Up until six months ago I knew nothing whatsoever about kombucha. I freely admit that I am fond of fermented beverages and have a very positive relationship with beer, cider, and wine but I’d never heard of this strange ferment that can be brewed and ready for consumption in just under two weeks.... only contains 0.5% alcohol.
A vegan friend (yeah, I know, someone’s got to have one), kept harping on about fermented foods and the health benefits associated with them, so I did a bit of reading and a bit of research and found a lady called Sarah who has a company called Cultured Kiwi.
I wanted to learn more about how to ferment veggies without killing myself, or my family with botulism so I asked Sarah if she would present a kraut and kimchi workshop for WF at Crave. Much to my delight she accepted. The workshop was a massive success. Sarah brought some jars of her fermented goodies for the group to taste and she also brought a large brown bottle of her kombucha for people to try.
She poured us all a wine glass of this intriguing pink liquid. I didn’t know what to expect. I have a blanket policy of never eating or drinking anything that is likely to make me gag and I wasn’t sure if this was going to be some shady hippy trippey potion with all the appeal of a cup of rancid buttermilk. You will be glad to hear it wasn’t!
Flavoured with summer berries this pink concoction had a really nice viscosity and was lightly carbonated like champagne. It went down a treat and like a bunch of new world Oliver Twist’s, we all asked for more.
About a month later I received a text from my trusted foodie compadre Emma Tucker aka @muffinmum “Do you want some kombucha? It will be delivered to you tomorrow”. Always willing to be a lab rat, I accepted the offer and the goods were delivered the following day.
Four beautifully designed bottles of Goodbuzz kombucher are what started the the relationship with this friendly bacteria. Karin Grice delivered the bottles and was exuberant about her latest discovery. She said that Alex and Amber (the brewster) had just given up their jobs to brew full time and were using a culture that had been handed down from Alex's grandmother. A culture with history and a family that were prepared to give up a steady income to follow their dreams! I loved this stuff before i’d even tasted it….
The “Booch” was awesome and i’m not just saying that! Having spent the last three months sampling it in cafes all over Wellington it’s a product with consistency and really lovely flavour combinations. My top two are Jade Dew and Feijoa which I find quite strange as I can’t stand feijoa in real life.
This is a living beverage with probiotic properties. I was a little taken aback the first time I tried the drink and discovered a weird gelatinous blob floating around in my beverage. This was the SCOBY aka symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. The SCOBY grows on top of the brew and protects it during the ferment. It’s the good stuff that lets you know that the potion is active and possesses magical powers…. now who’s sounding hippy trippey!
What happened after those initial four bottles was weird and wonderful and has elements of black magic…. I found marked physical changes after just a week of drinking a bottle of “booch” a day. I stopped getting sugar cravings and didn’t feel the need for a nanna nap around three in the afternoon. My life is pretty manic and this strange drink seemed to be brining a calm and balance that I’ve only ever experienced after a lot of whisky. I had a lot more energy and my insides seemed to be function as they should, no more explanation needed on that one!
In a very short time kombucha became one of life’s necessities. I don’t believe in hocus-pocus and am a total pragmatist so after finding equilibrium I decided that in the interest of science I had to remove the miracle cure from the equation and check that I hadn’t just fallen in love with a placebo. You don’t want to know what happened next…. It wasn’t pretty…. Surface to say normal kombucha consumption was resumed 1.5 weeks after the experiment.
As much as I love and adore Goodbuzz, I wanted to start exploring the possibility of making my own brew at home. More news on that coming soon….