Are you drinking kombucha? Among my friends, it's becoming all the rage. Kombucha is a tea-based drink that has been fermented and is effervescent. Many varieties of kombucha are available these days at stores like Whole Foods and Rainbow Grocery. While not proven, many tout health benefits such as liver detoxification, better digestion, increased blood circulation, and a general boost to the immune system. I personally like kombucha because I like the flavor -- with its fermented qualities, kombucha reminds me of an alcohol-based drink without the alcohol.
Last week, I had the chance to taste a great kombucha that is being produced locally: Lev's Original Kombucha. Lev Kilun is making kombucha-on-tap in carefully created small batches. He sources his ingredients with intention, starting with a green tea that is chosen for its flavor. "You can't make good wine from bad grapes," he says, explaining that the same is true for kombucha.
Contrary to what I learned, Lev says that kombucha is not a mushroom-based drink. Instead it is fermented with a mother -- similar to vinegars. Lev says that the Russian word describing a mother is close to the word for mushroom, so the misinterpretation began the myth.
Lev's Kombucha is available in two flavors: black currant and original. You can try it at Cafe Lyon in Rockridge, Power Source Cafe in the San Francisco Financial District, or eight other locations around the Bay Area.
5701 College Ave
Power Source Cafe
81 Fremont Street (at Mission)