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What is Kombucha Tea?

April 15, 2012



What is Kombucha Tea?

Yesterday after a long day of working out and running errands, I had dinner with a friend at Cafe Gratitude (a vegan restaurant) in San Francisco. I heard about the restaurant from an international fan who visited SF a while back. I had the pleasure of teaching her and her husband a private Pilates session for their honeymoon. Hope you guys are doing well 🙂

As you all know, I love eating vegan when I eat out so beware anyone with a meat addiction who wants to meet me for food.


I ordered the “I am Fortified” which was quinoa with veggies and Thai almond sauce. It was so amazing. What I love about this place is that their entrees are actually affirmations. Loving the positivity. Check out the menu:

My friend Ada ordered the “I am Terrific” which was a kelp salad topped with greens and almonds.


Ada owns a very successful event planning company (gotta love your women entrepreneurs!) and invited me to teach some POP Pilates classes at Pamper Me Fabulous in SF on May 13th. It’s a super luxurious mind-body-spirit-fashion-spa-fitness-food event where women can indulge in a whole day experience of pampering! The tix are only $40! I can’t wait to kick some booties that weekend. If you come, bring your mommy too because it’s Mother’s Day. Let me know if you’re coming – I’d love to meet you.


OK and now onto the title of the post…what is kombucha tea? As much of a health nut as I am, I have to admit I have never tried kombucha tea before! I’ve heard soooooo much about it. I think about this video when I think of this drink:

(Oh man, I love that video so much…)

So anyway, when I saw that it was on the menu, I was like yeah, let’s DEF order that. When I took my first sip I was pleasantly surprised! It was like a sour apple cider with fizzy bubbles. It was sooooo good!!!!!! I was like, huh? How is this tea? And how is this healthy? It tasted like it had a TON of sugar.

So when I got home,  did a little digging on kombucha tea health benefits. Here’s what I found:

Kombucha tea is made by fermenting sweetened green or black tea with a culture of yeasts and bacteria called the “Kombucha mushroom,” according to It is not actually a mushroom; rather, it is called that because of the shape and color of the sac that forms at the top of the tea after fermenting.  

So that’s the “mushroom” that isn’t really a mushroom.

After you ferment the sweetened tea with the bacteria, you get a liquid containing vinegar (which explains the sour taste) plus B vitamins and other chemical compounds.

You know what’s funny? I think I got a little tipsy off of kombucha. I kid you not. It IS fermented after all…My head started getting really hot,  my face was super warm and red, and my heart beat was a getting a little bit quicker. This is what happens when I drink. But I actually don’t drink at all if any of you are wondering because I am HIGHLY allergic to alcohol, beyond the normal Asian who can’t break down alcohol because of a missing a enzyme. (Pay attention to your Asian friends the next time you go to a bar, they turn BRIGHT RED.)

My case is little more serious. One time I had a drink that was probably 7/8 Pepsi and 1/8 rum and I went blind. Yes, blind. I could not see anything but blackness with my eyes WIDE OPEN. I could hear, smell, taste, feel, but the sight was gone. It took about 10-15 min to recover but it was one of the scariest moments of my life. I lost my vision completely.

Anyway back to kombucha…here are the supposed benefits according to IBtimes:

  • When the yeasts in Komucha break down the sugar and combine with the tea, it forms antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals which can fight wrinkles diabetes and boost the immune system.
  • The high amount of Vitamin B in the elixir can help extract more energy and nutrients from the food you eat.
  • Drinking this can increase energy, ease muscle soreness, and help with recovery post workout – therefore improving athletic performance.
  • Because it is probiotic, consuming Kombucha may aid digestion and boost the immune system.
  • Some even say that it can cure anything from baldness to insomnia to AIDS and cancer!

Hmmm…yeah…I’m sure it’s good, but not THAT good. The high amount of sugars is probably what helps the athletes with their increased energy. To this day, there has been no scientific study done to justify the above claims. So, I guess it’s another one of those in-style hipster drinks that’s been marketed well.

Have you tried kombucha? Do you like it and are there some health benefits that you’ve seen work for you?

21 thoughts on “What is Kombucha Tea?”

There are 21 comments posted by our users.

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  1. Tiffany Harveson Spadaro says:

    Thank you for the post. I’ve tried the Kombucha Gingerade twice now and both times I had the same side effects as when I drink alcohol. I also have a more severe case of Asian Flush and cannot drink alcohol at all. I didn’t think Kombucha had enough alcohol in it to make a difference, but I felt flushed, got a headache and felt like my heart was racing. Crazy, had no idea.

  2. Sarah says:

    I love the taste, but try to stick to the lower sugar ones. There are huge differences in added sugar content between brands and flavors. I also stick to smaller portion sizes, but find it a refreshing way to get probiotics in.

