Kombucha. Lots of smoke, but is there fire?

Storming: Project Guthacking

It started when I saw someone last year spending $4 on something that tastes like expired Orange Juice.  “It’s full of probiotics” I was told then and I seem to read about often.

At the time, I bought the stuff and drank the stuff.  I even made the stuff.  I see the selection at Whole Foods get larger and my last visit to Cali even had a Kombucha section. I didn’t get it.

Still no questions until some search results about probiotics for another project come up.

Kombucha bars.  They are popping up in all the usual places.

Recipes and DIY galore.

Curiousity peaked, the questions started.

What alcohol percentage are we talking about here?

How many calories per glass?

So many statements about beneficial gut bacteria.  Any studies as to their existence in Kombucha?

Do these (assuming they exist) “probiotics” make it past the stomach lining to get into the digestive tract?

While looking into these questions, imagine my curiousity peaked when a Kombucha bar got busted last month for serving Alcohol.  Their brew hit 2.5% at times.

Of course, we’re talking about brewing here. Yeast using sugar to make alcohol.  So there are a ton of variables at play.  The larger brands that are showing up in grocery stores must  be playing it conservatively to keep the alcohol below .5%.  But doesn’t that affect the bacteria count?

What role does fermentation play in the creation of digestive gut flora, if any?

Are these “naturally occurring bacteria” any more or less beneficial than in pill or powder form?

Prediction here:  We’re going to see Kombucha take on the cider market.  I mean who wouldn’t want to get hosed while simultaneously repairing their gut?

There is an opportunity here to start testing fermented foods, both store bought and DIY.  Science will end up showing the benefits of live bacteria consumption.  Once we can accurately test and predict culture growth, we can create disease/disorder/syndrome specific blends.  The tea companies are going to jump all over this…

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