I’m always on the lookout for healthy additions to my kitchen. I decided to try Kombucha after hearing and reading so much about it. Kombucha is fermented tea, therefore, there is a slight amount of alcohol in it. There are two main types – you can buy the kind with green tea, which is supposed to have some added green tea benefits, or black tea, which is the traditional kind. Like usual, the CDC and the Mayo Clinic advise against it until studies are done proving the potential benefits. Kombucha makers and drinkers say that kombucha helps the body with digestion with probiotics, its natural detoxification process and helps stabilize PH levels. Also, there are die hard Kombucha fans out there that claim a myriad of benefits. You get the idea, many of the natural health community think it’s fantastic. You can make Kombucha at home but you first need a starter culture to make it and then be very careful so you don’t contaminate it and make yourself sick. The best choice for me was to try what our Local Whole Foods carries – GT’s Kombucha. Their website shows the potential benefits. I chose Syngergy because it has fruit juice added and since I read about it before I bought it- I was expecting a vinegar taste…definitely want to decrease the vinegar flavor with juice! I was also aware that it has a natural carbonation – so don’t shake it up! The bottle warns you but if you’re not expecting it and don’t read the fine print on your bottles, you’ll notice the bits floating around on the bottom of the glass and be tempted to shake it. Don’t! Mine shook slightly in the process of buying and and walking to my car and it sprayed a tad bit. I can imagine if you give it a good shake!
Whole Foods had many different flavors and of those I purchased three: Divine Grape, Raspberry Rush, and Trilogy (raspberry, lemon and ginger). I first tried Divine Grape because the guy at Whole Foods said that was the most well-liked flavor. He also had a little wild look in his eye and wanted to know if I had ever tried it before. “No.” He smiled and said, “It’s really an acquired taste and it’s okay if you want to return them. I like them and think they’re great. Kombucha is really good for you. But, it’s okay if you want to return them.” Of course, this made me very excited to try it as soon as possible so I opened up the grape flavor right away – with a little spray like I said before since I’m not too graceful. I took a BIG whiff- whoah! Vinegar! The first sip actually wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. It almost felt like I was drinking a grape vinaigrette. Weird, but not bad. I could only drink half of the 16oz bottle. I put the rest in the fridge when I got home because they’re pretty expensive! I can’t say that my stomach felt any better afterwards, but I did feel a slight burst of energy with a little better focus than usual… I tend to get easily distracted usually. My next try was the Trilogy flavor – this was the day after too much wine the night before. I’m thinking it’ll help with digestion and energy so what a good thing to drink. I picked the wrong flavor for my tastebuds! Honestly, it was pretty bitter and although it’s not pretty to picture it, it made me belch. Burping up the lemon ginger (I didn’t taste raspberry in it) bitterness is not good when your stomach isn’t right in the first place. I drank a quarter of the bottle and gave it to my dad, who gave it to his trainer after a few sips. Now I’m drinking the raspberry – which doesn’t remind me as much of a viniagrette so much as the grape, and had the most subtle of the vinegar flavors. I want to make clear that the vinegar flavor really isn’t as bad as it sounds! But you need to know that before you try it because the smell and flavor are pretty obvious. I semi-enjoyed raspberry one, despite the vinegar flavor. With all three, I never drank the whole bottle all at once, it probably depends on the person, but 2-3 times per bottle worked for me. Make sure you refrigerate the bottle between drinking.
I thought it would be fun to do a completely non-scientific test on my pH level. I have some strips that you place under your tongue to test your pH level – so I had just eaten some hazlenut wafers and tested slightly acidic at 6.2… I usually am much higher than that. A general balanced acidity level is between 6.4 to 6.8 and generally the higher the better, which is more alkaline. After drinking almost half a bottle of the Raspberry Rush and almost an hour later, I tested at 6.4 which is a slight improvement. Did I give myself enough time for the Kombucha to take effect? I don’t know.
a note… after performing a spellcheck on this post, the beginning half had lots of spelling errors and the lower half had none. Conclusion: Kombucha made me spell/type better.
Update: I have purchased it again because I really liked the energy boost, but I’d probably have to be committed for awhile to determine if the other said benefits hold true for me. After each try, I did feel an energy rush. Not the jittery rush like you get with too much caffeine, but just a nice flow of energy. However, with the high price and the crappy economy, I do feel guilty buying such an expensive drink! And the fourth bottle (well…third since I didn’t really drink Trilogy) is the charm! I guess I got used to the vinegar flavor and it wasn’t near as surprising of a punch as before.
Update again 2/2011! I see lots of people find this review – but since GTS Syngergy Kombucha took a little break while Honest was making their kombucha (Hibiscus is awesome) and now GTS has been back for awhile, they changed their flavors. The flavor that I recommend and can’t seem to get enough – Guava Goddess!