What to expect the first time you drink kombucha

You’re not alone if you think it sounds weird

Words by Melissa Shedden

If you haven't plunged into the puckery depths of kombucha, you probably will soon, especially if you’re feeling bleurgh about your health. Or just darn thirsty.

As part of my own perpetual quest to find a wellness tonic for everything that ails me, I now look back with rose-tinted glasses on my first time, like it was yesterday (and much more affectionately than my first squirmy kiss with Kelvin White on the school basketball court, but that’s a whole other story.) I fondly remember my virgin sip of this cloudy liquid as the taste equivalent of tiny fairies tap dancing on my tongue.

It was otherworldly. Like nothing I’d experienced before. At first, I wasn’t sure. But it quickly grew on me. You know why? Kombucha tastes like health. But not a hold-your-nose-close-your-eyes-and-down-it health taste, because heck I’ve tried plenty of those as a health journalist over the years.

Kombucha: an acquired taste

That was more than a decade ago when kombucha caused your face to go Jim Carrey and by that I mean physically respond to the initial teeth-thrumming taste. Now it’s best described as exhilaratingly tangy and tart fruity flavour infusion (which explains why there’s so many tasty flavours to choose from). Sipping on one feels like a power nap in drink form – all sorts of refreshing.

You see, the collective understanding that not all bacteria are evil and that many are in fact, good and necessary to human health, have since made live cultured products as alluring as that fresh-out-of-the-oven Subway cookie scent. Yep, these days you can barely order a latte without bumping into something cultured, or otherwise funky – in a good way.

Kombucha's origins – like almost everything about the drink – are a little Harold Holt-esque – a combination of myth and mystery. It’s been around for about 2000 years and made its way to us from China through Russia and Eastern Europe – but the middle class hipsters made it famous in the last decade when it got brewed commercially. We salute you beard-oiled friends.


Kombucha for beginners

The carbonated drink with live micro-organisms is made when tea, raw organic sugar and water are left to ferment with SCOBY, an acronym, that stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. (Google warning: If you've never looked at a picture of SCOBY, the slimy beige blob is reminiscent of a jellyfish from the depths of unchartered waters. You know you want hit search, stat.)

Sounds funky, but the outcome is good, so let’s press on. The fermentation process makes the drink naturally fizzy as well, and then different flavours are added. Remedy, made famous by the ‘I Quit Sugar recommends’ tick, makes the real deal no sugar stuff straight out of Melbourne. (Side note: During their 30-day long aged brewing process, all of the key starter ingredient sugar is converted into organic acids leaving no sugar.) Think passionfruit and mango, raspberry lemonade, ginger and lemon and their newest creation, wild berry, a great gateaway booch that I wish I had when I first began my dalliance with the drink. 


Great expectations

So what should you expect the first time you pop the top and suck one down?

My advice? Start with Remedy Kombucha Wild Berry – the jammy mouthfeel of a warm summer’s day. Give it a good sniff, then pretend you’re at a bougie restaurant and somehow you’ve ended up being anointed by the sommelier as the wine tester and consider it for a moment. Take that opening sip. Let it linger. Smack it between your lips and swoosh it to the back of your throat. Trust me, your expression will change more times than a cat meme – and rapidly – and I guarantee you’ll go back for more.

As for the health benefits, Remedy Kombucha is teeming with live cultures, organic acids and antioxidants (AKA the really good stuff). If you’re thirsty and looking for a smug feeling alternative to soft drinks, booze and juice this summer - go wild on Remedy Kombucha.



Article first published on Body & Soul. 

I swapped wine for kombucha for a week and here’s what happened

Spoiler: I didn’t get divorced or try to sell my kid on Gumtree – a miracle.

Words by Melissa Shedden

A week without wine for a parent is like Andy without Hamish, or fairy bread without sprinkles – it simply doesn’t work.

Hold your “feedback” please parenting police but I’m one of those wine mums who likes to share a glass or two with my husband at the end of a long day to take the edge off. But when we realised every day had become a long day after having our first baby, we made the decision to reserve opening a bottle until the weekend.

Yes, like memes suggest, like it or not, wine is often to mums what duct tape is to dads – it fixes everything. At least I thought so – until one glass too many combined with a 5.30am alarm (in the shape of a chubby baby) made me question if it was really worth it?  As any parent knows deep within their tired bones, you drink less yet the hangovers are worse – because life is just too relentless for recovery.

