What is kombucha?
In short, it’s fermented sweet tea. Think of it like traditional bread- making. You add a mother culture called a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) and some starter liquid (a small amount of kombucha) to sweetened black tea.
The scoby – a layered, rubbery- looking disc – feeds on the sugar and tannins in the tea, causing it to ferment and develop its characteristic apple-cider vinegary, catch-at-the-back-of-your-throat tang. The drink then undergoes secondary fermentation, becoming more effervescent. While it’s not the fountain of youth (we wish!) it has many purported health benefits.
In a large Consol jar, muddle 1⁄4 cup pomegranate rubies. Add 1–2 tots vodka, a handful of ice and top up with chilled pomegranate-flavoured kombucha (we used Theonista’s pomegranate and green tea). Garnish with extra pomegranate rubies, mint and lime.
In addition to crafting a range of kombuchas, Meghan Werner from Theonista helps you get your brew on with her DIY kits. Each contains a SCOBY, starter liquid, organic tea blend, raw cane sugar, cotton cloth, elastic band and reusable cloth tea bag. And instructions, thankfully. theonistaproducts.com
Alex Glenday decided South Africa needed its own take on kombucha. She developed an ethical brand whose kombucha culture works its magic on a blend of organic rooibos tea, filtered spring water and organic sugar to produce a proven high vitamin B12 content. There’s currently just one variety, but watch this space. brewkombucha.co.za
NITRO BREW KOMBUCHA
Phillip Lloyd-Jones and Tim Austin brew their kombucha in oak barrels, using a SCOBY that originated in Russia, organic teas and mineralised water. For folks easing their way into the trend, they recommend the strawberry and blackcurrant, or cranberry and pomegranate, while the original and yerba mate versions are perfect for the purists. nitrobrewbev.co.za
TEA OF LIFE
Organic green and black teas kick- start Elizabeth Gunther’s ’booches, brewed in Muizenberg, where they’re especially big among the local surfer set. Flavours include rose geranium, ginger, and buchu and lemon. If you have a particularly big thirst, the original is also available in a 660 ml bottle, complete with a cool cork stopper. teaoflife.co.za