Scoby Do
February 20, 2015 11:21 AM   Subscribe

I see drink coolers at Whole Foods full of this obnoxious crap and can't help thinking it's all a practical joke.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 11:24 AM on February 20, 2015

After reading the article, I'm not un-convinced that it is all a joke..
posted by k5.user at 11:33 AM on February 20, 2015

(because the king missed the most important advice when building your own empire: "Just remember, don't use your own product.")
posted by k5.user at 11:35 AM on February 20, 2015

I'm not getting the instant hate on this. Kombucha is fucking delicious and GT puts out a good product.
posted by HumanComplex at 11:58 AM on February 20, 2015 [15 favorites]

Oh man, that's a lot of woo right there. I could care less about the supposed health benefits of the stuff, but it is really a refreshing beverage. But at $3 a bottle it gets pretty spendy. My only complaint with GT's is the labels don't come off the bottles easily, so when I re-use them for my own home-brew, which is super easy and cheap to make, they look kind of crappy. The home-brew tastes better too.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 12:02 PM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

I got to the part of the article where the magic tea cures cancer and I had to stop reading briefly. Then I got to the part where he says "because of its living-life-force qualities, the kombucha is sensitive to the energy that surrounds it". Good thing massive profits are good energy.

Whole Foods is a menace. They are like the creationists of grocery stores.
posted by Nelson at 12:06 PM on February 20, 2015 [5 favorites]

Whole Foods is a menace

Clearly you've never had their curry chicken salad.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:10 PM on February 20, 2015 [5 favorites]

I like kombucha, but this article makes me really glad I have a scoby on the way, because GT Dave, with his weird shininess and Lamborghini, makes me never want to buy his product again. I just found the intersection of woo and disgustingly rich that hits a sore spot with me.
posted by Ruki at 12:11 PM on February 20, 2015 [14 favorites]

There are at least 3 other local companies in town making this. The local Albertson's has it on-tap. And like most local microbrews, it is better than what they make in huge batches and ship around the country.

I don't know about the claims made about it, but probiotics are not woo.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 12:12 PM on February 20, 2015

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Kombucha is the single most disgusting thing I've ever put in my mounth
posted by Confess, Fletch at 12:23 PM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Hah, as soon as I read "they frequently took their kids to a famous ashram in India," I knew someone touting the miraculous medicinal properties of kombucha was going to be a disciple of Sai Baba, the ultimate spiritual snake-oil salesman.

I wrote a story about the drink during the height of the kombucha Whole Foods fermentation saga and spent a few weeks hanging around different kombucha breweries. Definitely a massive range of beliefs in the industry -- some told me straight-faced that their drink can cure cancer, others just said they were brewing a drink that tasted good. Everyone thought they were making kombucha the best way.
posted by retrograde at 12:28 PM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

with his weird shininess


GT's is a great kombucha. Every kombucha maker prefers his or her own, of course, but GT's is delicious.
posted by GrapeApiary at 12:34 PM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I like the taste of it however probiotics have not been scientifically proven to have any major effects on anything much and therefore remain firmly on the wooOoOOo bus.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 12:36 PM on February 20, 2015

I love booch! I make my own when it's summer. If pressed for commercial versions, GT is too expensive for me here in Canadia, but might I recommend Rise out of Montreal? (Their ginger one and their mint one are AMAZING.)

And I get that folks might not like kombucha, it is definitely acquired taste. But there's a ton of posho stuff I should like, but I find gross, so it goes.
posted by Kitteh at 12:38 PM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

If only kombucha wasn't gross as fuck.
posted by ZaneJ. at 12:43 PM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

My mom used to brew this on top of our washing machine when I was in high school. I have no idea how it tasted because the smell alone kept me out of the laundry room. Urgh.

I discovered GTs like ten years ago and noticed that I always get the giggles about 15 minutes after drinking it, so it became my nano-alcoholic brew of choice. I like the gingerade the best.
posted by annathea at 12:51 PM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

GT's is a delicious beverage, and most of GT's competitors' commercially available beverages taste somewhere between mouthwash and vinegar. So despite the woo BS, this is why GT's is king. It's the best product on the shelf.
posted by oceanjesse at 12:57 PM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I love kombucha, and will happily go to bat for GTs. I only wish I lived somewhere that had a whole foods (SOON!) so I had access to all the 29 flavours. My local only has five.

I wonder about an etymology question though. In the article, and in Kitteh's comment above, the shortened/slang version is "booch." While yes this is how I pronounce it, my wife and I spell it "buch" when texting (as in, "can you pick me up a buch? thrillogy please!"). From my understanding the letter 'u' can be pronounced like a double 'o', so is this "booch" version just because it's phonetically easier to understand? Is this similar to the "twonie/toonie" divide? (For the record, I still prefer "dubloon")
posted by wyndham at 12:58 PM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Again, I get why booch is unappealing taste-wise and woo-wise, but for those of us who want a fizzy beverage that isn't straight up alcoholic (yes, I'm aware of the minimal hooch content in kombucha) and find soda too sweet, it's a nice fun balance.
posted by Kitteh at 12:59 PM on February 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

wyndham-- I guess I just think of kombucha shorthand as "booch" with the long "o"? If I'm wrong, I'm happy to be corrected.