  3. Andreas Chr. Ioannou says:

    If you get a very acidic taste, a strong taste of vinegar, then you have left it fermenting too long. Only experience will tell you when it is ready at different times of the year and at different room temperatures. For me, in the summertime it was ready in a week’s time and it was a very pleasant champagne like taste that was a real treat to drink!!

  4. Marianne says:

    Good day! This post could not be written any better!

    Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room
    mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this
    page to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read.
    Many thanks for sharing!

  5. go Back says:

    Consequently, just give up most of these techniques. The more specialist
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  6. Arnold says:

    I couldn’t help but be alarmed at your description of temporary blindness which sounds very much like an transient isaemic attack.
    If you haven’t already done so I urge you to seek medical advice.

    Best wishes,


  7. Arnold Gill says:

    Tried a number of different flavours of Kambucha, and gagged on all of them. I’m sure it was the vinegar in it that caused my reaction. Doesn’t matter what the health claims are, if you can’t drink it.

  8. Kaitlyn says:

    I remembered this post when I went to Whole Foods today and bought a big bottle of kombucha! I don’t know if it was because I got one with ginger in it too or what, but it was NOT good. I did drink most of it though, and I totally got a little tipsy too! Soo weird.

  9. Stepha says:

    I love Kombucha!! When I did Bikram, I would guzzle one down after each class. Can’t say I’ve seen major health benefits but it sure is yummy.

  10. Elyse says:

    I want to go to that cafe so bad! I saw the “I am transformed” and my mouth immediately started watering. I see why you love it so much!

  11. Anna says:

    Good kombucha will only have a little sugar like G.T. Dave’s Original and Strawberry Serenity.
    I enjoy kombucha, but if you’re having a bad reaction, it’s obviously not for you.

  12. Jenna says:

    Hey there! Love your blog/workouts/advice! I just wanted to let you know while your background with the trees and birds is adorable, it is pretty difficult to read your posts on top of it. 🙁

    1. Jenna says:

      Right after I posted that… it changed and there is a white background over the cute tree one. It is perfect.

  13. irene zuddas says:

    hi Cassey! i’m Irene from Italy! i have never been an active person but since 3 months i’ve changed my life…i started going to the gym and doing pilates , cardio, yoga!! 1 month ago i discovered your videos and blog and i bacame addicted, they are amazing! i’m also following your eating healthy advices and i feel so much better now! i have to say that is quite difficult because here in sardinia i can’t find asian food or things like stevia or protein powder, but i’m trying to do my best, eating very low fats, a lot of fresh veggies and fruits and avoiding red meat!!! thanks for all your help and inspiration, xoxo Irene

  14. Rachel says:

    It tastes good,but it’s hard to say if it lives up to the hype.

  15. sarah says:

    I like it alot. 😀 My favorite one has ginger in it. Sooooo refreshing!

  16. Jessica says:

    Hi Cassie,

    I love your workouts, but I am a little intrigued by your post. I don’t like sweetened beverages and I drink all teas unsweetened except kombucha, yes, kombucha is made with a lot of sugar however in the fermentation process most of the sugar is burnt off. If you drink a good/healthy kombucha it will only have 2-4 grams of sugar per bottle, there are a ton of brands that have 10-12 grams of sugar but Synergy is a great brand to try if you are looking for something with your health in mind, my fave is gingerade. I am obsessed with probiotics and am an advocate for people with stomach issues and how they can help since I have had my intestines restructured. I take probiotics in the form of kombucha, raw supplements, I like Dr. Ohhira’s (I have done many posts for the company) and Garden of Life, there is also kombucha powder which does not have sugar and goes nicely in food or used as a tea powder base. I hope this post will be informative to you and some of your readers. Keep bringing the workouts!

  17. Jenn says:

    I love kombucha! I used to eat yogurt every day until I found out I am allergic to dairy. Once I stopped eating yogurt every day I started getting sick all the time. I didn’t put it together until I went to the doctor for antibiotics and he asked me if I had changed my diet – I guess the probiotics in yogurt had been keeping me healthy! Now I either drink kombucha (I love GT’s) or take a probiotic supplement every day and I haven’t been sick since (knock on wood)!

  18. I love kombucha and I brew my own at home! I think that the yeast breaks down the sugars as it ferments so there is a very minimal sugar content in kombucha. I drink it every day and I feel amazing!

  19. Nyla says:

    I love it!!! And I got the impresson it helped me a lot to feel better when I had a little to much to drink the night before 🙂 Even without drinking alcohol before I love it! I didn’t noticed other health benefits so far but I’ll keep an eye open next time I have a glas of Kombucha.

  20. Annie says:

    Oh wow, I’ve never heard of an allergy to alcohol that severe before!! that sounds so scary! My sister gets red blotchy spots on her body when she drinks too… Oh and btw, not all Asians get bright red after consuming alcohol; some of my friends and I don’t. 🙂

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