Ancient Tea Makes Sweeping Comeback - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Ancient Tea Makes Sweeping Comeback

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It is a mystical elixir from an ancient time and a staple today on the natural, holistic scene.

Some are saying it's the next big thing, but the exact origin and powerful health benefits of Kombucha tea are more debatable now.

"I don't know of any health benefits," Dr. Mike Cirigliano said. "Some of the health benefits touted may be from caffeine, sugar and alcohol. When it comes to science, there is no science."

However, the ancient throwback is making a sweeping comeback on store shelves.

"People even buy it by the case," Amy Chidichimo of Whole Foods said.

But the high cost of the bubbly beverage is prompting more people to brew it in bulk at home.

Allyson Kramer is an expert baker and Kombucha maker who brews plain caffeinated green or black tea in filtered water. She dissolves it in a cup of real sugar.

"It's so easy, I mean honestly all you have to do is dump and wait and if you brew tea, you can make Kombucha," Kramer said. "It has to be sugar because the bacteria feeds on it."

A jar contains the bacteria and yeast and a mushroom like culture called scoby.

You can buy one momma scoby for about $10.

But first an individual must dump the cooled down tea and nine cups of water into one gallon glass jar, and then the scoby.

According to Kramer, getting a good scoby, preventing mold and contamination are key for the ten day to 14 day fermentation process.

That is where our Doctor Mike Cirigliano who supports natural remedies cautions individuals more can go wrong here than right.

"You don't know. It's a crap shot and a big experiment," Dr. Mike said.

"There's a very low risk of contamination if you're careful," Kramer explained.

Contaminated tea can cause uncomfortable side effects.

"Stomach pains, stomach cramps, it can even cause lead poisoning there are case reports of people who fermented the product in a lead containing vessel and the alcohol and the products in actually leeched lead into it," stated Dr. Mike.

Kramer explained to use sterilized class containers, watch for molding, and smell for spoilage. However, she has not brewed a bad batch yet.

We left our brew in the hands of news executive producer Megan Duncan. After looking at it for a few days we decided to try Allyson's nine day brew mid-process

Joyce Evans says it really tasted like a spiked apple cider and we did get a boost of energy.

By the way, we tossed out the one left in our producer's care.

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