Ever heard of Kombucha?

Well I hadn’t, until I started reading blogs.  Some people really love the stuff, so I thought maybe I should try it out as well.  So, whenever I go to Earth Fare for some shopping I have been grabbing a bottle here and there to try.  Kombucha is a fermented Chinese tea.  I’m not sure how it is consumed in China, but here in the States, it is served cold and often flavored.

At the Earth Fare in Charlotte where I  shop, the brand of Kombucha with the most variety of flavors is made by Millennium.  They make GT’s Organic Kombucha and Synergy Kombucha.  The only real difference between the two are that the GT’s version is 100% Kombucha (plus natural flavors) and the Synergy version is 95% Kombucha and 5% fruit juice.

The first time I tried Kombucha, I immediately liked it.  There is definitely a lingering taste that is somewhat different, but all that I have tried taste really great.  I especially love that its naturally effervescent because I’m a recovering Diet Dr. Pepper addict and I love me some fizz. No, seriously, my mom asked me one time if I would like an IV of Diet Dr. Pepper so it would go directly to my blood stream.  She was kidding, but I did drink it A LOT at one point.

I was excited to try more flavors when Millennium offered to send me coupons to tree five flavors for free.  One of the downfalls of Kombucha is that its muy expensivo (for me anway).  It’s usually between $3.50-$4.00, but I have seen it as much as $5.00 as smaller specialty stores.

I tried each of these and really liked them all a lot.  My favorite was the Raspberry Rush (2nd from the right), but my real favorite is the first one I ever tried, which was grape.  The Original even tasted really great and refreshing, even though it wasn’t flavored.  The Trilogy tastes really strongly of ginger so if you love ginger, you’ll love it as well.

I have no idea if the health claims for Kombucha are really valid, but I like drinking them and will probably continue to pick them up when it’s convenient for me, but enjoy them as a treat and not a daily thing (because of the price).

While stopping in Raleigh for the Whole Foods salad bar last weekend, I thought about picking up a Kombucha for the road.  There was absolutely none to be found!  So, I stopped a WF employee to inquire about it and she told me that the Kombucha made by Millineum had to be taken off the shelves so it could be relabeled.  If you look closely at the current label of Kombucha, it states that trace amounts of alcohol can be found in the tea because of the fermentation process.

It turns out that although Kombucha is tested for alcohol content before it leaves the packaging location, it is possible that the alcohol level increases from the point of transportation to consumption.  This note to consumers can be found on the Millennium website.

NOTE TO CONSUMERS:

We are investigating reports of the potential for slightly elevated alcohol levels in our Kombucha products that may be occurring after the product has been bottled and has left our facility. Although our products are tested to be compliant at the time of shipping, a subsequent increase in alcohol levels could potentially cause the product to go above 0.5% causing potential labeling issues. We are working quickly to identify the possible causes and which lot codes and/or regions are being potentially affected.

Please keep in mind that this is not related to any type of food contamination and is not a recall. We are trying our best to have product back on the shelves of every store as soon as possible. In the meantime you can check the store locator featured on our website for further information on retailer options in your area. We suggest you call ahead to make sure they still have product available. We apologize for the inconvenience of this matter and greatly appreciate your patience and support while we resolve it.

I definitely do not think that this is any cause for alarm.  This is a fairly new food product, so there are possibly a couple of things that need to be sorted out to make sure it is labeled properly.  I still plan to drink Kombucha periodically (although maybe not at work).

If you want to know more about the Synergy Kombucha products, you should check out their website.  Their story about the start the company is pretty interesting and can be found on their About Us page.

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3 Comments

Filed under product review

3 responses to “Ever heard of Kombucha?

  1. Wow, really interesting about the trace amounts of alcohol. Who knew?

    I’ve tried Kombucha once and didn’t love it or hate it either. I’d like to give it another try, but don’t think I can afford to like it with that price tag!

    • Yeah, I was aware about the trace amounts of alcohol, but apparently there are laws about the company knowing how much is in there. I’m assuming that the tea continues to ferment in the bottle, which may increase the level of alcohol and then they have no idea how much alcohol there is. I wonder how they’re going to fix the label.

  2. i’ve always said that drinking kombucha makes me feel a little drunk. and i thought it was so funny when the high alcohol recall came out because now i am justified in saying so. 🙂

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