DSC05852 (800x600)It’s got to be the “drink du jour” because it flies out of GreenAcres daily. What’s so good about kombuca? We’re asking you! It’s fizzy, fermented and tangy—in fact a tad too tangy for some. But for others, it’s got a certain “bite” that’s a mixture of live bacteria and yeast that keeps customers coming back for more.

Matt, an owner and GA-Bradley Fair store manager, saw an older customer carrying out four bottles one day, and thought he’d ask what he liked about the drink.  The man replied, “I don’t know.” Funny, but it shows the customer probably had seen an ad or read something about the product and just thought he’d try it.

It’s been called “mushroom tea” by some, although it contains no mushrooms. It looks like a lava lamp throwback to the 60s—kinda’ sludgy—but it’s the rage, as they say, and those who love it, can’t get enough.

“I’ve just read a lot about kombucha,” said another customer in her 20s. “It’s got a list of health benefits a mile long: improves digestion, lowers bad cholesterol, fights cancer—what’s not to love?!”

Some of the drinks that get their start in health food markets are now so mainstream, they are becoming Coca Cola (with a whole lot less market share.)  People are wiser today.  They know a lot about health and health food products. They are the grandkids of the Flower Child set and they don’t want to go down that “drugs and tobacco road.” They want to live vibrantly and maintain the energy as long as they can.  They don’t want to get their mojo back—they want to keep it forever!  Healthy forty year olds are now really in their late 20s health wise.  Who can knock it?!  Most of us want to be cycling into our 80s!

Five or six years ago, when kombucha started to get a foothold, there were kombucha smoothies, kombucha “teenies.” Forget the pomegranate and acai berries of yesteryear, bring on the “Gingerade!”

DSC05855 (800x600)So what is kombucha exactly? We went surfing the net for this explanation and a little history from About.com: “Kombucha is generally considered to be a tea that has been mixed with sugar and fermented in a manner akin to the way vinegar is made. On its own, it has a taste that’s similar to apple cider vinegar, so it is sometimes called “vinegar tea.” For wider appeal, it is often blended with other ingredients, such as fruit juice or unfermented tea.

The exact origins of kombucha are unknown, but it has been consumed in areas like Siberia, Russia, China and Tibet for thousands of years. Although kombucha is considered to be fermented tea today in the West, it may have originated with bread as its base.

After ages of use in the East, kombucha began to make its way to the U.S. It started with home brewers who were primarily interested in its health benefits. In the 1990s, brewers such as GT Dave (of Synergy Millennium) began to offer kombuchas that were brewed in a more controlled (and, thus, safer and more effective) manner.

“Since 2000, many more kombucha companies have opened and kombucha has shifted from being seen as a “hippie drink” to a fairly mainstream beverage. It’s now available in many grocery stores’ health food sections, as well as some restaurants, cafes and convenience stores. Flavors range from those with mass appeal (citrus, mango and the like) to those with more limited appeal (red clover, juniper berry and other health-centric ingredients).”

You can even make your own kombucha if you’ve got the time and ingredients. Here’s a link to know-how. http://www.foodrenegade.com/how-to-brew-kombucha-double-fermentation-method/

Of course, it’s far easier to let the manufacturers do the experimenting. We’re not touching that “gelatinous, floating pancake known as a SCOBY (for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast).” We’re leaving that to the experts.

You’ll notice on Facebook, kombucha is one of our “Swap Beverages.” We suggest swapping out a high fructose corn syrup cola with one of our kombuchas or kevitas (a sparkling probiotic drink), to see if you can break that sugar rush cycle.

If you want to try a bubbly probiotic kombucha, you might consider Health-Ade’s offerings this month. On sale 2/$5 till the end of January.

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