Clothing made from kombucha tea


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/01/11/clothing-made-from-kombucha-te.html


#2

I want one.


#3

I’ve never had any interest in drinking Kombucha (dunno, maybe I would like it…) but making stuff out of it sounds like fun.


#4

That’s gotta smell awesome.


#5

I have experimented with SCOBY “leather”, and while it is fascinating to make and interesting to play with, I guarantee you do not want this shit in contact with your skin, because it (the SCOBY leather, not your skin) is slightly sticky, slightly slimy, and smells like cat pee.

Also, it’s tough while “dry” (although it’s always slightly moist), but in the presence of water – or sweat – it gets very slimy, and tends to slowly decompose/degrade/dissolve.

You want SCOBY boots on your feet, like portable trenchfoot? No, I thought not.


#6

Probably not.

Taste and enjoyment are not selling points for the stuff.

Feeling like you just drank the Swamp Thing definitely is.


#7

Kombucha “tea” is essentially dilute vinegar. Wikipedia states:

A SCOBY (for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) is a syntrophic mixed culture, generally associated with kombucha production wherein anaerobic ethanol fermentation (by yeast), anaerobic organic acid fermentation (by bacteria), and aerobic ethanol oxidation to acetate (by bacteria) all take place concurrently along an oxygen gradient.

In other words, the SCOBY eats sugar and excretes vinegar.

Vinegar is healthy stuff, no problem there. It’s not for everyone, but I like it.

Try different flavors. Feed your SCOBY some dilute blueberry juice; you’ll get delicious blueberry vinegar.


#8

Think vinegar-and-cat-pee.


#9

SCOBY snacks! :laughing:


#10

Yep, I make kombuchas and vinegars, the kombucha scoby and vinegar mothers are essentially the same type of organism and process.

i’d never wear a dry scoby around, without some sort of treatment i can’t see how this wouldn’t be totally gross and moldy within a month. once you remove the acidity that keeps mold in check scoby mold quite quickly.


#11

I very much like the taste of kombucha and enjoy drinking it… but then again I like vinegar :smile:


#12

Suzanne Lee got a fair amount of press working with bacterial cellulose for clothing (“biocouture”) more than a decade ago; it’s been years since I’ve read anything about it and all her old websites are gone now, presumably because it makes for a poor material for clothing without some serious bio-engineering (which may be part of her current focus).
Her stuff was a lot more developed:


#13

Some of them are pretty good. Some of them are pretty acrid and funky. The good stuff is crazy refreshing and a little bit tart. Though it can be a little… Savory? I dunno it’s got a weird flavor to it sometimes. Plus it helps you poop.

Not really my thing but it helps with a hang over.


#14

Speaking of impairments to food-grade SCOBY production, the SCOBY pellicle is a wonderful breeding ground for fruit flies (or whatever those little flies are). Just leave the cheesecloth off your SCOBY jar, and soon enough the flies will appear.

I raised many generation of flies (in the interest of science). With careful observation, you can see several phases of the flies’ life cycle: egg hatching, worm growing, fly emerging.

No, I did not drink the SCOBY fluid from these experiments.

Update: I also experimented with drying and reviving SCOBYs. They are highly conservative of moisture: fluid beneath a SCOBY pellicle will take months to dry up, even in a uncovered wide-mouth bowl in a dry environment. The pellicle slowly shrinks, becoming protectively hard on the outside; the inside retains precious moisture and remains viable for a surprisingly long time.


#15

Came here to say just this! A couple years ago I dehydrated some SCOBY after hearing the dried stuff made a good chew toy for pets. Pets did not care for it, and the dehydrator (and the kitchen) smelled like vinegary cat pee for a while after.
Imagine the smell of a closet full of these clothes!


#16

You don’t know what my skin feels or smells like.


#17

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