What’s that cloudy beverage known as kombucha and sometimes affectionately called “booch” that everyone is drinking these days? It’s a sweetened tea that’s fermented with a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY, the culture starter needed to make kombucha) that turns it into a naturally effervescent tonic people drink for health benefits. Fermented foods like kombucha, yogurt, tempeh, and sauerkraut are packed with probiotics that support digestion.
Kombucha seems to be new and trendy, but it’s actually an ancient Chinese beverage that has 2,000 plus years of tradition as an immortality elixir behind it. The tea is a great alternative to pop or other sugar-filled, carbonated beverages. It does contain trace amounts of caffeine, but you’ll find the same amount of the jittery stuff in 16 ounces of kombucha as you would in a few sips of coffee. As far as health benefits go, we know kombucha contains high amounts of B vitamins, antioxidants, belly-boosting probiotics, joint-friendly glucosamine, and detoxifying glucaric acids.
We’re always searching for great-tasting local products: One of our favorites is NessAlla Kombucha, a small-batch craft brewer of raw, fair trade, organic kombucha that was started by two moms and certified herbalists in Madison, Wisconsin. Vanessa Tortolano (also a talented musician) and Alla Shapiro (who hails from Russia and is also a health educator) came together with a common vision of helping community members gain a deeper knowledge of health and well-being. They soon became known for their tasty kombucha, their workshops sold out, and they had a SCOBY farm growing! In May 2008, they launched their business, one of the first small, local kombucha makers in the United States. “There are so many questions about the quality of our food system and the integrity of the ‘big business’ producers, so it feels good to be able to provide a local product and get people excited about the local foods movement and supporting their local artisans and community,” says Alla. NessAlla uses only fair trade or organic ingredients, including Milwaukee-made Rishi tea and wild-crafted herbs.
NessAlla Kombucha is fresh, local and naturally uplifts the mind and body. Don’t be alarmed if you see a little SCOBY floating around in your booch. All kombucha may contain bits of the cloudy culture, which is natural, normal, and safe to consume. You can even save it to brew your own batch. We carry seven flavors: Traditional Oolong, Blueberry, Rasberry, Juniper Rose, Peach Blush, Lemongrass Ginger, and Seasonal. Why not try one today?