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CLIF Blog

Apr. 18, 2006
Kombu…what?
delicious!Kombucha (kom-boo-cha)—currently, my favorite drink. What the heck is kombucha?
It's a fermented drink made from tea. A kombucha colony, made up of yeast and bacteria, is grown in the tea; much like making other forms of fermented foods, the colony lives on sugars present in the tea. Sometimes, it's referred to as “mushroom tea."

The flavor of the tea is very unique. Due to the action of the fermentation, the tea is carbonated and has a slightly sour and zingy flavor—quite refreshing! When the tea is ready to drink, there's no sugar left so it's not sweet and has very few calories.

Kombucha has an interesting history. Long regarded as a health drink and the “Elixir of Life," there are stories of kombucha during the Tsing Dynasty in 221 BC!

Apparently, kombucha is loaded with all kinds of good things including:




  • Organic acids (lactic, malic, acetic, oxalic, etc)—useful in helping cells detoxify


  • Enzymes—aid the body in digestion


  • Probiotics—"good” bacteria that live in the gut and help digestion


  • Antioxidants—helpful in preventing all sorts of disease


I don’t know if any of this is really true but I do know that I feel pretty good when I drink it and that's good enough for me.

I got so excited about kombucha that I decided to try to make it myself. The picture shows the starter culture. It feels like a slimy corn tortilla. You add it to some brewed tea, add sugar and allow that concoction to ferment. If you're up for making it yourself, there are a few kombucha tea websites you can check out for specific details; I found Kombucha Tea... and The Kombucha Center both quite helpful.

If you're not sure about growing it but want to try it out, you can buy it from lots of natural food stores. My favorite brand is GT’s and I'm particularly fond of the Gingerade and Gingerberry (maybe because I love ginger so much).

In case you're kind of grossed out, don't forget that there's lots of other fermented food out there such as beer, wine, sourdough bread, vinegar, kefir, cheeses, sausages, pickles and many others. You probably don’t think these foods are gross, do you?

PS: Thanks Jeff Z. for giving me some of your culture to get started.
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Category:
From the Kitchen
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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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