What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is an ancient fermented naturally sparkling tea beverage. It is full of healthy yeast and bacteria (probiotics), antioxidants and vitamins. It is made with caffeinated tea, sugar and a SCOBY (a fermenting culture that has been made from a previous batch of kombucha). SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. It looks like a beige rubbery slippery pancake.
Although kombucha is made with sugar and caffeine, there is very little left, if any after the fermentation period. The sugar and caffeine is used to ‘feed’ the SCOBY. The longer it ferments the less sweet and more vinegary the kombucha will be. The SCOBY feeds on the sugar and caffeine and in turn produces valuable substances including glucuronic acid, glucon acid, lactic acid, vitamins, and amino acids.
Store bought kombucha can be very sweet as it is flavoured and sometimes sugar is added after the fermentation process. Additionally, many companies will add carbonation. Not all home-brewed kombucha will be bubbly. It’s usually a slight bubble, sometimes it’s very minimal.
Kombucha also contains small amounts of alcohol. The longer it ferments the more alcohol it will contain. However, it is usually only trace amounts. It is safe to give to children.
Anytime the kombucha is left out at room temperature it will continue to ferment, even without the SCOBY present. Once you have reached the desirable flavour, your should refrigerate your kombucha. Leaving the bottled kombucha out in room temperature after it has been bottled and sealed with a lid, will aid in the naturally occurring effervescence.
If natural kombucha flavour isn’t for you, you can add flavours from juices and teas after the fermentation process prior to bottling. Beware of the kombuchas that you can buy at health food or grocery stores. They are typically sweetened and carbonation is added. Making your own kombucha is the way to go for optimal health.
Benefits of Kombucha
Kombucha is made of probiotics (healthy bacteria) that is fantastic for gut-health. It is also loaded with antioxidants and vitamins to assist in the detoxification process within the body and also boost immunity.
The most noticeable health benefit you will discover is for digestive health. The probiotics help fight harmful yeast and promotes healthy bacteria within your stomach lining and digestive tracts. You should become more regular after drinking kombucha.
Kombucha is said to be a cure-all. For conditions ranging from insomnia, intestinal disorders, arthritis, cancer, chronic fatigue,etc,
Additional health benefits include mental clarity, energy and detoxification. It detoxifies by method of the enzymes as it reduces the pancreatic load and ease the burden on our liver.
Finally, it is a great immunity boost! It is a great source of amino acids, vitamins and enzymes that will support your general health.
History of Kombucha
Recently, kombucha has been very popular but it said to have existed since 212BC. It originated in Asia and was referred to as the Remedy for Immorality. It later then spread to India and Russia then Japan. It was known to be responsible for astonishing health, longevity and well-being. The tea was quite popular across Europe until World War II with the shortage of tea and sugar.
What Could Go Wrong?
If not handled or brewed properly, you could grow mold that looks like dark coloured fuzz. It can be green, black, white or grey. If you notice fuzz on your SCOBY or in your kombucha, throw it out and start from scratch. Mold tends not to grow in acidic environments so having enough of the starter will help prevent this.