Real kombucha is actually powdered kombu (seaweed) mixed with macha (Japanese green tea). Disolved in boiling water, it makes a delightful broth.

But there is another thing that has been dubbed Kombucha and it is a very, very scary thing. It is, first of all, not made from Japanese (kombu), nor is it cha (tea). It is something that lives in tea. It is a flat, brown, slippery disc, a cross between an algae bloom and a mushroom. Once placed in sweetened black tea, it begins to eat. And it pees. Its pee makes the tea taste like apple cider. (...Well, not really, but that description makes people feel better about drinking it.) Some people say this is good for you, makes you gain XP, jump tall buildings without even bounding, and cures the heartbreak of psoriasis. The blind can see, the halt can not only walk, but they too are bounding over buildings.

Everyone is bounding, bounding! Why? Because of the magic of Kombucha, the Russian health drink made from something’s pee.

The only thing is, like kefir, this thing grows. And replicates. It begins as a small, flat brown disc, looks a bit like a soggy brown frisbee and smells baaaaad. Worse still, the next day it breeds and there are now two brown discs. Baby kombucha are attached to the underside of the mother kombucha, so you have to lift mom up to see the baby. And the next day both of them will breed. And then the four of them will breed. The math is something like: in twelve days we will all be covered in Kombucha! In thirty they will top off the atmosphere. Well, they would if given enough sweet black tea. So don't give them any. Giving is the whole problem here.

Thank Zeus for the laziness and devil-may-care murderous impulses of most people who receive these things from their friends. Someone gave me one. The next day, it had a baby. I peeled it off and looked at the two of them. I did the math. I wrapped both of them in waxed paper, put them in zip-loc freezer bags and put them in the freezer. They're still in there. Journeying into the future and the eventual complete and total domination of Planet Earth. Can you still sleep at night, knowing what is in my freezer? I can't.