Thursday, November 15, 2012

G.T. Dave's Enlightened Raw Kombucha: Out-Hippy Your Friends!


"Just try it, you'll like it." Famous last words of the person at the other end of the spoon before a young child clamps their mouth shut, refusing to try a new food. Well, I can't really promise that if you try kombucha that you will like it, but at least you will have an interesting new food experience under your belt. Plus, if you enjoy being smug and out-hippieing your friends, then kombucha will probably give you some bragging rights. At least until someone bops in holding a bottle full of wheat-grass and aloe chunks. Ahem. Not that I have done either of those things.

Kombucha is a polarizing taste experience. It seems cliche to say you will either love it or hate it, but it's really the truth. There just isn't a whole lot of middle ground. My good friend Wikipedia tells us that kombucha is an "effervescent fermentation of sweetened tea that is used as a functional food." What that means in normal people speak is that it is bubbly fermented sweet tea. A batch of kombucha starts with a culture that contains bacteria and yeast, similar to sourdough bread, and ends up as a tart brew that can be mixed with various juices and good-tasting substances to create a delightful drink (or a puzzling concoction, depending on your taste preferences). Besides the end result of the taste, a properly brewed batch of kombucha contains probiotics and amino acids.

G.T. Dave makes two types of the Enlightened Raw Kombucha, Synergy and Organic Raw, with 17 total flavors. The difference between the two is that Synergy has 5% fruit juice and Organic Raw does not. Honestly, I like them all but at the moment my favorites are Mystic Mango and Strawberry Serenity. Each flavor has attributes that I enjoy, but the sweetness of the mango and the strawberry offset the sour taste of the kombucha to create just a plain ol' tasty refreshing drink you can gulp down on a hot, tiring day. Just don't shake the bottle to mix in those floating bits of raw strain. They're supposed to be there and because the brew is bubbly, shaking the bottle will cause an unpleasant explosion.

Really, I have nothing bad to say about GT Dave's Enlightened Raw Kombucha, other than a tiny nitpick that it's expensive. In a perfect world, something as tasty as kombucha would be a weensy bit cheaper so you could indulge whenever you want without breaking the bank. BUT, as far as I can tell, GT runs a clean company that produces a great product. When fermentation comes into play, so many things can go wrong and product can go bad. However, GT consistently produces a delicious, safe product so I guess can't begrudge them the price. Too much. So, my rating? 7/8 tentacles, with one docked only because my wallet sheds a tear every time I reach for a bottle. You can find G.T. Dave's Kombucha in most health food stores including Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Earth Fare, and your local chains and independent stores for between $3.50 and $4.50 a bottle. 

Rating: 7/8 tentacles

(A small N.B.: Do not drink kombucha if you are pregnant. Some naturopaths and holistic doctors will tell you it's okay, but use your own judgement. There have been no FDA studies performed and in Traditional Chinese Medicine kombucha clears stagnation and phelgm, which is basically what a baby is. NOT TO SAY it will cause anything bad to happen, but let's err on the side of caution, mmmkay? Personally, I did not drink it while pregnant with my daughter. Also, the Enlightened variety of GT Dave's Raw Kombucha does not contain any alcohol as a result of the fermentation.)

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