You Want Me to Drink What?

I am admittedly not the trendiest girl around.  I don’t have designer shoes or a luxury car or get my hair blown out.  Actually, where I live getting your hair blown out means you drove with a window open, but I don’t do that much either.  The NYC crowd would have a field day with how un-cool I am with my suburban clothes and addiction to Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee.  I am about as mainstream as they come, and for this I am generally unapologetic.  It’s who I am and I’m OK with that.

Although un-hip, I am quite interested in doing things to keep myself and my family healthy.  I try mightily to get my children to willingly eat vegetables. I don’t cook red meat. I choose fresh ingredients rather than food-in-a-box whenever possible.  I am embarking on an experiment to be a vegetarian, and I recently gave up caffeine for a month.  I am willing to try new things – within reason.

There was a recent article in the New York Times about the popularity of a fermented tea drink called kombucha.  Apparently this tea can do all kinds of magical things like re-growing hair, calming digestive issues and curing hangovers.  Those who drink it claim that it is quite delish.  Sounds good, right?  I’m in! I could be the first one in the suburbs to partake of this delightful elixir!  How do I get it?

This is where things get a little hairy for me.  Because kombucha is made by immersing a disk of bacteria into brewed tea and letting it sit, unrefrigerated, for up to two weeks.

A disk of bacteria.

In your tea.

On purpose.

I am so not down with that.

I understand the benefits of probiotics.  I eat yogurt (from the refrigerator, thank you very much).  But, I have to admit that I wouldn’t even drink the plain tea if it sat out for two weeks – and the introduction of the bacteria disk into the equation does nothing to improve the situation for me.

I suppose the nature of kombucha is essentially similar to beer.  Fermented substances in a drink are not that uncommon.  And yet, I can’t quite get my head around voluntarily introducing bacteria into a completely acceptable drink like tea.  I guess I don’t brew my own beer either, although I do enjoy drinking it.

There are packaged versions of kombucha available, including one made by Red Bull.  I am slightly more comfortable with the manufactured versions, mostly because I work under the assumption that beverage manufacturers are as terrified of being sued as I am of dying of kombucha poisoning.I am a big sucker for slick marketing and putting anything, even something utterly disgusting, in a pretty bottle and giving it a fun name goes a long way to drawing my interest.  If I actually went out and purchased a Carpe Diem Kombucha, it would be an ultimate marking success for them.

Ooooo…pretty bottle….fancy name…who cares what’s in it?  I must have it!

I want to be cool and brave enough to jump on this bandwagon and give kombucha a try.  But the reality is that it’s probably beyond my capabilities to be that cool and brave.  And the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is working just fine for me, thanks!

29. April 2010 by Ruth Folger Weiss
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