Kombucha fermented tea has a live culture called a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast).—Jessica Meade photos

Kombucha is a new buzzword in the tea scene, but many wonder what it is and what makes it so popular.

According to the American Nutrition Association, kombucha tea “is a sweet-sour, fermented, acidic, slightly carbonated beverage.”

“If you have never tried kombucha before, I would describe it as effervescent, tart and slightly sweet,” explains Elizabeth Ceppos, pictured here, co-owner of Cross Culture Kombucha with her husband, Ian.

“If you have never tried kombucha before, I would describe it as effervescent, tart and slightly sweet,” explains Elizabeth Ceppos, co-owner of Cross Culture Kombucha with her husband, Ian.

After being introduced to kombucha, Ian was interested in homebrewing and before long, the duo began Cross Culture Kombucha, after noticing a lack of local kombucha available in the area.

“We find that most people are pleasantly surprised when they try our kombucha for the first time,” Elizabeth says. “If they have never had it before, they are surprised they like kombucha because the description of a fermented beverage can throw them off. The fermentation creates a more complex taste and flavor.”  

Elizabeth explains that the fermented tea has a live culture called a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast).  

“Kombucha is made by adding the culture to a brewed and sweetened tea. Over a period of time, the sugar in the sweet tea gets eaten by the bacteria and yeast and the sugars are converted to acids. Kombucha is loaded with probiotics, vitamins, healthy acids and antioxidants,” Elizabeth explains.

It may seem that kombucha is a new concoction taking the world by storm, but it is believed to be more than 2,000 years old, originating in China.

Many people are turning to this beverage to improve their overall health. According to author Louise Avery in her book Living Tea, kombucha “is known to be a great liver detoxifier” and the beverage can also “assist in preventing and healing joint damage.”

“The probiotics, good bacteria and enzymes contained in kombucha actively balance and heal the gut flora (micro-organisms present in the digestive tract) directly contributing to the improved health of the immune system,” Avery explains in Living Tea.

Kombucha comes in many flavors since it uses tea as its base and can incorporate a variety of fruits and spices such as orange, mango, raspberry, vanilla, pumpkin spice, mint, and cinnamon.

Anna Llanos, co-owner of Mothership Bakery and Café in Danbury, decided to serve Cross Culture Kombucha tea because of the company’s made-from-scratch philosophy. Kombucha has been on tap at their location on Main Street since November 2016.

“We sell out often, which doesn’t bother us one bit. [Customers] love it,” Anna exclaims. “So far we have offered Jasmine Green, Earl Gray, Green, and Black and White (white peony with Assam).”

According to Anna, kombucha is so refreshing it can replace soda and coffee. Elizabeth adds it is a good alternative to alcoholic beverages, as well.

“Drinking a cold bubbly kombucha [can] feel celebratory and it doesn’t give you a hangover,” Elizabeth notes.

With its perceived health benefits and unique depth and taste, kombucha tea is worth the try.

“It tastes great, makes you feel great, [and] is non-alcoholic so it is an option for all. It is low in calories and sugar,” Elizabeth comments. “Once you start feeling the difference it makes when you drink it, you want to make it part of your routine.” 

For more info or to find Cross Culture Kombucha, please visit: http://crossculturekombucha.com/locations/