I refer you to the Wikipedia article on kombucha: "Kombucha is available commercially, but can be made at home by fermenting tea using a visible solid mass of microorganisms called a kombucha culture or mushroom."
Yeah. It's made out of a f*@king bacterial mushroom. Seriously, look at this picture from the Wikipedia page:
It looks like a corpse floating in a jar. That's how you make kombucha. It looks like a bloody devil's drink or something, scooped out of the river Styx. Gyahhhhh. To be honest, I'm not even sure why I tried kombucha. I suppose it has to do with two things:
A. It is made of tea. It uses a tea base loaded with fermentables (sugar) in a controlled pH environment, allowing a fermentation using a special culture to take place.
B. It is fermented. I excel in fermented things. Beer, spirits, wine, sauerkraut, kimchi. They're tasty.
I found a bottle of GT's Organic Raw Kombucha at my local store Adams, one of the best stores in the world. I had been meaning to try this voodoo beverage for awhile after chatting with a few people about the supposed medicinal wonders of the beverage. My mom had always told me it was pretty damn horrible and she grew it once when I was very young. She said she took one sip and pretty much blew chunks. Spiffed biscuits. Prayed to the Porcelain Gods. Took a phone call on the white phone from Ralph. This did not paint a happy picture in my mind of how this beverage would taste. But, to prove my journalistic integrity and grit, I decided to try it. It's time to step outside my comfort zone here. Time to really try the weird, wacky, and the wonderful. That is what I profess to do, so by gods, I will do it. Here it is:
I chose Gingerade because I like ginger ale and, in case I did get queasy, at least there would be some ginger in it to calm my stomach against the hordes of nausea. There was a slight problem with it though. Since it was raw, it was un-strained. This meant that there were cloud-like nebula of "mushroom" floating daintily through the bottle. It looked like Bespin's Cloud City, only instead of clouds it was icky floating bacteria. This grosses the shit out of me so I decided to filter it into a cup and pour it back into the bottle. This is what the filter caught:
At this point in my quest I started both doubting whether or not I should continue writing my blog but rather just fade quietly into the inky depths of obscurity. I also started fervently praying to any god that would listen or I could think of. I sat down at my computer (the bottle is sitting next to me as I write this) and I indulged in a sensory immersion.
It smells....like Easter. Remember dyeing eggs with those Paas kits? A delightful afternoon was spent dissolving those colorful little tablets into a vinegar/water mix? It smells like that vinegar/water mix. As Patton Oswalt puts it so eloquently, it "smells like a vinegar fart". The taste is...interesting. There is a definite tea background, in this case a black tea. This tea background is quickly overshadowed by a powerful wallop of vinegar tartness which fades into a crisp ginger taste. It is...unique. It's not bad, actually, but it's much too acidic for my tastes. It pretty much tastes just like putting a dropper full of tea in a glass and filling to the top with apple cider vinegar. It is obviously not disgusting (I've had about a quarter of a bottle) but it's definitely not something I could drink regularly. It's just too damn acidic. The supposed health benefits might have me drink some of this cut with water every few months as some sort of detox of my system. Because, let's face it, all I do is drink and smoke. My body could use the toxin flush.