The kombucha craze – Is it still a thing?

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Isn’t Kombucha that weird health food drink that isn’t quite iced tea, isn’t quite coffee, and isn’t quite booze? Well, yes, it is all of those things, but it is also an incredible beverage that has all sorts of benefits. The bottled beverage seemed to burst on to the scene a few years ago as the new “it” beverage to replace the latte. But, since its meteoric rise in popularity, all sorts of new facts about the dynamic elixir have come to light. Maybe Kombucha isn’t flying off the shelves anymore like it was in 2016, but that amazing little drink has certainly carved out a niche in the American beverage market. It might not have people jumping in line every morning to grab their daily fungi infused pick-me-up. But, Kombucha is still a regular part of millions of people’s lives. Which is still surprising to this day.

A bottle of kombucha is literally alive

It’s not alive like Woody and Buzz in Toy Story. Bottles of Kombucha don’t jump off the shelves at night to go socialize with one another near the cash register. But, the delightful fermented beverage is created by mixing something called SCOBY, or Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast which by scientific definition is, in fact, a living organism. With fermented tea and sugar to create that signature taste. So your next bottle of Kombucha may not have its own unique personality, but that baby is alive. You should tell it “thank you,” before you take that first sip.

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Kombucha is fermented just like another well liked beverage

Kombucha is a fermented fungus-based drink. The brewing process for the amazing liquid includes yeast and is left to simmer for quite a while to get the flavor just right. Kombucha, like its delicious golden family member, is even just a bit alcoholic. While it doesn’t have a high alcohol level, it does have a 0.5% ABV. Wholefoods were even once forced to recall thousands of bottles of Kombucha due to its high alcohol level. Kombucha, like it’s heavier cousin, is also a good match with a lot of different foods.

A fungus infused beverage by any other name

In the information age, this might be a hard pill to swallow, but the origins of the word “Kombucha” are to this date unknown. The word is very close to the Japanese word “konbucha.” But to the Japanese that is a tea made of seaweed which looks similar to Kombucha, but is not alive, therefore they are not exactly the same. All over Asia different regions call the elixir by different names, all of which roughly translate to “red tea fungus,” or “tea mold. So, odds are the words come from that region. But, the exact epistemology of the word “kombucha” is still a mystery to the world.

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Kombucha is healthy, but take it with a grain of salt

Sure, drinking Kombucha has plenty of health benefits and it is certainly a healthy part of a balanced diet. But if you scurry down the wrong youtube rabbit hole you might find yourself believing Kombucha is the key to living forever. While to this date, scientists haven’t found any magical or divine properties to the beverage, it does have probiotic properties similar to yogurt. So, drinking Kombucha because it is delicious and good for you is definitely a good idea. But, drinking it as a cure for a disease or to give you superhuman powers is every bit as crazy as it sounds. Kombucha is absolutely good, but it’s not that good!

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Cultured clothing

Yeah, it sounds like some hippy-dippy, new-age nonsense, but Kombucha cultures can be fashioned into clothing. It may not come out as sturdy and sleek as leather, but it is still more than wearable. When Kombucha cultures are dried out they can form a textile called microbial cellulose, which can be used to make jackets, shirts, and even shoes. The textile comes out feeling like well-worn leather and while it still comes from a living being, no animals need to be harmed to acquire it. So the next time you are looking for a new outfit to really make a statement you can be the only person at the office party rocking microbial cellulose pants.