Manchurian Mushroom.˜Booch Hooch. Vinegar Tea. Mushroom Tea. It’s all kombucha, and it’s the elusive beverage that’s been sweeping the nation’s juice bars and high- end grocery stores by storm. But what exactly is this wonder drink? Where did it come from, and most importantly: what is it?
If you have tried kombucha, you will recognize instantly its vinegary effervescence. Kombucha tastes something like a hybrid beer-tea with a cidery undertone, and for the unprepared tongue can be initially off-putting. So much so that many either love it or hate it, and those who love it can’t get enough of it.
Kombucha (come-BOO-chuh) is a fermented tea that, when brewed correctly, has no more alcohol in it than your average fruit juice. It is created when sweetened tea is allowed to ferment via a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast (or, SCOBY for short). The tea is left at room temperature to ferment for about 7-14 days, and is then decanted from the mother SCOBY culture and either flavored, fermented again with fruits or sugars, or consumed in its unaltered, raw state. Every healthy batch produces a secondary SCOBY, so it is quite easy to replicate the process and begin your own kombucha brewing adventures.
Originating around 220BC, Kombucha surfaced somewhere in the geographic area between Russia and China; though the name, when roughly translated from Japanese means “Seaweed Tea” further adding to the mystery of this tasty tonic. Through word of mouth and the generous sharing of SCOBY cultures, kombucha proliferated and saturated Asia, Europe, and worked its way to Coastal America.
Perhaps the most intriguing element to the elusiveness of kombucha- even more so than its mysterious origin- is its alleged ability to heal. From assisting cancer patients in recovery to helping gout sufferers ease the pain of imbalanced uric acid levels, kombucha’s ability to balance and restore our bodies has had a positive impact on most who drink it. Kombucha adds good probiotic components to our digestive system, and aids in restoring balance to our gut floras. When we take antibiotics, the bad AND good bacteria are destroyed, creating a situation conducive to the overgrowth of bad bugs (i.e., Candida), leading to a myriad of discomforts. Kombucha brings back the good bugs that help to fight the bad ones. It is also a great alternative to coconut water after strenuous workouts, as many find it helps with mitigating lactic acid fermentation.
In my opinion, kombucha is all of these, and kombucha is none of these. I, knock on wood, have not been a cancer patient, nor have I had gout, so I personally cannot support these claims. I can, though, confirm that kombucha has had a dramatically positive impact on my state of existence.Kombucha was the segue to a paradigm shift that led me out of the dog days of collegiate nutritional void and gluttonous debauchery, and into the light of slow- and- living foods goodness.Drinking kombucha helped me shed 30 pounds of excessive college weight, and continues to be a part of my healthy diet.
I recommend everyone consider adding Kombucha to their diet. Join me as I will discuss exactly how you should begin drinking the tea that will change your life forever in ways you cannot begin to fathom. Cheers!
 These claims have not been evaluated by the FDA. It is best to consult your primary health care provider before beginning a kombucha regimen. It is advised that pregnant or nursing women should avoid drinking kombucha and other fermented foods and beverages. It is also important, for the purposes of maintaining rational perspective, to recall that kombucha has been around longer than the FDA. Take this all to heart, and plan your experience accordingly.