Kombucha originated anywhere from 2,000 to 200 years ago—a long time, basically, although the drink is seeing a recent resurgence. The fermented green or black tea beverage is said to have health benefits due to its probiotic and antioxidant content. And it’s actually simple to make at home, once you can gather up the ingredients.
It’s easy to forget the beverage involves fermentation, and a byproduct is alcohol. Many kombucha makers, especially the ones that sell to supermarkets, will remove the alcohol—though GT’s, perhaps the country’s most recognizable brand, has begun selling its lightly boozy Classic line to 21+ customers (a lightweight co-worker confided he got tanked off just three bottles).
It’s those kombuchas that recently raised some concern, when a student was drinking it on an elementary-school campus in Arlington, Washington, north of Seattle. Once it was discovered that alcohol is listed on the kombucha ingredient label, the school banned the drink, sending out a letter to district “reminding them to not allow their kids to bring drugs, or alcohol, including unpasteurized kombucha tea, onto school property,” says Q13 Fox.
Some parents are banding together to try to get the school to reverse this policy stating that the kombucha has health benefits that outweigh any alcohol. Most kombucha only has a trace of alcohol in it; if it had more than 0.5 percent, it would have to be classified different by the Food And Drug Administration.One parent told Q13 Fox, “I think there’s much more important things that we can be worried about than kids drinking kombucha in school.”