What is kombucha anyway?
What is kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink made with black or green tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast. It has a slightly sour, effervescent taste and is often flavored with fruits, juices, or spices. Kombucha has been consumed for centuries in Asia and is now becoming increasingly popular in the West.
How is kombucha made?
Kombucha is made by fermenting a mixture of tea, sugar, and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). The SCOBY forms a pancake-shaped film on the surface of the liquid during fermentation called a pellicle (this is often mistakenly referred to as the SCOBY itself). The bacteria and yeast in the SCOBY consume the sugar in the tea and produce lactic acid, acetic acid, and carbon dioxide. The lactic acid gives kombucha its sour taste, while the acetic acid gives it its vinegary flavor. The carbon dioxide gives kombucha its fizz.
Origins of kombucha
The exact origins of kombucha are unknown, but it is thought to have originated in Northeast Asia over 2,000 years ago. Kombucha was first introduced to the West in the early 20th century and has become increasingly popular in recent years for its unique flavor and health benefits.
Why is kombucha considered non-alcoholic?
Kombucha is considered non-alcoholic because it typically contains less than 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV). This is because the bacteria and yeast in the SCOBY work together to consume most of the sugar and alcohol in the tea during fermentation.
You have likely come across alcoholic kombucha on the market (>4% ABV) - this kombucha is produced with various alternate methods, sometimes including the addition of alcohol from an outside source, and does not offer many of the natural benefits of kombucha.
Health benefits of kombucha
Kombucha is often touted for its health benefits, which include:
- Improved gut health: Kombucha contains probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that live in the gut. Probiotics can help to improve digestion, boost the immune system, and reduce inflammation. Perhaps even more significantly, gut health has been strongly linked to brain and nervous system function.
- Increased energy levels: Kombucha contains B vitamins and other nutrients that can help to increase energy levels and improve overall well-being.
- Stronger immune system: The probiotics in kombucha can help to boost the immune system and protect against infection.
- Weight loss: Kombucha is low in calories and contains acetic acid, which has been shown to promote weight loss. Early research has also indicated that the consumption of kombucha with a meal can reduce the typical post-meal blood sugar spike. This is huge!
Kombucha is a refreshing and healthy drink. It is a good source of probiotics and other nutrients, and it has been linked to a number of health benefits. If you are looking for a non-alcoholic beverage that is both delicious and good for you, kombucha is a great option.