We're not here to convince you to drink kombucha--but we do want to let you know what it is and tell you about why we love it. (Yep, your friends here at TMC drink it on the reg - well, 50% of us do.)
In a nutshell, kombucha is fermented green or black tea. And it's not new. In fact, the first recorded use of kombucha is in China in 221 BC when it was known as the "Tea of Immortality". (Sidenote: We'd probably call it "Immortali-tea.")
The tea is mixed with bacteria and yeast, called a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast), and it's "fed" with sugar and left to ferment.
It's carbonated, tart, and can taste a little like apple cider vinegar (another thing Amy thinks you should drink, but we'll save that for another post). Usually, there's an additional flavor added like raspberry, ginger, or lemon. Some other flavors we've vetted and loved are hibiscus, hops, guava, and lavender.
Kombucha does contain a small amount of alcohol, and it falls into two camps. The first type of kombucha has altered probiotics that prevent it from fermenting further during storage and contains less than .5 percent alcohol.
The second category is 21+ kombucha. These contain more than .5 percent alcohol, but probably less than 3-4 percent alcohol in most cases. It's not an exact science, though. Much like wine and beer, the alcohol content can vary depending on the length and conditions of storage.
Both types of kombucha contain probiotics, beneficial bacteria that can help to colonize your gut with good microorganisms. Having more beneficial gut bacteria is said to provide health benefits such as a stronger immune system and improved digestion. It falls into the same category as other common fermented foods: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi. This is a big trend in 2018.
Other than its potential health benefits, "booch" is delicious! So whether you want to prevent illness, dive off the deep end into the nutrition world, or sip on something tasty, it's worth a shot (literally).