It’s bubbly. It’s cold. It’s refreshing! And it’s great for gut health. Read on to find out why we’re so excited about kombucha, and how you can try it, too!
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is fermented tea.
Probiotics come from the SCOBY- or Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. Sometimes the SCOBY is referred to as a kombucha “mushroom.”
Yeast? Yes- that’s right, yeast. Yeast is responsible for making the SCOBY bubbly like a beer. To make kombucha, add a SCOBY and sugar to any type of tea. The cultures feed on the sugar, producing carbon dioxide bubbles.
What does Kombucha taste like?
The shorter the fermentation time, the sweeter your kombucha will taste. The longer you allow kombucha to ferment, the more acidic it will be. If it ferments for too long, the kombucha will taste like vinegar.
Certain brands taste stronger than others. Simple Truth Organic has a mild flavor and is a good place to start if you’re new to kombucha.
You can find all sorts of flavored kombuchas on the market. Many people love it unflavored!
We think kombucha is a perfect healthy substitute for soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. Many of our clients have chosen to socialize in a healthier way by swapping out their Friday night cocktails for kombucha!
Is Kombucha alcoholic?
Fermentation creates some alcohol, but it is a very small amount. Kombucha sold in grocery stores has < 0.5% alcohol, which is why it is not considered an alcoholic beverage. You can find it in the refrigerated sections of the grocery store. Kombucha that is made at home could have higher amounts of alcohol than kombucha sold in stores.
Most people don’t need to worry about it, but you probably shouldn’t drink kombucha if you’re trying to conceive, pregnant, or breastfeeding, or if you are immunodeficient or have certain chronic illnesses.
Is Kombucha safe?
The probiotic strains will differ from SCOBY to SCOBY, but the FDA says kombucha commonly contains S. ludwigii, S. pombe, Bacterium xylinum, B. gluconicum, B. xylinoides, Pichia fermentans, and Torula sp. The FDA concluded that the strains are not disease-causing, but kombucha could become contaminated with other microorganisms or toxins (like lead) if it isn’t made in a sterile manner at home.
Drinking too much kombucha (> 4 ounces) could lead to some gastrointestinal issues because of the sugar or acid content.
How do you make Kombucha?
People who make kombucha at home typically do two ferments:
- Phase 1: 7-10 days. The goal of this phase is to get the balance of sweetness that you like. Start tasting your kombucha on Day 7. When it gets to the desired sweetness that you like, it’s time to re-bottle the kombucha into a sealed container without the SCOBY. The sealed container preserves the fizz.
If you want to flavor the kombucha, you can add in your flavorings now. This is where it gets fun!
- Strawberry & Mint
- Ginger & Mango
- Or, make your initial brew with a flavored tea, like hibiscus
- Phase 2: 1-3 days. During this phase, you’re letting your kombucha fizz up and your flavorings meld. After 1-3 days, keep it in the fridge and enjoy it within 30 days.
When I brew kombucha at home, I use this recipe from theKitchn.
How much do I need to drink for gut health benefits?
Probiotics are known to help facilitate digestion, lose weight, improve mood, and lower inflammation.
The rule of thumb for probiotics is to aim to have two different sources of probiotics two times per day. It’s hard to know exactly how many colonies of probiotics you’re getting in each serving, but we know that ½ cup of kombucha per day is probably safe for most people.
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