WTF is Kombucha?
I first picked up kombucha (KOM-BOO-CHA) in 2013, when I was working as a photo assistant at Refinery29 during their start-up time and the drink was trending around the office. I mean it was heavily trending in the raw/vegan/influencers/fit/ fashion worlds as well and I could not try this unbelievably healthy drink. I had a taste then and deemed it not for me until this Summer, four years later. I tried it again, drinking it every day in the morning and realizing that this was a better way to wake up. The energy I got throughout the day from drinking kombucha had me like, "I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S NOT COFFEE!"
Ok, so, WTF is Kombucha?
Kombucha is an ancient sweet and sour, bubbly drink originated in China in 221 BC containing water, tea, sugar (the sugar can come from cane sugar, fruit or honey) and scoby which is an acronym for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. A scoby is the living home for the bacteria and yeast that transform sweet tea into tangy, fizzy kombucha. It contains natural probiotics and healthy organic acids, too! You're probably thinking YUM, right? But maybe you're also confused because you've probably heard what everyone has heard which is that kombucha has the WORST flavor in the world. Though I don't agree, that is not entirely false. The tea, sugar, and scoby go through a fermentation process which converts the sugar making the final product a black tea infused, way too fizzy drink with healthy and live bacteria.
So yes, it doesn't taste like heaven, or juice, or soda, or tea even. The best way I can describe it is tea seeped in extra bubbly cold water with a pinch of vinegar and sugar. At first sip, a brief party in your mouth and a splash to your brain. It's strange but...:
Here are five reasons why I got over the taste:
- Kombucha contains live bacteria called probiotics which helps with digestion.
- It lines the digestive tract and absorbs nutrients and fights off illnesses.
- It helps with the natural detoxification of the liver if you love alcohol.
- You get a boost of energy without the caffeine. This was the first side effect I noticed!
- Quercetin! which is associated with a long lifespan and massive anti-cancer properties and that bacteria was found in Kombucha in December 2016.
All of this means that I:
- Feel better going to Happy Hour every day because of Kombucha's major detox properties
- I've stopped drinking/craving coffee in the mornings
- Immune system on fleek
Our digestive system is the 2nd largest neurological system in the body; 80% of our digestive system is in our gut! In biology, they call our guts our 2nd brain. That's a wild thought but it makes all the sense in the world.
You can find Kombucha in most "healthy" cafes and some local bodegas and supermarkets but it is not everywhere and it should never be more than $3 - $5. At Grand Central station it is $7! My FAVORITE kombucha ever is Health-Ade Kombucha. They have flavors like ginger and lemon, pomegranate, apple, etc. Another kombucha company I really like it is Revive because they have amazing names for their flavors, quirky graphics and the size of the bottled kombucha is not as intimidating as the Health-Ade bottle. Now, yes, you can try this at home, literally. For example, these kombucha companies make them the same way we would at home, however since we are working with live bacteria, I feel better buying it. New item atop my bucket list is making my own endless amounts of kombucha at home and serving it to my guests when they come eat with us.
I say try it out. What do you have to lose? Plus when was the last time you TRULY and specifically fed your gut?