With that in mind, I decided to experiment with swapping my wine crutch for a much healthier alternative – kombucha – to see the difference. Welcome to my diary.


Ah Monday – the day of fresh starts and hope. The truth is I’m a tea, water, beer or wine girl. I don’t drink soft drinks. I’m not here for cocktails. I gave up coffee over a year ago when I went to a health retreat and after a decade drinking the black stuff, never got back on it. I’ve dabbled with kombucha but not with regularity.

So once I did the bedtime routine with our baby, I sat down to dinner and our nighttime routine – a beverage. Instead of twisting the top on a pinot grigio I opted for Remedy’s ginger and lemon kombucha – I mean the combination practically screams health. Hot and sour, fiery and tangy – it sounds like me on three hours sleep TBH. Surprisingly, I could only do half a bottle but it was nice to nurse something a little more special than water (or my child) on day one.


Day two and I was considering kombucha an addition to my cache of healthy-girl tools. This time though, I used a wild berry to bridge the window between lunch and dinner (which conveniently coincides with my urge to nap). I’d like to note this wasn’t a straight-up hour for hour wine swap per say, but it gave me the pep I needed to bring my A-game to another awake period – and I was able to pass on the chocolate I’d usually mindlessly inhale without having to flex any willpower.


I aspire to practice hands-on parenting, aka enriching playtime, frequent conversations about thoughts and feelings, patient well-reasoned explanations and extracurriculars like swimming and music.  Mind you, I said aspire, not achieve 100% of the time (more like 62% if I’m generous) because childrearing in this style takes tons of time, patience and energy, which I have depleted levels of already – especially by a Wednesday.

I take the edge off hump day with a Mango Passion, the taste equivalent of tropical holidays, and realise we’ve been going to bed earlier because I’ve not had a wine and then sat on the couch in a phone scroll-hole. An unexpected side effect I think as I turn the lights out at 8.30pm.


After a 5am wake up from our daughter (not as rude when I’ve been in bed for 8.5 hours) it’s a parent’s group meetup at the local club. Our offshoot group basically formed around an appreciation for sharing mishaps over a French rose. Instead of joining them in a glass, I order a raspberry lemonade kombucha, which basically looks like some type of sparkling anyway.  No one even asks about it.

I double up at night and have another. Now if you’re worrying about saving your daily kombucha for unwinding in the evening, there's only a potential problem if you’re uber caffeine sensitive. Fermenting reduces the amount of caffeine, but it does still contain 10 milligrams or less – the equivalent of a cup of decaf coffee or tea. Me? I’m one of those weirdos who could have an espresso before bed and still sleep so no troubles here.


Jesus might have turned water to wine, but by Friday I can turn wine into thin air because it tends to disappear at an alarming rate. I can’t be alone in thinking wine is simply a shorthand for relaxation for any exhausted human. I have to admit though, Friday was probably the moment I missed my chilled chardy the most, but that’s the autopilot talking. My husband and I instead sat down for a game of Sequence (yes, I’m a major boardgame nerd) and a wild berry kombucha. Wholesome – and again, we rolled into bed earlier than usual.


I thought I knew what a hangover was. I’d splashed vomit down the side of enough nightclub toilet cubicles. I’d eaten McDonald's drive-thru at 10am. I once knew the delight of falling asleep in a Paris park in broad daylight using my handbag as a pillow. But that was before. Before I experienced what I now know as a hangover. Only once you’ve allowed a baby to clamber over you through waves of nausea do you understand the anguish of a real hangover – the parent hangover. The best thing about this kombucha switch is waking up every morning less dehydrated and more clear-minded and Saturday left me feeling level 10 smug for a fun family day.


The final day of my wine swap experiment and I did use a wild berry as a mixer with my G&T to toast my success (I said I’d swapped wine not booze all together and I was intrigued if they’d work together. Surprise: they do!). As I sipped the jammy delight, I realised I’d stopped craving dessert each night. It just happened, with zero effort on my part. Maybe it was because with the ritual of having a kombucha it didn’t seem necessary. Or maybe it was because my energy levels felt perfectly perky without it (Remedy is the I Quit Sugar approved kombucha for those playing at home). Reflecting on the week, I preferred the parent, wife and human I was – more present thanks to the extra sleep and peppier than usual – thanks to the lack of wine-related fuzziness. And rather than feeling deprived, a kombucha a day was a pleasant way to do it.