Kombucha is on its way to being the new “it” drink. This fermented tea is so popular that several brands are available at upscale grocery stores, and its Wikipedia entry has tripled in length since I first checked. I’ve heard the tea’s culture — which looks like a rubbery pancake — called a “mother,” “mushroom,” “starter,” and most accurately, a “scoby” (‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts’).
Whatever it is, kombucha is entering a renaissance after millennia of use in China and centuries in Eastern Europe, from whence all good fermented things come. Its loyal following claims health benefits of all ilk, citing vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and probiotic microorganisms present in the tea. I just like it because it tastes good (like a sweet-sour sparkling apple cider).