I tried kombucha on a whim. I had heard of it, seen it on blogs and knew that our local green store even carries it on tap, but I’d never tried it. So when I was standing in front of the cold case at Whole Foods the other week I decided there was no time like the present. I asked a nearby associate to recommend his favorite brand and flavor and the rest was history. I’ve continued to drink it since that first try – same brand, same flavor – and it wasn’t until I was asked to explain what I was drinking that I realized I didn’t exactly know what I was drinking! So I did a little research and thought you might like to learn too. Exactly what is kombucha?
So Kombucha is an effervescent fermented tea beverage extending back to the Qin Dynasty in 220 BC. It is made of tea, water, sugar and SCOBY – Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. Basically the tea is brewed with sugar, and once it cools, the SCOBY is added and the mixture covered before it sits and ferments for 7-30 days. It contains probiotics, or healthy bacteria for the intestines, antioxidants and B vitamins and claims to be excellent for your digestion, boost your immune system and because of the antioxidants, serve as a cancer preventative. I should note that I did not find any scientific evidence to support this.
I must be a little behind the times because kombucha seems to be everywhere, from Whole Foods to your regular grocery store to restaurants and coffee shops. There is even a popular movement of making your own kombucha at home. (I think I’ll leave it to the experts.) For now I’ve been sticking to GT’s kombucha. Thank you Whole Foods employee! All kombucha has a vinegar-like flavor, but I enjoy the tart, refreshing taste and for someone who doesn’t drink soda, it’s a nice change to have some bubbles in my beverage. And as for whether or not it has any true health benefits – I’m not overly concerned. I don’t think there’s any harm in drinking the occasional kombucha. It certainly beats drinking soda or some other drink filled with artificial sweeteners, and if it helps even a bit with my digestion or immune system, then all the better!
What about you? Have you tried kombucha or even heard of it before? Do you think there are health benefits?