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[personal profile] hat_of_nikitich
About eight years ago, I saw some kombucha in a grocery store in Hibbing. I thought: "That looks healthy and SUPER WEIRD. I'm gonna try drinking that." It was by the tofu, you see.

I took it home, popped off the top and took a deep swig. It was not unlike drinking pickle brine with bold overtones of brackish pond water. After searching the bottle for a warning ("THIS TASTES LIKE A FROG'S TOILET WATER"), or instructions ("Shake to release human palatable flavors!") I found that it was a year and a half past its expiration. Well, then.

Fast forward a few years, and someone else tells me I should really try kombucha! It's delicious! Having not been traumatized enough, I go out and buy a new bottle -- from a different store -- but this one tastes like kimchi dissolved in grape juice. There is miserable, stringy scum floating in the bottle that doesn't go away when shaken. I don't find an expiration date, but it doesn't matter, I'm done with kombucha.

So, now I've been in the Bay Area for a few months, and I discover that my office building has an outdoor garden/park on the fourth floor with armchairs, low tables, chaise lounges, and ping-pong tables. It also has a free kombucha fountain that they refill once a day. Co-workers drink greedily from it, and it's usually empty by mid-day. Mystified, I ask them if kombucha is merely an acquired taste, and they stare at me like I've just declared I hate pie AND cake.

"It's... like fizzy tea soda."
"It's so good!"
"It's sweet and light!"
"It makes me poop right."

This kombucha doesn't have scummy junk in it, I comment. "No, that means it's bad. You don't drink the stuff that's got floaters!"
"Did someone feed you expired kombucha!? That's horrible!"
"Have mine!"

I decline, still wary. Later, I work up the courage, but as the fountain is empty by that time, I buy a bottle at a grocery store on the way home from work (after scrutinizing it for the expiration date). And: it is delicious. The flavor I had tasted like Sprite mixed with green tea, and delicate floral notes. Unlike other carbonated drinks, it did not give me heartburn, it is much less fizzy than any soda.

In summation: Fuck you, Hibbing. Quit selling expired kombucha!

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