Kombucha: tastes like feet and coming to a store near you

If you haven’t heard of Kombucha before, you’re probably not alone, but its likely coming to a store near you in the near future.

Kombucha is a fizzy, fermented drink that results from adding a colony of bacteria and yeast to sweetened tea. Supporters say it has cleansing properties, and the craze can be traced back to the health food/ alternative medicines sector, or as the New York Post puts it “health nuts and hippies.”

Kombucha went on sale in New York in 2005, and has slowly grown in popularity since then, but it’s a mention in the TV series Gossip Girls that has seen the product truly boom, including Kombucha dedicated cafes.

It sounds great except for two things: the taste and the health risks. According to the Post, Kombucha has a tangy, sour taste that has been likened to “feet” or “drinking a douche.” Wikipedia notes that Kombucha has been shown to increase the size of both the liver and spleen in mice, that care should be taken when taking medical drugs or hormone replacement therapy while regularly drinking kombucha, and it may also cause allergic reactions. The home-brewed variety has been linked with several health issues in people, ranging from bacterial infections to liver damage and to death.

Somehow I think I’ll pass the first time someone offers to buy me a Kombucha.