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Top Pick Of The Week

August 22, 2006
Updated August 2008

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Glass of Kombucha
Kombucha Wonder Drink gets our vote for the most
wondrous discovery of the year—although it’s been a West Coast cult favorite since 2001 (and the Chinese have been drinking kombucha since 221 B.C.E.). Shown above, Himalayan Blend with a twist of orange.
WHAT IT IS: Brewed, sweetened and fermented tea, drunk cold.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Kombucha Wonder Drink has created a line of flavors infusing different teas—green, oolong and rooibos—with different fruit flavors, turning the traditional sweet-and-tart drink into a carnival of complex, adult tastes.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The matching of teas to fruits is inspired; the layers of flavors burst onto the palate in elaborate and unexpected ways. Kombucha Wonder Drink is not tea in any recognizable form, it’s not cider, it’s not a soft drink and it’s much more than plain kombucha. It’s an experience unto itself.
BUY IT AT: Find a store locator at WonderDrink.com.


Kombucha Wonder Drink:
Elixir Of Life?

CAPSULE REPORT: Sparkling tea that’s drunk cold, a restorative from the Himalayas, Kombucha Wonder Drink is both thousands of years old and the latest buzz on the tea scene. It tastes like no other tea because it’s sweetened and then fermented. Fermentation eats up much of the sugar as well as the caffeine, and leaves a hint of delightfully piquant, vinegar-like flavor and an appealing effervescence. The slightly sweet, slightly tart flavor profile is why people either love it or leave it. We loved it so much, we named it one of our top picks out of thousands of products at the January Fancy Food Show.

While dévotées brew kombucha at home, it’s a laborious process. Thank goodness that the folks at Kombucha Wonder Drink do it so well, creating modern flavors that have made this ancient tea our new favorite, sophisticated “soft” drink—at just 60 calories a bottle. It’s organic, too. And if the centuries-worth of health and longevity claims prove true...so much the better! Read the full review below.

Other Healthy Foods & Drinks

Fast Healthy FOod The Smoothies Bible Quick & Healthy
Fast Healthy Food: Tasty, Nutritious Recipes for Every Meal—In 30 Minutes or Less, by Reader’s Digest. Create delicious, healthy recipes in 30 minutes or less. Full-color photos of the finished dishes, detailed step-by-step instructions, complete nutritional information, preparation/cooking times, plus creative ideas for varying every recipe. Click here for more information or to purchase. The Smoothies Bible, by Pat Crocker. Kombucha may be good for your health, but so are smoothies, with their concentration of fruit and vegetable nutrition. This book of recipes offers combinations off the beaten path that create refreshing and nutritious beverages. Recipes are delicious and easy-to-follow with lots of added, useful information. Click here for more information or to purchase. Minutemeals Quick and Healthy Menus, by Miriam Garron and Evie Righter (Editors). If you’re crunched for time, you can still present a beautiful and delicious meal. Each complete menu has 300 or fewer calories from fat, and 750 or fewer total calories. Click here for more information or to purchase.

Kombucha Wonder Drink: Elixir Of Life?

INDEX

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Since its introduction in Portland, Oregon in 2001, a cult has developed around Kombucha Wonder Drink. In fact, a trend has begun across the U.S. toward drinking kombucha in general, either brewed at home or in au courant tea salons and restaurants. Spurred by kombucha’s purported health benefits and the pioneering success of Kombucha Wonder Drink, other store brands are popping up; though drunk cold, kombucha is the new “hot” drink in the burgeoning American tea market. But don’t let avoidance of perceived fad foods or even the name itself stop you from trying Kombucha Wonder Drink. You can just enjoy it for the unusual and delightful taste.

Kombucha Wonder Drink - Asian PearKombucha (kom-BOO-cha) refers to both the fermented, sweetened tea beverage and the fungus used to brew it (more about that on page 4 of this article). Kombucha is a fizzy drink. It has less caffeine than regular tea because a portion of the caffeine is consumed by the yeast during fermentation, along with a portion of the sugar. The yeast and lactobacillus cultures transform the tea, much as apple juice becomes cider, so that layers of tartness and pétillance are imbued into the sweetened tea, creating an entirely new beverage. Kombucha has a hint of vinegar, which may be hard to imagine in a beverage; but it is very exciting. It is unique, invigorating and, of course, somewhat mysterious. With ancient claims as an “elixir of life,” true believers drink kombucha daily, based on anecdotal evidence—totally unsubstantiated by science—that they will live longer and healthier lives.

Our purpose is not to sell you on kombucha, the elixir of life; but to tell you about Kombucha Wonder Drink, the delicious “Sparkling Himalayan Tonic” (it’s brewed in Portland, Oregon). When we discovered it, it did truly invigorate us, supplying much-needed energy, inner serenity and mental clarity as we slogged through four-plus miles of rich and weighty fare at the January Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. But we love it because of its wonderful flavors and its exotic beverage profile—when was the last time you had a sweet-and-sour drink? While many palates might not like the fermented severity of plain kombucha (it can be described as “tangy”), the wonder of Kombucha Wonder Drink is the inspired way in which the company has paired green, oolong and rooibos teas with heady infusions of fruit flavor.

Continue To Page 2: Kombucha Wonder Drink Flavors

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