By KC Osmani Farmer
As more health food stores are emerging, so is the fizzy, tangy, probiotic drink kombucha. As the soda-like health drink appears in almost all major grocery stores, its popularity grows extensively. There are now several popular brands of kombucha hitting the shelves and making their way into the homes of many. The hype surrounding the beverage can be attributed to its oddly addicting taste that may just cure soda cravings. It is a drink that people can chug down one after another, free of guilt.
Time to dive into the health benefits of kombucha; yes, there are many. As advertised on the front label of most bottles of kombucha, it is a probiotic drink, meaning it has live bacteria cultures within the bottle. These live cultures of bacteria do good for the human body, and it is recommended by many doctors that everyone take a probiotic daily. The bacteria helps to clean out the digestive tract and leave good bacteria within the gut. Probiotics are known to help with inflammation, promote regularity in bowel movements, and even support weight loss. In addition, kombucha brewed from green tea contains many antioxidants known to reduce liver toxicity, as well as polyphenols, known to kill harmful micro-organisms. The list of health benefits ranges from better heart health to a reduced risk of cancer.
Yes, it is healthy, but does it taste good? Some people are quick to assume that because it is a health drink with many benefits and weird stuff like bacteria and live cultures in it, it cannot taste good. Oddly enough, the tart, tangy, twist of kombucha is actually quite addicting. People find themselves hooked after their first indulgence and can’t wait to try all the different flavors. Sure, some may argue that’s just a matter of opinion, but it’s not just one person’s opinion, it’s a lot of people. Kombucha’s popularity is growing fast and it can be seen all around if people look in the right places. Most grocery stores carry it. People are putting it on social media and even hipsters are endorsing it. To sum up, the taste of the average bottle of kombucha would be something along the lines of a cold, refreshing, carbonated drink, with a tangy lemon ginger taste and a slightly bitter aftertaste.
If it tastes so good and carries all the health benefits mentioned above, why isn’t everyone drinking it? Well, there’s one catch; it’s not the cheapest drink out there. Due to the long fermentation process required to brew kombucha, and the fact that it can only be stored in glass bottles, the price tends to be higher than that of a typical drink. Depending on the size of the bottle/cup of kombucha and where it is purchased from, the average cost can be anywhere from around three dollars to five or even six dollars. It is typically the more hipster, organic health food stores such as Whole Foods or Nature’s Food Patch that charge upward of five to seven dollars. It doesn’t help that it is almost impossible to buy the drink in bulk sizes, as most places only sell it in single bottles. It does not have to be expensive though; there is one way around this. If brewed by the consumer, rather than store bought, it can actually be very affordable. All that is needed to brew a batch of kombucha is a glass growler, some black or green tea, sugar, a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast), and some glass bottles for storing the kombucha in. The bottles, growler, and SCOBY are reusable, so after the first brew, all that is needed is tea and sugar.
Kombucha is a good tasting drink that provides many health benefits and should be consumed daily. It is readily available, as it can be found in a majority of supermarkets/health food stores. Some of the retailers that carry kombucha are Walmart, Publix, Fresh Market, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Nature’s Food Patch, and many others. If the price is too high, then kombucha can be brewed at home for as much as costs to brew a cup of tea.
Photo from servingrealness.com