I had the privilege of getting my classmate’s and tutor’s input on my kombucha SCOBY work recently, as I ran a short workshop for them. In this workshop, I had them feel my existing SCOBYs (there were three, all different thicknesses) and work out which of a variety of materials might be the best analogue for the SCOBY. The most popular material to use seemed to be the parchment paper, followed by gelatin leaves. Eggshell membranes did not go unnoticed, however, and covering gelatin with colored membranes had an interesting effect.
At the center of the table sat my current brew, which I am attempting to make large enough to use for a finished product of some kind.
Several people made origami boxes out of the parchment paper, and the idea of making such a thing out of a SCOBY and then filling it with a dry edible, such as popcorn, gained the group’s approval. Besides an edible container, using the material in any way that could (theoretically) replace plastic or leather was at the forefront of all our minds. The problem with this, however, is that SCOBYs are not waterproof. I did some research into this, and the best I could find is that a mixture of beeswax and coconut oil can make the material water-resistant, but not waterproof. So as nice as it may be to daydream of growing your own earthy, biodegradable shoes, the truth is that those shoes would turn into jelly if you found yourself caught in the rain. Ideally, I would like to come up with a product that would actually benefit from its ability to drastically change composition when exposed to moisture. Until then, excuse me while I try to fold a SCOBY into a paper box.