• All About Kombucha + Where to Find it in Hoboken

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    Kombucha just might be one of the most trendy drinks right now. You may have noticed commercial brand kombucha popping up on store shelves, heard of online kombucha delivery services, or even know people who brew it at home. But some {ourselves included} may still be wondering what the hype is all about. We have done some digging into this popular beverage to give you the lowdown on what it is and checked out a few Hoboken stores and restaurants that sell it. Keep reading to find out all about kombucha and where to find it in Hoboken.

    kombucha hoboken

    The Lowdown on Kombucha and How It Tastes

    Kombucha is a fermented drink made from tea, sugar, and yeast. It’s fizzy, tart, and contains a very small amount of alcohol and caffeine {what a combo}. The exact origin of kombucha is unknown, but it is thought to have originated in north-east China, and different variations of it have been consumed in Japan and East Russia for hundreds of years. It came to the U.S.food scene only in the last two decades, but it has seriously taken the industry by storm.s. Nowadays, you can buy bottles of it  at organic food stores and a variety of restaurants

    As for how it tastes, some people say it’s an acquired taste due to kombucha’s slightly vinegar-like flavor. But once you get used to it after the first few sips, the bubbly and tangy beverage is quite refreshing. Fruit juice or various spices are sometimes added to the drink to enhance the flavor, too.

    The Benefits of Kombucha

    The hype around kombucha is partly due to its health benefits, which are largely attributed to the probiotics in the drink. Live cultures called SCOBY {Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast} feed off the sugar in the sweetened tea of kombucha during fermentation to produce organic acids, the process of which produces probiotics that are beneficial to digestive health. Probiotics are live bacteria commonly found in fermented food {think of yogurt or kimchi} that can be used to manage and prevent digestive discomforts. They may also help to restore and maintain a balanced environment in our gut flora, which plays a key role in our metabolism and immune system.

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    Additionally, since tea is one of its key ingredients, the antioxidants found in tea are also present in kombucha. Antioxidants are substances in food and supplements that can slow or prevent damage to cells due to aging, injury, or other environmental pressures. And there is some evidence that a diet rich in antioxidants may help reduce inflammation and improve cardiovascular and cognitive health.

    Making Your Own Kombucha 

    Fun fact: you can make your own kombucha at home. To make it, first you need to get SCOBY, sometimes called tea fungus or mushroom. It’s an acidic-smelling, pancake-shaped mat that holds the bacteria and yeasts which starts the fermentation process. You can get SCOBY from acquaintances who make kombucha at home if the quality is reliable. The bacteria and yeast grow and propagate as the drink ferments, so every time someone brews a new batch of kombucha, new colonies of SCOBY are produced and can be used for kombucha brewing later. Or, you can order them online, from places like Esty, Amazon, or individual tea brewers.

    Once you’ve scored a SCOBY, the rest of the process sis straight forward — brew the tea {supermarket tea bags are fine}, add the sugar, and when the tea cools down, put the sweetened tea and SCOBY in a big glass jar. Seal the jar tightly and place it in a warm, ventilated area out of direct sunlight. Let it ferment for 10-20 days. You can play with the acidity and sweetness by adjusting the length of fermentation — the longer it ferments, the less sugar is left, hence the less sweet the tea becomes.

    Risks to Keep in Mind When Making Your Own Kombucha 

    Just like homemade wine, home-brewed kombucha comes with risks of contamination. If the containers or ingredients are not handled in sterile conditions, harmful bacteria may be introduced into the drink and the finished product may be toxic. Also, since alcohol is a by-product of the fermentation process, it might be tricky to control the alcohol level of the drink.

    Even with store-bought kombucha, the lactic acid in it may cause digestive issues for certain people. And since sugar is necessary for the making of kombucha, there is no “sugar-free” version of it. Since fruit juice is sometimes added in many store-bought kombucha drinks, it’s recommended to watch out for the sugar content on the nutrition fact labels.

    Read More: How to Eat Healthier While Traveling {It’s Possible, Promise!}

    Where to Get Kombucha in Hoboken

    If you don’t bother to brew your own kombucha, you can get it from many local grocery stores and restaurants. Below is a list of local spots where you can find it, along with the prices and brands/flavors available. 

    ShopRite {900 Washington Street}

    shoprite hoboken

    Only the KeVita brand is sold here, but it comes with the biggest assortment of flavors {about 10}, at $2.99 a bottle.

    Trader Joe’s {1350 Willow Avenue}

    Three flavors of GT’s kombucha is sold here. They also have their own store brand {a mango flavor} sold for $2.99 for a bottle. 

    Organic Basic Food {204 Washington Street} 

    This store has the largest selection of kombucha, including some niche flavors and smaller brands that are not sold in other stores. Prices are low too, at $2.99 a bottle. They also have 1.4-liter bottles of GT’s at $7.99

    Ma’s Gourmet Market {92 Bloomfield Street} 

    The store sells GT’s and Health-Ade, each brand with about five flavors, at $3.99 per bottle.

    Aspen Market Place {226 Washington Street}

    GT’s and Health-Ade are for sale here, but the prices are slightly higher, at $4.49 for each bottle.

    Natural and Plus {97 Washington Street}

    natural plus hoboken

    Similar to Sobsey’s Produce, GT’s and Health-Ade are for sale here at $3.99 for each bottle.

    Whole Fresh Market Place {101 Marshall Street}

    GT’s and Health-Ade are available here. Each brand comes with two-to-three flavors for $3.99 a bottle.

    Simply Juiced {262 1st Street} 

    Organic kombucha is sold here on tap. Lemonade and mango flavors are available for $6.00 each.

    Acai Ya Later {203 Washington Street} 

    Get Kombucha on tap here. Each flavor is available for $5.88.

    Shaka Bowl {720 Monroe Street and 110 Washington Street}

    The Washington Street location has kombucha on tap, serving a pomegranate flavor at $4.50 for a small and $7.00 for a large cup. Store-brand bottles are also sold here. The Monroe Street location only has store-brand kombucha.

    Bwè Kafe {1002 Washington Street}

    The cafe has bottled kombucha for sale from a New Jersey brewer called Fine Health for $6 a bottle

    Quality Greens Kitchen {227 Washington Street}

    quality greens

    GT’s and Health-Ade are available here and prices range from $4.50 to $4.99  each.

    Little Market {400 Newark Street}

    Five flavors GT’s kombucha are available here for  $5.49 each

    Do you drink kombucha? Where do you get it locally? Let us know in the comments! 

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    Written by:

    Yiwei was born and raised in China. She has lived extensively in Beijing and Hong Kong, before finally settling down in New York. She moved to Hoboken after a few years in Westchester and immediately felt at home here. Two years ago, she left her job at an investment bank to travel the world and explore her interests, and has since then taken on a few freelancing gigs in career coaching, college admission consulting, and writing. When she is not wandering wildly in the streets of Europe, Asia, or Latin America, she can be found sipping an espresso in one of Hoboken's coffee shops or trying out restaurants in Hoboken and Jersey City area.


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