What’s Kombucha?

I tried kombucha for the first time yesterday! I’ve read about it a few times, but I’ve never actually tried it before. I think I was hesitant because it contains “living cultures” and therefore is full of bacteria. I know yogurt contains cultures, too, and I’m obviously not afraid of yogurt. Maybe I’ve just seen too many pictures of SCOBies on the Internet. Whatever the reason, it made me a little nervous to try.

I did a bit of reading and learned that kombucha is a fermented tea drink that’s been around for over two hundred years. Since it’s fermented, it’s also slightly alcoholic, so it’s not recommended for pregnant women or young children.

Kombucha is produced by fermenting a “SCOBY,” which stands for a “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.” The SCOBY creates a film that floats on top of the kombucha as it brews. This living bacterial environment is thought to give the drink a probiotic effect. Although the benefits of drinking kombucha have not been scientifically proven, kombucha enthusiasts believe it can alleviate a wide variety of ailments such as asthma, arthritis, gout, and even cancer.

It’s important to note that if you’re a newbie drinker like me, you should only start with a few ounces at a time to minimize stomach upset. Being the hesitant person that I am, I only took a few swigs at first.

I also made the rookie mistake of shaking my bottle before I opened it. This is a no-no, because it’s carbonated from the bacteria and almost exploded on me. The website for GTS Living Foods, the parent brand of the Synergy kombucha line, advises to gently swirl the sediment on the bottom and not to shake. Whoops!

The flavor reminded me of a fruit-juice-meets-apple-cider-vinegar combination. Overall, I enjoyed it and found it to be sort of refreshing. I had the Gingerberry flavor and the ginger was pretty pronounced, which was good for me because I love ginger. According to their website, the Synergy brand has a wide variety of flavors that sound delicious.

I haven’t been drinking it long enough to say if it has any healing properties, but I did find it refreshing and interesting to try. Happy drinking!

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