Kombucha Chronicles: Drinking the Fermented Tea

Our booch habit has been developing for a long time. My husband and I had our first taste at a yoga & meditation convention in Toronto over a year ago. We both enjoy a good hot yoga session now and then, but we aren’t subscribers to the holistic and spiritual aspects of the New Age lifestyle. Whatever, we had free tickets and it was something to do.

Feeling very uncomfortable with the crystals, chanting workshops, and no-touching “massages” on offer, we proceeded to eat our way through the convention, taking every free sample we could get our hands on. Hooray for food! -the great equalizer.

One sample presented was a tiny plastic cup of cold tea called Kombucha (pronounce: com-boo-cha). It was good. We politely chatted with the proprietor and learnt that it was made via a fermentation process vaguely similar to making hard cider, but that something about the microbes used meant that the resulting beverage was not alcoholic but actually full of incredible health benefits. This is when we smiled and slowly backed away.

Months later while grocery shopping, Liam spots a glass bottle near the register labelled kombucha. Feeling thirsty and slightly under the weather, my always-sticks-to-the-list-and-never-impulse-buys accountant husband actually grabs it, spends $3.99 on it, and brings it home.

We were hooked. It is delicious. It’s bubbly and not too sweet. Over time we try all the flavours and each find our favourite flavour. Sharing a bottle becomes our weekly shopping-trip treat. One week it’s on sale so we buy two bottles. It’s never on sale again but we keep buying two bottles. We start going to other stores just to find different brands and flavours of kombucha to try. After a while we notice that our digestive health has never been better, and if we skip a week things in our tummies start to go funny.

We keep saying that we have to cut back on the kombucha because it’s too expensive. But we don’t want to cut back! We want more kombucha. Maybe a small glass every morning, or a refreshing, restorative cup after a stressful day at work. We never want to drink pop again. We start inventing flavours we wish existed. We get excited when we meet anyone who has ever heard of it before and fly into high-pitched allocution about kombucha awesomeness to anyone who will listen. We are utterly and irrevocably in love. There is no going back.

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So here I am, the girl who rolled her eyes at the very idea of a pro-biotic elixir discovered by the Tsin dynasty and used for thousands of years, attempting to make the stuff in my kitchen. What choice do I have?

Thanks to the wonderful, cooperative, sharing nature of the New Age on-line community, the process for home-made kombucha is no secret. From all I’ve read out there it seems desperately simple and the scientist in me is incredibly excited to conduct this experiment.

So join me as I chronicle my journey from closed-minded consumer to liberated home-brew kombucha goddess. Namaste everyone.

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