All About Kombucha

Food and Drink
| Winter
2023 |
Volume 2,
Issue 4

All About Kombucha

Rising quickly in popularity and availability in the U.S. over the past few years, kombucha is one of our favorite fizzy beverages! This lightly effervescent, tangy, fermented brew is consumed for its purported health benefits and piquant flavor. Here we learn all about the health drink taking the world by storm.

Rising quickly in popularity and availability in the U.S. over the past few years, kombucha is one of our favorite fizzy beverages! This lightly effervescent, tangy, fermented brew is consumed for its purported health benefits and piquant flavor. Here we learn all about the health drink taking the world by storm.

Although newer to store shelves in the U.S., kombucha—a fermented tea with numerous health benefits, both purported and confirmed—dates back two millennia to the Qin Dynasty in Northeast China (220 B.C.). Kombucha was considered by the people of this time to possess the power of immortality and was therefore mandated by Emperor Qin Shi Huang for all of his subjects to consume.

Over the centuries, kombucha spread along the Silk Road to other places including Japan, Korea, and Russia, where it was similarly revered and was referred to as “Mushroom Tea” for the mushroom-like quality of the SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast) that is used in the fermentation process. After two thousand years, the beverage  finally found its way to the United States in the 20th century, first becoming commercially available in 1995. Its popularity has soared in the past decade due to its many touted health benefits. 

Kombucha enthusiasts attribute a wide range of health benefits to the consumption of this fermented tea. While research is ongoing, some potential benefits include:

Probiotics and Gut Health: The fermentation process of creating kombucha produces probiotics that may contribute to a healthy gut microbiome and aid in digestion. 

Antioxidant benefits: Kombucha contains polyphenols which help combat oxidative stress in the body.

Immune System Support: The presence of bioactive compounds in kombucha may support immune function.

Joint Health: Glucosamines produced during fermentation may contribute to joint health.

Energy and Anemia: Iron released from the tea during fermentation may provide a boost in energy and help with anemia.

While kombucha is readily available these days it’s also a unique project to take on at home. The jelly-like SCOBY reproduces endlessly, and can be gifted over and over to other kombucha enthusiasts. Here we provide a basic recipe for brewing kombucha at home (below), as well as links to some readily available commercial brands.

 

Remedy Kombucha

Remedy Kombucha features bright unique flavors. 

Health-Aide Kombucha Cayenne Cleanse

Health-Ade is our favorite in-store brand of kombucha.  We especially love their Cayenne Cleanse variety!

Unified Ferments

Unified Ferments focuses on high-quality, single-origin teas.

How to Brew Kombucha at Home

The production of kombucha involves a straightforward yet fascinating fermentation process. 

  • Bring the water to a boil and add the tea bags to brew. Add sugar, stir, and let the mixture cool. Remove and discard tea bags.

  • Add the cooled sweet tea to a sterilized glass jar, add the SCOBY and starter culture, gently stir, and loosely cover. (A cloth secured with a rubber band works well.)

  • Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 7-21 days*, depending on the desired taste. At the end of the fermentation period pour the kombucha into glass bottles. Add flavorings or fruit juice if desired. Save the SCOBY and a bit of the finished kombucha for the next batch. If the SCOBY has grown a new layer you can separate it into two new SCOBYs.)

  • Tightly cover the bottles and allow to ferment for an additional three days. (This is the secondary fermentation which creates the carbonation.) A small SCOBY may form on the top of the liquid in the bottle which you can remove or strain out. 

  • At the end of three days, refrigerate the bottles, and enjoy!

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