In case you’re not up on your trendy health drink knowledge, you should know that kombucha has had its time in the spotlight for a while now. The fermented tea drink, known for its energy-boosting abilities + health benefits, has become a welcome replacement for daily cup(s) of joe everywhere. People seem to be down to drink anything that provides energy + vitality (Matcha + apple cider vinegar, we’re lookin’ at you). Is kombucha a drink with magical powers, or are we all just a bunch of gullible chuggers that will down any drink that promises to make us better on the inside + outside?
We talked to nutrition expert to Albertsons Safeway grocery stores and registered dietitian Annessa Chumbley about all the kombucha myths that are out there, what it *actually* does for your body and why the stuff has become so incredibly popular.
True or False: You have to be 21 to buy kombucha because it’s boozy
False: If you are carded when purchasing kombucha, tell the cashier that you don’t have time for jokes and then show them this article (HI, CASHIER). The drink contains a teensy bit of ~alcohol~ (as in barely detectable) as a result of the fermentation process, and that’s about as far as the alcohol-in-kombucha story goes. Spoiler alert: No matter how much Kombucha you drink, you won’t get drunk. Ever. That said, it wouldn’t be Kombucha without the fermentation process, so don’t hold your breath for an completely alcohol-free version.
True or False: Kombucha can give you a coffee-like energy boost
Tralse/Frue: Because energy perception is subjective to the individual experiencing it, kombucha can give its drinkers a pep in their step, but it’s not the same intensely caffeinated boost you’d get if you were to chug a cup of coffee (you know, just like drinking unfermented tea). Annessa explained that everyone reacts differently to caffeine intake, so kombucha may be just what you need to bypass those sluggish mornings and jumpstart your day. Others could find little to no energy-boosting effect from drinking Kombucha. One thing’s for sure, though — you won’t get that jittery feeling after drinking kombucha which is a win on its own.
True or False: Those floaty things in Kombucha are alive
True: Each bottle of kombucha contains over 2 million — yes, MILLION — super-healthy living bacteria or probiotics. More specifically, remnants of the SCOBY, the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, the flaky remnants you see in the drink. It’s a little creepy when you think about it like that, so instead, try this: You know how when you open a bottle of Snapple, you can count on a fun little tidbit of info on the cap? Think of the floating SCOBY as the Snapple-cap info of kombucha drinks; it’s a mark of its official kombucha authenticity. The floating probiotics are classified as “good bacteria,” kinda like how salmon + avocado contain “good fat.”
True or False: All Kombucha is made with the same process
False: There is a consistent base formulation for Kombucha, but after that, it can vary. We may be biased, but we think DIY Kombucha is the best method to make the stuff (and it’s another excuse to use cute labels on mason jars). Annessa explained that in the case of Albertsons Safeway’s O Organics’ brand, (psst, they just came out with six new flavors) it begins with an organic kombucha base. The base contains yerba mate tea, organic juices, natural flavors and additional probiotic organisms. From there, Kombucha makers go cray and create different flavor combos that we can’t resist, despite the fact that we’re consciously drinking something with living, floaty things in it.
True or False: Kombucha can help fix digestion issues
True: Those SCOBY flakes aren’t just designed to spark a conversation among kombucha drinkers; they can really help with digestion. The bacteria actually line your stomach when you drink the ‘bucha to get your body to process everything else you intake more smoothly. Added SCOBY bonus? A stronger immune system.
So, what’s the bottom line when it comes to kombucha? We’re not doctors, but it seems to be a jitter-free way to give yourself a mental and physical boost. That said, it’s not a miracle drink (no drink is), and shouldn’t be treated as a cure-all. Annessa put it best: “Being healthy is a series of impactful habits, and kombucha can fit into that.” Wise words from a wise lady!
Have you gotten on board the Kombucha bandwagon? If so, what are your favorite flavors? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.