Why I Love Kombucha

The following post is from Kate of Modern Alternative Mama:

Image by zeeweez

Kombucha.

I joined a Weston A. Price group in the very beginning of 2009 and all the stuff people were talking about was so confusing to me.  Soaking grains?  FCLO?  Kombucha?  I had no idea what any of these things even were, let alone why I would want to have or do them.

I figured out what kombucha was (a fermented Chinese tea that is probiotic) and bought a bottle.  I was not impressed, and neither was my then 1-year-old daughter.  She refused to drink any of it and the bottle sat, barely touched, in the fridge for months, until we threw it away.  Not for me.

About a year later, after discovering my kids had all kinds of food allergies, I was faced with a new dilemma — how to get probiotics and healthy foods into us without breaking the bank.  I revisited the idea of kombucha, and found someone to send me a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast; you use this to brew it) and decided to give it a shot.  I’d tasted a different flavor from the store and loved it, but at $3.50 for 16-oz. bottle, that would get crazy expensive, fast. It was time to take the plunge and brew my own.  (This was April 2010.)

Two and a half years later, and there are perpetually six gallons of kombucha brewing at a time in my kitchen.  I just finished a bottle before sitting down to write this!  If you’ve never heard much about it, I’d like to introduce you.

Kombucha, Wonder Drink?

Kombucha, as I mentioned above, is a fermented Chinese tea.  No one is quite sure from where it originates.  It is brewed with a SCOBY, also sometimes called a mushroom (although it is not a fungus, it is just kind of funny-looking).  The brew starts with weak sweet tea, and the culture consumes the sugar and ferments the tea.  Plain kombucha tastes a little bit like apple cider vinegar (some say) and is usually bubbly.

There are several benefits to kombucha, and I’ll just summarize a few here.

Healthy “Beverage Replacement” Option

Trying to kick soda?  How about coffee?  Kombucha can replace these!  It’s carbonated, like soda (but naturally so, not forced) so it satisfies many peoples’ craving.  But it isn’t full of the sugar, artificial colors and flavors, etc. that soda is.  It contains a very small amount of caffeine, but more importantly, a lot of B vitamins, so it can help naturally give you energy (thus replacing coffee and other caffeinated drinks).

Good Health Benefits

In addition to helping you kick a soda addiction, kombucha has excellent health benefits.  It is great for hydration (contains electrolytes), has B vitamins for energy, and has probiotics.  In fact, it has so much good stuff that if you’re not used to probiotic foods, you might want to start slow!  It can have a pretty strong effect on some people.

Cheap and Easy to Make

I mentioned it’s really expensive to buy…but to brew yourself, it only costs around $1 a gallon.  It literally will take only 15 – 20 minutes of your time every week or two as well, making it very easy.  Plus, at home, you can make any flavor you like.  I enjoy strawberry lemonade, and a friend of mine recently made apple cider and cinnamon.  Get creative with any whole fruit or juice and come up with something you like best.  You can even add other herbs to increase the health benefits!

What Now?

Hopefully I have you convinced that this is something you’d like to try. Why not?  It has so many benefits!  (And it’s super yummy!)  But trying something new can be rather intimidating.  I know I felt awkward about brewing the first few times.

Maybe you’re a visual learner.  In that case, I hope this kombucha video I made helps you to get the confidence to give it a shot!

Have you ever tried kombucha, or do you hope to try it soon?  What flavor do you most enjoy or would you try first?

Kate is a wife and mommy to 3 and is passionate about God, health and food. She has written 7 cookbooks and is planning to release more in 2012. When she’s not blogging, she’s in the kitchen, sewing, or home schooling her children. You can find her at Modern Alternative Mama or contributing to Keeper of the Home.
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