alibi online
Free Will AstrologyAlibi's Personals
 
 V.23 No.26 | June 26 - July 2, 2014 

Book Review

The Mighty Booch

Kombucha Revolution: 75 Recipes for Homemade Brews, Fixers, Elixirs and Mixers

Stephen Lee and Ken Koopman
Ten Speed Press
hardcover
cooking
$18.99

Kombucha, sometimes called “mushroom tea,” is a tangy and effervescent fermented beverage.The “mushroom” is actually a cellulose-based, symbiotic colony of bacteria yeast (SCOBY) that, when fed and cultivated under the right conditions, produces a tangy and delicious drink. It's said that kombucha was first consumed in China more than 2,000 years ago. Then it made a trek across all of Asia, Japan and Eastern Europe, and through the hippie movement of the 1960s and '70s. Eventually, kombucha found its way into the perfectly toned abdomens of yoga enthusiasts and the mouths of high-falutin' foodies who pay upwards of five dollars a bottle for it. Kombucha Revolution: 75 Recipes for Homemade Brews, Fixers, Elixirs and Mixers by Stephen Lee (and Ken Koopman) makes it easy and egalitarian, to brew kombucha at home.

When it comes to kombucha, people divide themselves into two camps: those who enjoy the tangy, effervescent beverage made from sweetened tea that’s left in a jar in the dark to be digested by a very unphotogenic zoogleal mat of bacteria and yeast that “excretes” probiotics into itand those who think we’re crazy. (I prefer the term, “Kombucha Evangelist.” Thanks.)

Having brewed this delicious drink for five years, I can definitely say it’s a curious habit, and I am eager to find new and creative ways to use up the gallon or so my “kombucha girls” make every other week. Yes, I call them girls and yes, they have names, Gertrude and Alice, if you’re interested.

Entrepreneur Stephen Lee, co-founder of Tazo Tea and Stash Tea and the founder of Kombucha Wonder Drink obviously loves the mighty “booch” enough to help bridge the gap between the adventurous and the apprehensive. Kombucha Revolution is full of short and sweet anecdotal tidbits, surrounded by color-saturated, mouth-watering photos of exotic berry smoothies, potent mixers and sophisticated salads. It’s a 151-page equivalent to hiding the pill in the slice of bread so you’ll take your medicine. And boy, kombucha is tasty medicine.

The amber-colored drink hosts a bevy amino acids, B-vitamins and more. Noted health benefits include but are not limited to a boost for the immune system and a drug-free means to help regulate blood pressure. Russian dramatist/novelist and Nobel Prize winner Alexander Solzhenitsyn credited the brew’s detoxifying properties with helping force his stomach cancer into remission. Although the FDA has issued more warnings than actual data from clinical trials, there’s clearly something beneficial to adding kombucha or other fermented foods to one’s diet. Lee’s book presents a strong case offering up provocative recipes like Kombucha Lime Ceviche and Green Papaya Salad, Kombucha Pear Sorbet, and Cranberry Bitters Cocktails.

I remember being fascinated and a little afraid of my first SCOBY floating in her jar. Over 200 batches later, brewing has become second nature to me, even if the occasional, misshapen human-face-like zoogleal mat freaks me out.

Having brewed this delicious drink for five years, I can definitely say it’s a curious habit, and I am eager to find new and creative ways to use up the gallon or so my “kombucha girls” make every other week. Yes, I call them girls and yes, they have names, Gertrude and Alice, if you’re interested.

More like "Gertrude the 12th" and "Alice the 14th," because as the “mothers” regenerate, they produce a “baby” with every batch. Here’s what I meanimagine being in an episode of Doctor Who where the main character, a cellulose paddy in a big jar, replicates when you look at it. Welcome to my world. Hence the need for brewmaster recruitment.  Sounds a little scary, but luckily, Lee demystifies the kombucha-making process, so it’s not a strange work of science fiction, but an opportunity to learn to brew a superfood in the privacy of your own closet, and share the fun of fermentation with others. Many others. Take my mother, please!

All who brew have a “first mother” story. The summer of 2009 I was taught how to brew kombucha from a former roommate.  I remember being fascinated and a little afraid of my first SCOBY floating in her jar. Over 200 batches later, brewing has become second nature to me, even if the occasional, misshapen human-face-like zoogleal mat freaks me out.

Lee recounts how he discovered kombucha in 2001, while on a visit to Russia in search of tea. His host, a Mrs. Lisovski who’d been making a batch of kombucha every week since 1939, took the curious American businessman under her wing.  After developing a taste for the tart, bubbly brew, Lee returned to Portland, Ore. with a SCOBY “baby” and a cup of kombucha that served as the “starter” for the making of his first batch. The rest is history.  

Or, five dollars a bottle.

Although Lee has made millions selling bottles of his Kombucha Wonder Drink nationwide, his book Kombucha Revolution seems to suggest that Lee isn't just in it for the money. Kombucha Revolution is a refined guide to making a most ancient of fermented foods. The book is for the intrepid and the timid, alike. Thanks to Mrs. Lisovski, Lee gives us the gift that keeps on giving. No reallyI have a kombucha “mother” if anyone needs one. Or two.

 

Today's Events

AZ/NM Connection at The Talking Fountain

AZ/NM poster art by Jeremy “Eyerock” Arviso (detail)

Multi-site event showcases art in all genres from both states, featuring 60 artists, 8 musical groups, muralists and more.

Mr. Gaga at Keshet Center for the Arts

The Soundtrack of Our Lives at UNM SUB Ballrooms

More Recommented Events ››
Join our mailing list for exclusive info, the week's events and free stuff!
 

  • Select sidebar boxes to add below. You can also click and drag to rearrange the boxes; close using the little X icons on each box. To re-add a box you closed, return to this menu.
  • Because you are not logged in, any changes you make to these boxes will vanish as soon as you click to another page. If you log in, the boxes will stick.
  • alibi.com
  • Latest Posts
  • Web Exclusives
  • Recent Rocksquawk Discussions
  • Recent Classifieds
  • Latest User Posts
  • Most Active Users
  • Most Active Stories
  • Calendar Comments
  • Upcoming Alibi Picks
  • Albuquerque
  • Duke City Fix
  • Albuquerque Beer Scene
  • What's Wrong With This Picture?
  • Reddit Albuquerque
  • ABQ Journal Metro
  • ABQrising
  • ABQ Journal Latest News
  • Del.icio.us Albuquerque
  • NM and the West
  • New Mexico FBIHOP
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • Only in New Mexico
  • Mario Burgos
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • High Country News
  • El Grito
  • NM Politics with Joe Monahan
  • Stephen W. Terrell's Web Log
  • The Net Is Vast and Infinite
  • Slashdot
  • Freedom to Tinker
  • Is there a feed that should be on this list? Tell us about it.
    Animales Animados
    Animales Animados9.7.2014