This is not just kombucha flavored with sassafras, which was a disappointment when I tried it. Instead, this is 1 quart of sassafras tea fermented with a kombucha culture. I steeped 2 tablespoons of dried sassafras in 1 pint of boiling distilled water for three hours (until it was cool). Then I added 1/4 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup strong (pH 2.8) kombucha tea from my scoby hotel.
At two weeks the pH was 3.2. The taste was watery, slightly sweet, slightly tart, and with a noticeable astringency. It smells and tastes of sassafras, with an additional bitter woodiness in the flavor. the scoby was 1mm thick.
I apparently lost the notes that I took at 4, 6, and 8 weeks. I don’t believe the pH changed after the first two weeks, and the flavor hadn’t changed all that much either. It was still slightly sweet and tart, with a mild sassafras flavor, and a faint bitter woodiness. The surprise was that it had a strong kick of astringency. If I took a drink and swished it around, my mouth felt like it was drying out. It wasn’t unpleasant, but a little intense.
Overall, it resembled a light, refreshing summer drink. In fact, my brother commented “I sort’ve like it as a light lemonade / Arnold Palmer”, but his wife (who likes kombucha, but not sassafras) found the odor offensive. Pretty much all of the flavor disappeared when it was cold, so I drank it warm, which detracted from the refreshment factor a bit.
While interesting, it doesn’t strike me as a culture that’s self-sustainable.