The Racquet

Viewpoint: New Hobby Found in Kombucha

Gretchen Kent, Viewpoint Editor

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“College is about trying new things.” This age-old phrase, while overused and grating to hear, is not altogether untrue. Even if I have not been deliberately operating under the slogan my entire career at UWL, I still have some new dealings under my belt: Ultimate Frisbee, paying utility bills, Bible Study, training for a Half Marathon, radical J-term trips. My latest ‘new thing’ to enter under our apartment roof, much to the chagrin of my roommates, is the wonder of homemade kombucha.

My eccentric uncle brought the idea and the SCOBY to me from Oregon in September. Over the summer I’d downed exactly two bottles of GT’s kombucha and entertained the idea of brewing the stuff myself. I just didn’t have or know anyone who had this Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY) thing Pinterest was yarning on about.

Just in the nick of time, however, minutes before good ol’ Uncle Tony boarded the train for Wisconsin, my dear cousin received my plea and punted a jar of extra SCOBY for me into his hands. And so began my magical journey to a healthy gut.

Well, it didn’t happen so immediately. I had a heck of a time finding a wide-mouthed gallon-sized glass jar (the only parameters that would do) with which to house the whole operation. Woodman’s ended up selling enormous jars of pickles, don’tcha know. I ate quite a few of them to empty it out;  a step I could have done without.

After meticulously studying the interwebs’ tutorials and picking Aunt Kelly’s brain on the whole process of kombucha-making, I was ready to boil a gallon of sugar water, steep black and green tea bags in it overnight, and place the SCOBY atop it all in my jar. Which is exactly what I did. And succeeded at.

Many a Snapchat story of my roommates’ have sported the “nasty,” “disgusting,” “putrid” (their words, not mine) SCOBY in transit from the jar to a plate, and none of them have deigned to try more than a shot of the stuff. But after fermenting for 10 days and being placed into air-tight jars with fruit or ginger, it really isn’t all that bad! I surprise myself every time.

The foundation of kombucha is this SCOBY. In first fermentation, it eats all the sugar dissolved in the tea and secretes probiotics, acetic acid, and bacteria. Health.com lists the values of the vinegar-esque, fizzy drink as promoting good gut health, serving as a detoxifier, and chock-full of antioxidants, B-vitamins, beneficial bacteria, and probiotics.

How could I not rush to try my hand at this spectacular craze? I produce maybe two batches a month; come find me in the Racquet office in the COVE for a bottle or more information! Is kombucha a college-time fad of mine destined to die out after graduation? Maybe. (Probably.) But it has given me no end of joy or conversation-starters; try something new like this today!

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Viewpoint: New Hobby Found in Kombucha