Kombucha Machine

We are part of a team of eight co-researchers from Montreal, Paris, Copenhagen and Abidjan who are collaborating to design and fabricate a kombucha machine on multiple open-source online platforms. We are documenting our discussions and experiments to design and create a kombucha machine that bridges the temporal gap between bacterial cellulose production (a by-product of kombucha fermentation) and fermented tea beverage.

Bacterial cellulose is the by-product tea fermentation and requires a month-long process, while kombucha drinks need only a week-long fermentation process. This explains why kombucha brewers don’t recycle their cellulose sheets, and why biohackers who produce cellulose don’t use their fermented tea. At each stage, there is a risk of contamination which does not pose problem for non-edible uses, but in the case of kombucha tea, contamination would pose health hazards. In addition, because of the potential contamination of kombucha tea, brewers have to comply with extensive health and safety standard, such as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency or the United States Food and Drug Administration. This is the multi-layered problem we are attempting to bridge from an interdisciplinary and international exchange.

Scheduled meetings are being held via videoconference, while more technical contributions (technical drawings, results of experimentations, data related to the culture of bacterial cellulose, etc) are shared on Wikifactory.com and Trello.com, two open-source sharing platforms.

The project was presented by Ann-Louise Davidson and Théo Chauvirey at the FAB16 in 2021. A video of the kombucha machine was prepared for this event (forthcoming).

The step-by-step of the DIY Bacterial Cellulose Fermentor designed by Théo Chauvirey is published on Instructables: https://www.instructables.com/DIY-Kombucha-Bacterial-Cellulose-Fermentor/

Théo Chauvirey

Théo Chauvirey

Théo Chauvirey is a multidisciplinary designer who graduated from the Master of Design program at Concordia University. His work is articulated around experimental research on biomaterials (bacterial cellulose, mycelium) and their potential in the field of design. Théo has been a researcher member of the Biolab at Milieux Institute since 2017.
Ann-Louise Davidson

Ann-Louise Davidson

Professor | Director of Innovation Lab

Ann-Louise Davidson Ph.D. is the Director of Concordia University’s Innovation Lab and is the Innovation Strategic Advisor for the Faculty of Arts and Science. She is also Associate Director of the Milieux Institute for Art, Culture and Technology, where she directs #MilieuxMake, the institute’s makerspace.