Kombucha tea, brewing a better bubbly beverage

Not being a person one who cares much for health claims or three-dollar beverages, it was a year or two after I'd first seen kombucha tea in my favorite produce store's drink case before I tried it. I'd been told by a woman with whose advice, generally, I agreed, that kombucha was the world's most perfect potable.

Brewed with black or green tea, sugar and a giant, slimey "mushroom" (actually not a fungus but "a gelatinous colony of bacteria and yeast") on the countertop until the mixture begins to bubble, fizz and taste distinctly of vinegar, well: it's not exactly the orange pop of my childhood. But, proponents say, as a naturally fermented beverage it is beneficial to health; and with those "live and active cultures" we all know and love from the yogurt advertising of the past decade, it's not a stretch to imagine that it would be good for digestion and a healthy gut.