Last week at Pitt’s Spring Into Nutrition expo, I served samples of kombucha to students and faculty as part of my Trendy Foods booth. Since I’m a bit of a kombucha fanatic, I hadn’t thought about how some people might feel about trying this slightly vinegary, fermented drink. Here’s what happened.
They didn’t know what it was.
Kombucha is fermented black tea. It is made by mixing (cooled) black tea with sugar and a culture called a scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, pictured above), then allowing that mixture to ferment at room temperature for a few weeks.
Their ignorance actually worked in my favor — if they knew what a scoby was they never would have let kombucha pass their lips. A lot of people recognized the GT’s bottle I had sitting out, but they didn’t have a clue what the drink actually was.
They hesitated when I suggested they try it.
Realistically, this is a very foreign food to people who have never tried it before.
They took a deep breath and tossed it down.
Cheers to you, brave souls, for taking the plunge.
No one hated it.
Actually, some people liked it immediately (which surprised me, as I didn’t especially like it when I first tried it). The majority said they were’t sure, but they did finish their cup. Just a few people decided not to drink all I’d given them.
They said it didn’t taste like they expected it to.
I’m not sure what everyone was expecting, but many people commented that this slightly alcoholic drink reminded them of wine or hard cider (which is not surprising, as both of those are fermented beverages). I like to describe the taste of kombucha as a combination of soda and juice, with a little bit of vinegar.
If you’ve never had kombucha before, I’d encourage you to give it a try. This sweet, tart, fizzy drink is a refreshing alternative to soda, juices, and other sweetened drinks. It’s full of probiotics which support your digestive system (and more!). Buy a bottle (most major grocery stores carry it) to split with a few friends. I can almost guarantee that you won’t hate it.