I know I'm behind on this trend, but I've finally looked into the kombucha tea phenomenon. In case you are as unenlightened as I was, kombucha is a type of mushroom, and tea is well...tea. You let the two marry for a week on your counter, and tada! You have a drink that's yummy, non alcoholic and loaded with probiotics and enzymes. The trend follows right in the footsteps of the country's current obsession with "live" food. Food that's been soaked, sprouted, fermented etc within an inch of its life, into living breathing bacteria laden dinner (or in this case, beverage). Once upon a time, bacteria was a bad word, but now hip and healthy people like to sort their bacterium into two categories "Bad" and "Good". Good bacteria is in short supply in most of our digestive systems these days...hence crunchy America's fascination with all things probiotic.
If I'm being entirely honest, the process of making kombucha is disgusting. Also, there are several doctors that think the whole thing is deep hooey. You are forewarned.
Here's the recipe I followed.
You can buy a SCOBY ( Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). Or you can just pick up a bottle of Kombucha at Whole Foods, and grow your own from the mushroom floating around the bottom of the bottle. I did neither. Rather my sister Liz did the ugly job, grew one massive mother of all SCOBY mothers, and gave me one of her many many many SCOBY babies. (note: these are her hands. My hands are at a safe distance pushing the shutter button on the camera. I must confess I gagged when I touched the SCOBY. It feels both alive and dead...basically a zombie mushroom).
Here's my SCOBY baby hanging out with the tea. (note: The term "baby" is strictly used scientifically by me and in no way denotes endearment for said zombie mushroom).
I happen to like the taste of kombucha tea, it tastes kind of like a cross between soda and beer to me. But if you don't like beer, you're probably going to want to add some flavoring when you bottle it. I did raspberry ginger kombucha for fun.
After my kombucha was done brewing, I used recycled bottles to bottle up my own and store in the fridge (note: the row of pretty bottles in my fridge is finally the first attractive thing about this whole process).
I should also note, that I most definitely would not have survived this process without my sister's help. Besides the SCOBY baby, she also provided the bottle caps and bottle-capping-apparatus. Plus, she has bizarrely strong hands that can manhandle said bottle-capping-apparatus that was apparently designed to be used only by Samson. Me? Not so much.
See? Pretty. Whew.