I usually don't buy into granola-crunchy wellness foods that supposedly work miracles, but Kombucha is amazing. It wakes me up, helps me focus and cures my hangovers in such a way that no bacon-egg-and-cheese sandwich ever has. Also, you get kind of a buzz from it, but it's totally okay to drink before noon on weekdays. There are even claims it can help cure cancer, but for now curing a headache is fine with me. After becoming pretty addicted to it, I realized that shelling out $5 a bottle every time I ailed was really adding up, so I signed my boyfriend and myself up for a how-to class at the totally kick ass Brooklyn Kitchen Labs.
The class was taught by Kombuchaman (aka Eric Childs), the founder of the burgeoning brand Kombucha Brooklyn. In attendance were about 25 Kombucha enthusiasts from all walks of life including a total "bro" from Long Island, a super sexy couple who had just returned from a sustainable farm in Hawaii, a woman who started drinking Kombucha because she saw a dude with "nice hair" drinking it, and the most well-behaved infant I have ever met. We started the class by sampling Kombuchaman's brand brew, which is delicious and much more smooth and crisp than any other brand I've ever tried. Kombuchaman then explained to us the magical history of Kombucha, which I'd try to reiterate here but would probably butcher. The point is: Kombucha is ancient (over 2000 years old); it is said to have cured a Japanese emperor; Russian people drank it to get jacked; and it may or may not have come from space. Got it?
After learning about where the drink came from, Kombuchaman showed us a few jars of different phases of his brews. Each jar contained a substance resembling a jellyfish, which is called a "scoby" (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast—boom! I remembered that). The scoby is the most integral part of the Kombucha process, and Kombuchaman was nice enough to explain it to me, and the baby, in the most simple of terms, which I also forget, but was something along the lines of the scoby being like a mommy and eating the sugar and creating yeast and things that are good for you, then it has a baby scoby which you can use to make more 'booch. Thank god my boyfriend was taking notes because I really couldn't take my eyes off the scoby as it slid around in the hands of my classmates looking like a breast implant.
I'm not going to give away the rest of the secrets to making Kombucha because a) the class was really fun and you should take it and, b) I couldn't possibly begin to explain any of it, anyway. But at the end of class we all got our own mini Kombucha kits and the encouragement and directions needed to start brewing it ourselves! Note: brewing a single batch of Kombucha can take up to 6 weeks, so this isn't a good project for the impatient. But if you like to be healthy, trendy or learn-y check out Kombuchaman and his class at Brooklyn Kitchen Labs. You get stickers at the end!