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Is kombucha the new coke?

Mix FM radio host Sami Muirhead says you know times have changed when school canteens start introducing kombucha and braised brisket burgers.


Is kombucha the new coke?

Sami Muirhead says you know times have changed when school canteens start introducing kombucha and braised brisket burgers.

Remember when we were kids and eating tuckshop meant devouring a sausage roll, a carton of chocolate milk, and a Chomp chocolate? And yet somehow we were a skinnier generation of kids compared to today. Our school palettes were not as sophisticated, but I was happy with my Vegemite sandwich and orange for my staple daily diet.

How times have changed. This week, Sunshine Beach High canteen made national headlines over its healthy tuckshop menu choices. The line-up could rival any fancy cafe and includes couscous salads, gluten-free pastas, gourmet curries, braised brisket burgers and zucchini fritters.

The thing that made me feel really old and really daggy was the drink that has been added to the high school menu: kombucha. Sunshine Beach High is believed to be the first school in Australia to stock cans of Kombucha. One in four of our kids in Australia are overweight, so it is wonderful the tuckshop is leading the way in the health stakes.

I have never tasted kombucha. I do not even know how to say the name of this drink. So I do what I often do with ex-boyfriends: I Googled it and did a bit of cyberstalking. It is pronounced ‘kom-boo-cha’. Do you note the word ‘boo’ in the middle? Just saying.

I also learnt this week how to pronounce the word ‘pho’.  We have a gorgeous Vietnamese restaurant in our fancy new work digs at Maroochydore and I do wonder most days how one pronounces the traditional Vietnamese soup: pho.

It is not pronounced ‘faux’, as in fur. It does not rhyme with ‘hoe’. It is in fact pronounced ‘farrrr’, as in ‘far out this is mind-boggling, how on Earth can three letters be so difficult to nail?’.

I know many of you beautiful toned people in your activewear are laughing at me now, thinking how terribly behind the times I am. I have not even switched over to charcoal toothpaste yet, as I am still using the faithful old white Colgate stuff. I don’t trust black toothpaste.

Turmeric lattes? No thanks. Sounds like a foot disease. Sushi and a latte is about as crazy as I get in the fancy food stakes.

So back to kombucha. The definition of this supposed new superfood is ‘a fermented drink made from bacteria and yeast mixed with black or green tea and sugar. The sugary tea turns into kombucha with the help of a SCOBY – a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, which looks a bit like a floating mushroom. It is this bacteria and yeast-fuelled fermentation process that gives it an off-putting vinegary smell.

Sounds about as tempting as a lukewarm glass of chardy in the middle of summer. But perhaps I should give it a go, because when you think about it, red wine is simply fermented grapes.


Sami Muirhead is a radio announcer, blogger and commentator. For more from Sami tune into Mix FM.

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