Kombucha

March 4, 2008

I picked up a bottle of kombucha while I was running some errands that took me near the local health food spot. I had been hearing about it on various food and beverage blogs and had been intrigued. Kombucha is basically fermented tea. You brew a jar of tea, toss in a bit of culture from the last batch, let it grow until it forms a big, slimy layer on top and presto, you have an ancient beverage full of probiotic goodness and other vague, unspecified benefits.

The stuff I bought is labeled “Raw,” and has visible bits of…stuff…floating around the bottom of the bottle. This, I am informed, is normal. The guy at the checkout register warned me against handling it too roughly, and let me carry it out by hand rather than bagging it.

“It will explode. It’s happened here before. A bottle fell over and the cap shot out way over there.” I told him I’d never had the stuff. “Some of them,” he said, “are pretty good. Others are…”

He paused.

“…earthy.”

I grabbed my stuff and came back to the office. Come in, sit down, uncap it and take a sip.

It tastes like carbonated vinegar. Nasty at first, but not so nasty that I want to immediately pitch it. One of those did I really just taste that? nastys. There were other flavors available – perhaps one of them would be a little more pleasant. This tastes like I suspected it would – a beverage on the verge of going bad. If something in the fridge had tasted like this, I would have tossed it immediately. I changed my mind. I think I’m done with this.

Oh well. Next stop is yerba mate.

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