’t happen (and especially if you start to see mould), toss it and try again with a different brand. Once the ‘booch tastes unpalatably sour, you are ready to rock and roll.

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Kombucha Hair Rinse

1 part sour, plain kombucha
3 parts water

Broad spectrum preservative of choice (why?)

Combine the liquids in a sqeezey bottle, cap, and shake to combine.

To use, pour the rinse over the length of your hair (avoiding your scalp to prevent early onset greasies in your wash cycle) after shampooing with homemade shampoo. Rinse your hair and enjoy!

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