A sour concoction with live cultures floating on top sounds like something you'd throw away if you found it under your sink. And yet the tart, fizzy, fermented tea called kombucha is both an ancient tonic and the latest health craze.
Kombucha, made from either black, white, or green tea, sugar, and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY), is having a renaissance. According to Gary Hemphill, managing director at Beverage Marketing Corporation, U.S. sales of bottled kombucha doubled from 2007 to 2008, to roughly $70 million (wholesale).
Scan the beverage aisle at your local grocery store and you'll be surprised to find a range of brands peddling the brew: GT's Kombucha, Red Bull's Carpe Diem, Celestial Seasonings, and Honest Tea, as well as indie labels like Kombucha Brooklyn and Kombucha Wonder Drink. Some mad-scientist types are taking a more grassroots approach by reviving the hippie practice of home-brewing.
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