Drink Local Kombucha = Happy Belly

August 5, 2013 at 6:00 am

2013-08-01 17.05.31

Karma Kombucha didn’t endorse this review or provide me with any free products. I write about things I love and personally consume – Karma Kombucha is one of those things, and they happen to be local so I’m sharing my thoughts with you here. Karma Kombucha is craft brewed in Mundelein, IL, USDA Organic and Fair Trade certified.

I was first introduced to kombucha a few years ago at the Toronto Green Show. I had a sample at a booth and loved it. I find people either love it or hate it on first sip. Maybe it was the trace amounts of alcohol (less than 0.5% so considered alcohol free), but I was on the love at first sip boat. I’m not a pop or juice drinker (way too sweet) so kombucha was just right.

what the heck is kombucha anyways?

Pronounced ‘kom-bu-cha’, and according to Wikipedia, kombucha is an effervescent fermentation of sweetened tea that’s used as a functional food. The kombucha culture is a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast.

Colony of bacteria? YIKES! Sounds scary right? I was afraid at first too. I’ve always been an adventurous eater, even though now my adventure is limited (but not limiting) to vegan and gluten-free fare these days.

Wikipedia also states that kombucha has roots in Northeast China or Manchuria and then later spread to Russia and from there to the rest of the world.

According to Karma Kombucha’s website, Kombucha can be traced back to late 19th century Russia and later Germany. Brewed black and/or green tea is sweetened with cane sugar and then cooled to room temperature. A culture that the company describes as “resembling a pancake and called a ‘SCOBY’ (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast)” is added to kick off the fermentation process along with a bit of of kombucha that came from a previous batch of the goodness.

The pancake culture described above contains primarily acetobacter and one or more yeast species. These yeasts devour the sugar and produce alcohol and carbon dioxide, this makes the natural effervescence – what makes it tasty in my opinion. The acetobacter is then activated and turns the alcohol into acetic acid. The end result is a slightly fizzy, acidic and sweet bevvy.

raw + delicious

Karma Kombucha retains live, active cultures, also known as ‘probiotics’ – those good for your belly and immune system bacteria. I’ve been taking probiotics in pill form daily for a few years now and along with other diet changes have noticed tremendous improvements. I also drink a few bottles of kombucha a week.

Karma Kombucha’s website also states that there are limited studies so far, but some claim it may increase energy, enhance immunity, improve digestion, and fix constipation. They also sat you should check with your doctor when drinking kombucha and taking certain prescriptions or supplements – always a good idea.

I first ordered some Karma Kombucha, (PS it’s USDA certified organic and fair trade certified) from Irv & Shelly’s Fresh Picks (use the promotion code ‘bare’ for $10 in free food!) and was pleased to also recently find it on shelves at my local Mariano’s. Of the flavor’s I’ve tasted so far, Pineapple Passion and Orchard Peach are my faves. I’ve also tried Mixed Berry – the kids like it too!


I know the name ‘kombucha’ sounds a little weird and slightly scary. Have you tried kombucha yet? What do you think?

For more  urban-minimalist + vegan inspiration, visit me at Barefoot Essence, I turn hungry people’s kitchens into healthy fast food restaurants and teach famished + all-too-busy folks how to make super simple plant-based + gluten-free food.



  1. Stan Wilder says:

    If you brew your own kombucha and want different flavors just add 1 teaspoon of Soda Stream flavor to each 12 oz glass. Add the flavor when you are ready to drink the kombucha.

    I’ve never flavored a gallon so I don’t know if the flavors maintain their zest in a large batch mix.

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