Pekoe Kombucha Bar — Canada’s first draft organic kombucha tea bar — is doing an amazing job at delivering a very beneficial though relatively obscure product. Matter of fact, kombucha is so widely unknown that my text document is underlining the word as a spelling mistake…
Though rather new in North America, kombucha has been around for more than 2,000 years. Originating in the ancient Far East, this lightly effervescent drink is referred to by the Chinese as the ‘immortal health elixir’ — hint, hint for those who’ve been on the hunt for the philosopher’s stone.
In essence, kombucha is a fermented tea (in most cases black, though not necessarily) made by adding a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast — popularly known as SCOBY (also used to make water kefir) — to sugared tea, and allowing the mixture to ferment.
Despite his cute-sounding name, SCOBY is somewhat nightmarish-looking, resembling a caramelized blob of snot… — luckily, you’ll only encounter him if you’re going to be attempting making your own homemade kombucha, so kudos to Pekoe for doing the dirty work of harvesting this uncanny creature for us.
After fermenting, kombucha is naturally carbonated and imbued with B vitamins, enzymes, and probiotics. Loaded with these properties, kombucha is recognized for its numerous health- and energy-boosting benefits.
One study in particular, published in February 2014 within the Journal of Medicinal Food, notes: It is shown that KT [kombucha fermented tea] can efficiently act in health prophylaxis and recovery due to four main properties: detoxification, antioxidation, energizing potencies, and promotion of depressed immunity. The recent experimental studies on the consumption of KT suggest that it is suitable for prevention against broad-spectrum metabolic and infective disorders.
Indeed, though North American studies on kombucha’s health benefits are quite sparse (no wonder, an inexpensive and essentially home-makable solution to many of the world maladies is very much not something in the pharmaceutical companies’ best interest), there are numerous Russian and German studies demonstrating that, beside cleansing and detoxifying, kombucha improves digestion, aids cardiovascular health, has anti-inflammatory properties, boosts the immune system, and is cancer preventative. Also super advantageous is kombucha’s antimicrobial activity, which has it effectively inhibit a range of pathogenic bacteria — that is harmful microorganisms that can cause infection.
Gut health is altogether an area which is very overlooked, though scientists are coming to realize its importance. It may sound surprising, but the stomach is arguably your second brain, meaning that what you eat determines such fundamental things as your personality. A mind-boggling study by McMaster University actually demonstrated that a disruption of your gut’s ecosystem may cause anxiety or depression. What the researchers did is swapped gut juices of passive mice with those of exploratory ones, and found that in effect the timid subjects became more active and daring, and vice versa.
So drink your probiotic-rich kombucha. And for Torontonians, Pekoe is offering a vast and exotic array of flavors to choose from, I mean, just check out this list of some of the awesome ingredients that they masterfully combine within their very original recipes: freshly squeezed lemons, pink grapefruit, apple, pear, pineapple, watermelon, beet, cucumber, parsley, turmeric, ginger, cayenne, and cinnamon! — oh, and did I mention their brews are organic? Our favorite kombucha so far is ‘Lemon Ginger,’ which is very refreshing and spiced with a pinch of cayenne!
New Yorkers must try Beyond Brewing, an artisan kombucha beer joint — visited them, omg delicious, especially their ‘Love Potion,’ a 2.5% alcohol, honey-sweetened, Jun tea-style kombucha, a potion transpiring with (in their own words, though I concur) “floral and bitterwood notes.”
Back to Toronto, you can visit Pekoe’s kombucha tea bar at their home base, which is conveniently situated within Yoga Tree’s flagship locations (a superb yoga studio — with a very inspirational origin story of an entrepreneurial couple who quit their day jobs in pursuit of a vision to create a community embracing all the various yoga traditions — with five locations across the Toronto area). Meaning that you can drink your kombucha and chant your namastes at one place!
However, until the end of August, you can get you Pekoe kombucha fix at the Front Street Foods market, a summertime culinary event at Union Station. Pekoe is there, along with 27 other vendors, together showcasing some of the city’s finest in terms of edibles and drinkables.
Aside from visiting Front Street Foods market, be sure to follow Pekoe on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest! And do the same Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram obsessiveness for Yoga Tree! Right, and then share some Facebook and Twitter love with Kombucha Beyond Brewing!
Till next time!