What smells like vinegar, is slightly carbonated and has goopy-looking strands of fermentation floating around?

GT’s Kombucha


I discovered it at a little natural foods bodega about a year ago and have since seen it pop up in all sorts of shops and in no less an outlet than The New York Times (that paper loves its trend stories.)

This cultured tea-type beverage claims many health benefits — increased energy levels, decreased appetite, improved digestion, healthier skin and hair, stronger immune system, etc. It’s a shock the first time you open it (hopefully you did not shake it beforehand) and take a sip (you may think it went rancid and you should spit it out), but it grows on you. You even trick yourself into believing that you begin to feel a little bit more invincible. And it becomes downright tasty. [Caveat: I’ve only tried GT’s brand].

Jury’s out on its true health benefits. I’ve seen two outlets ominously quote a Dr. Andrew Weil: “I don’t recommend kombucha tea at all. I know of no scientific studies backing up the health claims made for it.”

So maybe I’ll stick to plain ole water for a bit more? But darn, I’m already addicted!