Kombucha is becoming hugely popular and for good reason! This tangy tea is a rich source of live probiotic cultures, enzymes and acids that help keep the gut in balance.
Bottles of Kombucha are available at health food stores; grocery stores and even some convenience stores now stock Kombucha in their coolers.
You may want to homebrew your Kombucha. It is surprisingly easy and cost effective. Making your own brew also allows for absolute control of the ingredients, particularly any additional sugars and sweeteners. The SCOBY is usually best when passed on from a friend or a trusted vendor, however some brands sell “Kombucha starter kits” at health food stores, which includes the SCOBY.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a natural beverage made from fermenting tea that has been sweetened with organic cane sugar. More specifically, the sweet tea has been fermented with a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria & yeast) that transforms the mixture into a tasty and nutritious drink.
The SCOBY, also referred to as “the mother” or “mushroom”, is a colony of microbes that ferments the sweetened tea into a rich source of probiotics.
The fermentation process takes 7-14 days, depending on the strength of the SCOBY and the size of the batch. Although the recipe calls for a large amount of organic cane sugar, the SCOBY consumes over 90% of the sugar during fermentation, resulting in a low-calorie, low-sugar effervescent beverage.
The flavour depends on the brand and the homebrew method. The classic recipe is typically prepared with green tea or black tea and organic cane sugar and the taste of the final product is a little on the bitter side, similar to that of beer.
The first batch of Kombucha can also be flavored by adding fresh juices, such as ginger or lemon, or herbs like jasmine in a secondary fermentation process.
Kombucha in the stores is not the same as a homebrew. It is essential to read the label, because it is during the secondary ferment when the additional sugars, syrups and sweeteners are added which can result in a high-sugar and high-carb beverage.
Fermented foods contain healthy flora or probiotics that are responsible for nutrient absorption and a balanced gut. Kombucha contains antioxidants, B-vitamins, probiotics and enzymes that provide energy, aid with digestion and boost the immune system.
Check nutrition labels before you buy!
As mentioned, flavored Kombucha has gone through a secondary ferment with the addition of juice, sweetener or herbs. Many of the bottled Kombucha flavors contain extremely high amounts of sugar in the final product, which renders a not so healthy beverage. Some bottles of Kombucha contain upwards of 30g of sugar!
Flavors that are naturally low in sugar such as ginger, turmeric, lemon, lime, blueberry, jasmine and mint tend to be the healthiest options to purchase in bottles and when preparing your homebrew for a secondary ferment.
With close attention paid to the sugar content in the final product, Kombucha makes for a delicious and healthful beverage that is chock full of nutrients and probiotics.
The next time you crave a fizzy soda, try Kombucha!
The key ingredient in the preparation of Kombucha is a SCOBY. These are typically available at health food stores, inside a “Kombucha start kit”.
If possible, get a SCOBY from a friend; these have been passed on from another friend or family member, with love and care.
Even bacteria need a little love!
Happy brewing! To try Jenny’s Green Tea Kombucha Recipe – click here.