I like drinking the GT's green one on a day when I feel I've been particularly crap on good eating. Of course, it does not cancel it out, durr, but I like the psychological effect. The ginger one is also the bomb, though. But hell, pack anything with enough ginger and I will consume/drink it.
posted by Kitteh at 1:01 PM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

kitteh - I honestly have no idea what it is supposed to be, I was just curious for opinions. I agree that "booch" looks more pleasant written down, but part of me enjoys the arch-ness of "buch," which can be pronounced many different ways, like buck or butch-with-a-soft-t. In that sense, it is more prickly, and difficult, which for me sort of mimics the taste of Kombucha, just ask a whole bunch of people upthread who are frankly fools and missing out. I love form-and-content.

I second your recommendation of RISE as well, the lemongrass one they make is my jam.
posted by wyndham at 1:08 PM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's also fun to brew yourself, because it's infinitely customizable and responds to skill. It provides an easy transition to other fermented goods. For example if you double brew it with fruit or something to get more fizz and alcoholic kick.
posted by tychotesla at 1:12 PM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

As to 'how do you ever aquire a taste for that disgusting stuff?' here's how it went down for me: Become interested in shrubs because it's Dry January and you are thirsty as fuck, and NA beer sucks. Discover that kombucha tastes like a really nice shrub, is pre-made and maybe gets you a tiny amount of forbidden alcohol too.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 1:12 PM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

GT was my kombucha brand of choice until I found NesAlla out of Madison, WI. Their flavors are awesome.
posted by onehalfjunco at 1:13 PM on February 20, 2015

Ooh, I love making shrubs! Especially during the summer when berries are hella cheap.

Guys, guys, if any of you live in the DC area, can you ship the the chili-mango flavour from Capital Kombucha?? I tried replicating the flavour at home and it did not go so well. (It went horribly and I emailed them about the home version and they were polite but deflective.)
posted by Kitteh at 1:14 PM on February 20, 2015

HumanComplex: “I'm not getting the instant hate on this. Kombucha is fucking delicious and GT puts out a good product.”

Well, all I know is: if I ever utter the words "I'm not saying I was the Messiah, but..." please remind me to punch myself in the face at least a dozen times.
posted by koeselitz at 1:55 PM on February 20, 2015 [9 favorites]

I drank Kombucha for the first time a year or two before it started to go mainstream.* A friend of mine made some and offered it to me. After my first sip:

"Oh, my God, that's disgusting!"


"Let me try some more."

After my second sip I was sold. I really love the stuff. I know some people make bullshit health claims, but I just like it for the taste. Very refreshing. I'm with Kitteh on GT's ginger variety.

* Kombucha hipster. I know. I drink this other fermented beverage but you've probably never heard of it.
posted by brundlefly at 2:50 PM on February 20, 2015 [4 favorites]

Kombucha spiked with vodka is our go-to when we're smuggling drinks into music festivals / concert venues / other places where the only available alcohol comes in the form of tiny plastic cups full of eight dollar macro-brew beer or weak eleven dollar cocktails.

It's both delicious and covert, two things I really look for in a beverage.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:48 PM on February 20, 2015 [4 favorites]

MetaFilter: both delicious and covert
posted by brundlefly at 6:06 PM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

As a kid in the early 90's, my dad g/brew this in our garage and my sister and I would double dog dare each other to poke it gingerly with our fingers.
posted by HMSSM at 8:11 PM on February 20, 2015

I make kombucha then infuse it with blueberries and ginger and the resulting mix is used to flavor large glasses of ice water. Very good. The Buch does mix pretty well with vodka and maybe that's why it was so popular in the Soviet Union. The stuff in stores is ridiculously expensive, it's extremely easy to make at home.
posted by telstar at 2:50 AM on February 21, 2015

I've never had kombucha so I have no opinion about it's taste.

All I know for sure is that I am frightened by this shiny, android messiah.
posted by freakazoid at 5:39 AM on February 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've eaten fermented whale blood, and fermented walrus flipper. Many times. Happily. Heck the whale blood (with pieces of fat floating in it) tastes like dark chocolate. Walrus flipper tastes like walrus flipper, only more so.

Still can't even smell kombucha without retching.
posted by spitbull at 12:20 PM on February 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

A friend gave me a giant 1 gallon flask with one of these things in it, I was curious at first , but the fact that it just kept growing despite my negative vibes started to creep me out.
I thought it looked like someone growing a piece of skin in a jar, so then I thought it would be funny to put a pair of those eyeballs that are always looking up even when you roll them on the floor (can you see where this is going?) I finished it off with a pair of Billy Bob teeth.
These were arranged on top of the kambucha skin and we all had a laugh at its expense, and then after a few weeks we realized that it was in on the joke as it started to grow around the acquired toys and started to really look like a melted face, we showed it to the kids that came to the door on Halloween and it freaked everyone out.

It was banished to the garage and I have never touched the stuff since (it was still growing 2 years later.
posted by boilermonster at 10:03 AM on February 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

My dehydrated scoby arrived today!
posted by Ruki at 4:19 PM on February 23, 2015

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