Let’s start our mini-guide by explaining what Kombucha is. It is a “living drink” based on tea, slightly sparkling, low in sugar, and rich in beneficial properties obtained from the fermentation of sweetened tea through SCOBY, a particular culture of our friendly bacteria yeasts. It is counted among our body’s allied foods as a functional drink thanks to its many benefits. In this article, we will give you a complete guide about kombucha is good for you.
In fact, Kombucha is rich in bacteria capable of strengthening our intestinal flora, antibacterial, antioxidant, energizing, purifying, and even claiming that it improves mood. Be careful not to confuse it with Kombucha, though. Many make the mistake of confusing kombucha with Kombucha, a seaweed called Konbu – which is often used as tea or cooking. In fact, many use the term “kombucha” or “kombucha mushroom” or “tea mushroom” incorrectly.
IS KOMBUCHA GOOD FOR YOU: TEA-BASED DRINK
Also known as Kombucha Tea or Fermented Tea, Kombucha is obtained from the fermentation of sweetened tea – regardless of the type: it can, in fact, be prepared with green tea, black tea, white tea, and even with a mate or in its kombucha variant of coffee – through a culture of yeast and bacteria called SCOBY, which stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast.
The fermentation process has existed for as long as there has been life on earth. The same process that the ecosystem in which we live uses to “digest” – transform – complex organic matter into single molecules. To understand how much-fermented foods and drinks such as Kombucha are useful to our body, think of millions of microorganisms that carry out the tiring task of digesting in our place, breaking complex chemical bonds between molecules into simple bonds, and releasing vitamins. Minerals and other nutrients.
WHAT DOES KOMBUCHA TASTE LIKE?
One of the aspects that most intrigues people who approach this world is certainly the taste of kombucha. An important premise is that although it is a fermented tea, it does not taste like tea, or it is not the predominant flavour. We always like to watch the meme of the girl trying kombucha for the first time and think about the expressions our friends and customers make… she beats everyone, though! Kombucha has a sparkling, slightly sour, but never unpleasant flavour. In the not too flavoured variants, they recall apple cider, some even prosecco and champagne. The flavour of Kombucha changes a lot depending on the days of fermentation, the type of tea used, and the flavourings.
HISTORY: IS KOMBUCHA GOOD FOR YOU
When you hear about Kombucha, it may seem to most people that it is a new super genuine drink that has appeared who knows how and from who knows where. It is not so. Kombucha has a millenary, somewhat mysterious history made up of myths and stories that are intertwined and do not definitively clarify where and when the first sip was taken. We have collected some of the best-known testimonies to shed some light on the history and origins of Kombucha Tea.
The story of the emperor Qin Chi Huangdi
Qin Chi Huangdi was the first emperor of unified China from 247 to 221 BC. During his old age, Qin Chi began to be obsessed with the thought of immortality to the point of relying on an alchemist who prepared a drink for him, called the “elixir of life”: the kombucha. After several years of passion for Kombucha, Qin Chi died after ingesting mercury pills, hoping that they would make him immortal.
The myth of Dr Kombu and the Japanese emperor
It is said that during the fifth century BC, a Korean doctor named Kombu-ha-Chimu-kami-ki-mu, better known as Dr Kombu, was called by the near-death Japanese emperor to be healed. Dr Kombu prepared an elixir for the emperor, who suddenly recovered. The incredible power of tea – in Chinese “cha” – by Dr Hence Kombu-Cha.
The portentous drink of the Japanese Samurai
It is said that Kombucha was used for the first time during the tenth century BC by Japanese Samurai and that they drank it before any battle or fight as it was able to make them stronger and more cunning.
SCOBY: IS KOMBUCHA GOOD FOR YOU
One of the most widespread inaccuracies is related to the kombucha mushroom. Many confuse SCOBY – symbiotic cultures of bacteria and yeast – with a mushroom that lives in kombucha and makes it the drink. Let’s clarify it once and for all, SCOBY is not a fungus, but as the acronym itself says, a culture of bacteria and yeasts that live symbiotically with each other. The story – what some insist on calling miraculous fungus kombucha – looks like a gelatinous disc that floats on the liquid’s surface and is fed by sugar added to tea and tannins from the tea leaves naturally contain.
