Tim and I just got into Austin where we are staying in a wonderful house owned by our equally wonderful hostess. On top of being a retired massage therapist and all-around nice (and enviably hard) human being, she also home brews kombucha, a fermented beverage made from tea and live cultures. She left a jug of the stuff in the fridge for us (along with a few beers and some ginger ale) – what a warm welcome!
I’d never had kombucha before but it was the perfect tonic for after a flight. Slightly sweet and carbonated, kombucha tastes almost alcoholic, and I wondered whether I should be gulping the stuff down right before we were to meet some friends for dinner. I’ve since learned that kombucha is only mildly alcoholic due to the fermentation process (this brew was about 0.5% abv) and moreover, has a lot of potential health benefits. For example, since kombucha is made with bacteria cultures (much like yogurt) it is thought to aid in digestion. Other health claims include stimulating the immune system, preventing cancer and improving liver function.
None of these claims have been verified, of course, but the important thing is that it tastes delicious, is totally natural and is so refreshing, especially in this 100-degree Austin heat! It makes me want to try brewing my own when I get back to England.