In previous posts, I’ve written about the benefit of eating fermented foods, such as yogurt or sauerkraut. I’ve had a number of people ask me about how “paleo” it is to drink another fermented item — kombucha. My typical advice is to beware the sugar content and try to get the ones without a lot of added fruit juice. Over at Robb Wolf’s site, they recently did a writeup on kombucha as well as provided links on how to brew your own at home!
For those who have never heard of the stuff or just seen it by the checkout counter at Whole Foods, it’s a probiotic version of tea. Various types of tea can be used along with a kombucha culture and sugar to feed the critters. The article over at Robb’s site warns you of a potential pitfall either in home brewing or buying from the store:
If you are doing a homebrew and are too antsy to wait until the sugars are mostly consumed during the fermentation OR if you buy kombucha that has added puree, remember that there may be a good amount of sugar in the drink. A popular mango flavored kombucha drink contains about 20 grams of sugar per bottle. Sugar still counts even though it’s packaged as a health drink. There’s no need to drink bottles upon bottles of kombucha each day.
Now obviously the ones with added sugar in the form of fruit juices/purees (or plain ol’ sugar) are going to be the easiest for a newbie to try. They can approach the taste and texture of a soda, since the fermentation process also carbonates the tea. The taste can take some getting used to if you’ve never tried it before. The closest approximation would be a digestive tonic I’d taken before — 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar mixed into a full glass of ice water. Kombucha tea has a very similar vinegar-y tang to it, but I find it really refreshing especially in summer months. Take a look at the article over at Robb’s site for some more benefits as well as tips if you’re just getting started drinking the stuff.