It is a set of live micro-organisms that are the real protagonists of the transformation of sweetened tea into Kombucha. Therefore, SCOBY is the most important ingredient – if it can be defined as such – in the preparation of Kombucha.
IS KOMBUCHA GOOD FOR YOU: BENEFITS AND PROPERTIES
By reading this mini-guide, you will have by now very clear that there are really many benefits and properties of Kombucha and that this fermented drink is a real ally of our body. In this paragraph of our guide, we want to deepen the properties and benefits of kombucha.
In a recent interview on Wired with Professor Cavalieri, professor of microbiology at the University of Florence, it emerged that the studies on this drink, although not yet many, reveal a series of properties of kombucha and scientifically proven benefits.
The three main properties of kombucha are:
- antioxidant, linked to substances contained in tea, such as polyphenols
- antibacterial, thanks to the presence of bacteria that fight and protect the drink from external pathogens
In the interview, Dr Cavalieri points out that we are certainly not talking about a drug – and this is a concept that we too want to highlight – but the scientific evidence is robust enough to say that its effects exist.
- It helps the liver and gastrointestinal tract in their daily work.
- It strengthens the immune system.
- Excellent for purifying the body and detoxifying the liver
- It inhibits the advancement of cancer cells.
- Ideal against cardiovascular problems
In addition to the benefits of kombucha already mentioned and proven by scientific studies, hundreds of articles list other drink virtues.
- Fights gastric reflux
- Excellent against Acne
- Natural anxiolytic
- Good for people living with colitis
It improves mood and is recommended for those with depression.
- Helps deflate
- Fights hangover
- Ideal against headaches
- Great for those with hypertension
- Helping for the ‘ low blood sugar for people living with diabetes
- Improve digestion
- Ally of all women during PMS
- Helps against rheumatism
CONTRAINDICATIONS OF KOMBUCHA AND FALSE MYTHS
On the contraindications of Kombucha, the risks, and harmful effects on the net, some articles do not mention any scientific sources and often contradict each other. Recently, for example, some have appeared on the toxicity of kombucha and various dangers. We resumed Dr Cavalieri’s intervention in Wired of June 2018 to dispel some myths about the danger of kombucha tea and its contraindications.
In his opinion, these studies are not sufficient to demonstrate a specific danger because we are talking about side effects that can have a series of contributing causes and are not necessarily related to kombucha’s consumption. Dr Duccio Cavalieri, professor of microbiology at the University of Florence – Interview with Wired
KOMBUCHA AND SUGAR
Many – and among these also quite well-known newspapers – argue that the amount of sugar in kombucha is too high and therefore harmful to our health. This statement is decidedly inaccurate. Kombucha indeed contains sugar, but in small quantities (for example, our kombucha contains only 4 gr per 100 ml of product).
It is also possible to further break down the amount of sugar in kombucha, letting it ferment longer. The bacteria will consume the sugar during fermentation, turning it into acetic acid.
KOMBUCHA AND ALCOHOL
Another inaccurate statement about this drink is related to the relationship between kombucha and alcohol. This fermented tea is, in fact, a non-alcoholic drink: it contains less than 1.2% alcohol. It is, therefore, a minimum quantity that has no side effects on our body.
KOMBUCHA SIDE EFFECTS
To date, no side effects appear to exist in kombucha. However, since it is often a drink fermented at home, it is always good to follow all good hygiene and storage practices to produce a product with high-quality standards and, above all, not dangerous for our health just as you would for the home preparation of any recipe or food.
PREPARATION OF KOMBUCHA AND RECIPE
The mini-guide on Kombucha Tea finally comes to talk about the preparation of Kombucha and the recipe to prepare one at home without particular problems. So we wanted to respond to the many people who write to us with questions like “ how is kombucha prepared? “,“ How is it preserved? “Or even” how to grow kombucha ” Kombucha brewers define the production of kombucha BATCH. From now on, you will often find this term.
For the preparation of our kombucha, it is always important to use only high-quality ingredients such as:
- Leaf tea
- Brown sugar crystals
- Quality SCOBY, alive and well active
- Kombucha Starter – or kombucha from another fermentation
- Spices and botanicals for flavouring
MEASUREMENT OF INGREDIENTS
For a correct production of Kombucha, it is essential to measure the ingredients well at each Batch (“production batch”).
