KOMBUCHA IS A FIZZY BREWED TEA THAT IS MADE WITH A GROSS-LOOK­ING bac­te­rial cul­ture. Put an­other way, in a more flat­ter­ing light, we might de­scribe it as a light, sparkling bev­er­age, served chilled, and cre­ated from a very sim­ple in­fu­sion of tea with sugar and me­tab­o­lized by a kombucha cul­ture. That kombucha cul­ture is af­fec­tion­ately known as SCOBY (sym­bi­otic cul­ture of bac­te­ria and yeast), a ques­tion­able look­ing, large, jelly-like mass.


Kombucha is de­li­cious, and a great re­place­ment for soda. The tea be­comes a fer­mented di­ges­tive and liver tonic when the SCOBY di­gests the sugar and caf­feine, cre­at­ing a mass con­cen­tra­tion of ac­tive en­zymes, min­er­als and vi­ta­mins C, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 and B15. You will of­ten find it in a va­ri­ety of flavours like gin­ger, hibis­cus or berry. The slightly sour, some­what sweet flavour and the added fizz, sim­i­lar to the small bub­bles found in a cham­pagne, make it a pop­u­lar al­ter­na­tive to al­co­hol as a sip­ping bev­er­age.

An­other ben­e­fit of kombucha is that, though it is in­creas­ingly widely avail­able, you can also make it at home. All you need is a SCOBY cul­ture (which you can now pur­chase through var­i­ous ven­dors on Etsy or Ama­zon), plus black or Earl Grey tea and or­ganic sugar. It’s that easy. You can also flavour it to your de­sired taste. For sug­ges­tions, check out the flavour­ing guide at the Academy of Culi­nary Nutri­tion.


Though it can be tempt­ing to buy a bot­tle of blue­berry kombucha from the fridge at your lo­cal health food store and chug it back, be care­ful! Re­mem­ber when I men­tioned the live ac­tive en­zymes that have a ben­e­fi­cial ef­fect on di­ges­tion and the liver? Well too much of a good thing isn’t al­ways a good thing. You could end up mak­ing a bee­line for the loo.

In­stead, start by en­joy­ing a quar­ter of a cup serv­ing, sipped slowly. I know it’s re­fresh­ing and de­li­cious and those lit­tle bub­bles make it ex­tra thirst-quench­ing, but be strong my friend. This is where you get to ex­er­cise your mod­er­a­tion mus­cle.

And so, the very best way to en­joy it is to sip from a wine­glass, or use it as a mixer in your favourite mock­tails or cock­tails.

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