The other day we spoke with Kathy Taylor from Vibranz Beverages, makers of kombucha tea, which they call a "raw, organic, probiotic beverage." She explained that it's basically green tea, sugar, and a bacteria culture which feasts on the sugar, ferments the product, and creates gut-friendly probiotics.
You might have heard some of the controversy around kombucha, when Whole Foods pulled it from their shelves (all kombucha products) because, after some testing, some had been found to have a high alcohol content--more than the 0.5 percent required for drinks sold not as alcoholic--and in fact as high as some beers!
Kombucha is a tough thing to measure because so much of it is handmade in small batches, so product can be inconsistent across the board. Also, bear in mind that while this is not necessarily a harmful drink in any way, it could be if you have sensitivity to alcohol, and it's not been proven to cure/address any ailments. The Mayo Clinic says on its site that there's no proof that kombucha delivers on its claims.
Still, some people advocate so hard for it that it's enough to make one curious--especially if you think adding probiotics to your diet could help you out in the digestion department.
Whole Living published a story this year on how to make your OWN kombucha. If you make it, let us know what you think--or weigh in with your own YAY or NAY vote on kombucha tea. Let's say, I've heard it's an acquired taste.
Terri Trespicio is senior features editor at Whole Living magazine and the host of "Whole Living" on Martha Stewart Living Radio, which airs every day at 10a East / 7a West on Sirius 112 / XM 157. Follow her on twitter @TerriT.