- 8/10 gr of tea leaves per litre of water
- 80/100 grams of sugar per litre of water
- 1 SCOBY of about 100gr per litre of water
- 50/100 ml of kombucha starter per litre
- Spices, nuts, or herbs to flavour it when needed
WE HEAT THE WATER
First of all, for our products, we bring the water to a boil. In this way, we break down the bacterial load, and we are ready to infuse our ingredients.
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WE INFUSE THE TEA
Depending on the type of kombucha we are preparing, the variety of tea changes. We use black teas from Nepal, Chinese green teas, and Oolong teas from China. In addition to teas, we use spices and botanicals to flavour our kombuchas. Among these, yerba mate, rosebuds, dehydrated ginger, moringa, and many other herbs and spices lend themselves perfectly to kombucha’s flavouring.
Each tea and ingredient has its own infusion temperature suitable for extracting the best flavour and tannins from it. Generally, to those who ask us how to prepare quality kombucha, we suggest sticking to this simple scheme.
- Black tea leaves: 8 minutes of infusion
- Green Tea Leaves: 5 minutes of infusion
- Spices, herbs, and herbal teas: 10/15 minutes of infusion
The most passionate about tea will certainly have noticed that the leaves’ infusion (both green and black tea) is greater than the average infusion times of good quality leaf tea.
WE SUGAR THE INFUSION
We filter the liquid by removing the tea leaves, and any spices or herbs used to flavour the liquid. Then add the brown sugar according to the predetermined quantities and mix until it dissolves completely.
LET’S ADD THE STARTER
Let the obtained liquid cool until it reaches a temperature that is below 30 °. We then add the right amount of this starter. The starter is one of the basic ingredients for the preparation of kombucha. In fact, it is a remnant of the previous batch of kombucha that will help the new product transform into tea and lower the pH of the solution by activating yeasts and bacteria and protecting the drink from pathogenic bacteria.
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IT’S TIME FOR THE SCOBY
Finally, the time has come when we immerse our SCOBYs in the solution obtained so far. SCOBY – which stands for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast, or symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts – is the preparation’s real protagonist.
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As the name implies, it is a culture of bacteria and yeasts that live in symbiosis with each other, in perfect balance. SCOBYs are gelatinous and give life to the fermentation that will transform the sweetened tea.
Once our container is covered with a light and breathable cotton cloth, fermentation begins. The process makes this drink famous, and its many properties are due. External conditions heavily influence the kombucha fermentation process. For example, fermentation takes place at room temperature, and the temperature difference implies more or less short times for fermentation. Usually, this transformation process lasts from 7 to 15 days. But in summer it can even drop to just 5 days.
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WE BOTTLE AND CLOSE THE BOTTLES
At the end of the first fermentation, when we have reached a balanced taste. We can eliminate the SCOBYs and rest in the SCOBY hotels or use them immediately for a new production. We filter the obtained and bottles in previously sterilized bottles. So we suggest using bottles with a mechanical cap. Now you can consume it or keep it in the fridge or start the second fermentation.
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SECOND FERMENTATION OF KOMBUCHA
It can be subjected to a second fermentation by leaving the bottles sealed at room temperature for a period between 12 and 48 hours, depending on the temperatures. During this time, bacteria and yeast will feed on the hermetically sealed bottles’ sugar, consume oxygen, and produce carbon dioxide.
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This will make the sparkling. At this stage, we can also add juices, extracts, chopped fruit, and spices to flavour our batch further. After the second fermentation at room temperature, it is time to put our bottles in the fridge.
SAFETY FIRST OF ALL
It is super important to remember that as the second fermentation generates co2, the bottles’ pressure will increase.
THEREFORE BE VERY CAREFUL! They could explode.
To be on the safe side, here are three things to do:
- uses bottles with mechanical closure that allow to “vent” the co2 when the pressure is excessive
- every day, at least a couple of times, open the bottle for a few seconds, to assess the pressure inside. If you see a lot of foam, it’s time to put them in the fridge.
- For safety, place a couple of rags or a tablecloth on the bottles. If they exploded, they would prevent the pieces of glass from splashing who knows where.