“Isn’t that the liquid with gooey alien thing?”

It’s a question that I hear frequently when I talk with people about kombucha – and for good reason. Kombucha is appearing rapidly in stores. Celebrities talk about it on podcasts and social media. Fitness gurus and nutritionists tout the benefits of kombucha as part of a healthy and cultured (badum tss) diet. Scientifically speaking, some of the claims regarding the health benefits according to these sources are true and others fall into the slippery slope category. (If you are really interested in the science of kombucha, hop onto Google scholar and check out some of the kombucha tests on mice.) The good news is that, while kombucha may seem like a fad, the beverage is thousands of years old.

So if you haven’t tried it, you might say, “Okay yeah, but what’s up with the gnarly looking jellyfish in the liquid? Why does it smell like a gym sock with cigarette buds stuffed inside?”

Before I continue, I want to be clear that I am not a nutritionist or a physician. If you have health concerns about kombucha, consult your physician or nutritionist. That said, I do brew kombucha commercially and at home. I enjoy kombucha and drink kombucha daily. With that, here are my top three reasons to try kombucha:

  1. Many kombuchas taste great – From kombucha brands that have flavors indistinguishable from soda flavors such as root beer to kombucha brands that infuse fruit juices, to kombucha brands that emphasize the tea flavors, you are bound to find a booch that fits your pallet. Don’t be deterred by the vinegary smell! What you smell is a natural part of the fermentation process. However, the vinegar smell is usually not characteristic of the flavor of the kombucha.
  2. Many kombucha brands are low in sugar – Now this point takes a bit of label reading. If you are sugar conscious, you will want to look for kombuchas that advertise themselves as raw and organic. Generally, the raw and organic means that the brewers use unrefined sugars, tea, and occasionally root based flavors. In other words, these booches avoid preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and are unpasteurized. This makes kombucha a flavorful and healthy alternative to alcohol and soda.
  3.  It is a nondairy alternative probiotic to yogurt – For those of you who may have a lactose intolerance or if you prefer a vegan/vegetarian/karma-free dietary choice, kombucha is the way to go. Make your gut happy with some good bacteria.And there you have it! Kombucha makes a refreshing drink with or without food. Take a swig in the morning, with a meal, or even after a workout. When you find a flavor you enjoy, see if it makes an appreciable difference in the quality of your digestion or energy. Kombucha is becoming more common in bars too. So if you want to go out with your peeps, but you are avoiding alcohol or getting after your abs game, grab a booch to have some fermented fun with your friends!