What the heck is Kombucha? And what is in Kombucha? Kombucha also known as BOOCH is a fermented tea beverage that originated in China around 220 B.C. The name is supposedly derived from a Korean doctor that brought the fermented tea to Japan as a cure for an Emperor, the doctors name is Dr. Kombu. It has been told there are many legends of this but many point to Dr. Kombu.
After some time passed the tea was brought to Europe and notably appeared in Russia as Kambucha and in Germany as Kombuchaschwamm. The popularity dipped in WWII due to a shortage of supplies needed to make the tea. But in the 1960’s gained back popularity after a study was done in Switzerland claiming great health benefits. There are many facts about the past, present and future growing popularity of the tea and I think one of the best explanations is written here in an article in Forbes.com.
What is a SCOBY?
Kombucha is made with a SCOBY that can be purchased in stores and used to make Kombucha at home. A SCOBY is a common name used for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast”. SCOBY is formed after the completion of a unique fermentation process of lactic acid, acetic acid bacteria and yeast which forms Kombucha as well as several other sour foods. It looks like a thick, rubbery and pinkish mass and it aids in the fermentation process. It’s sometimes referred to as a mushroom and has a vinegar type smell. But if it has a cheese like odor then it could be decaying and should be discarded. The starter culture kit below from Thrive Market can be used to make the Kombucha at home. People like to make the Kombucha at home due to the high cost of the pre-made bottles.
If you want to make your own SCOBY then I recommend you follow these directions: Start with raw, unflavored kombucha and 1 cup of green or black tea sweetened with 1–2 tablespoons of sugar. Simply combine the kombucha and cooled tea in a jar and cover it tightly with a coffee filter or dishrag. Place the jar in a warm spot around 68–80°F and let it ferment for up to 30 days. As the SCOBY begins to form, it will gradually become thicker and less translucent. Once the SCOBY is about 1/4-inch thick, you can use it to brew a new batch of kombucha using green or black tea and sugar. Good luck and be sure to comment below your experience and results.
How to Make Kombucha
What is the Main Ingredient in Kombucha?
This video here shows how to make Kombucha. The SCOBY is added to a mason jar with sweetened black or green tea then allowed to ferment for 1-4 weeks. The yeast and bacteria in the SCOBY will break down the teas sugars and convert them into alcohol, carbon dioxide and acids. The end result is a carbonated type beverage with a sweet vinegar flavor. The specific flavor depends on how long it stays fermenting, what type of tea is used and the addition of other ingredients like fruit or juice. Improperly prepared kombucha may have adverse health effects so be sure to understand how to do it properly by going here. Raw kombucha must be kept refrigerated to prevent bacterial growth and to stop the fermentation process.
Supplies needed: water, live Scoby, black or green tea, cane sugar, distilled white vinegar.
What are the benefits of drinking Kombucha?
It’s known to have over 8 healing benefits including the biggest claim to fame, probiotics. Probiotics help to restore the good bacteria in the body and enhances the gut health. Gut health is important for proper digestion and strong immune system. Kombucha helps balance the body’s pH due to its acidic properties. People have reported that they have experienced an increase in metabolism which helps with weight loss and energy. It can also detoxify the system especially the liver. There are antioxidants and many Vitamin B nutrients in Kombucha that helps boost your immune system.
List of 8 health benefits of Kombucha
- Protect against cancer
- Potential source of probiotics
- Reduce risk of Heart Disease
- Contains antioxidants
- Only healthy when prepared correctly
- Help manage Type 2 Diabetes
- Can kill bacteria
- Provide benefit of green tea
So if you are still unclear on what is in Kombucha or what is a SCOBY or if you want to learn more about the fermentation process then I recommend this book, The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz. The book provides an in depth exploration of the essential concepts and processes from around the World.
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