Kombucha is an ancient fermented drink crafted by mixing tea, sugar and bacteria/yeast (SCOBY) together in order to create vinegar and B vitamins – transforming into a fizzy, slightly sour fermented beverage that many have used as an aid for everything from digestion, skin issues and hangovers to digestion issues and digestive aid. Recently it’s become trendy among both grocery store shelves and TikTok influencers as people seem more aware of its benefits; yet many remain unclear if its health benefits can actually help them or not? Megan McLarney from Nebraska Medicine provides some answers about this trending health drink in this article.
While kombucha can be enjoyed plain, its versatility extends far beyond this simple drink. By adding fruits, juices, herbs and spices – and especially sugary additives such as fruits or juice – for another fermentation in the bottle you can enhance its flavor with added depth of taste as well as some fizz depending on their sugar content – to increase complexity of flavors while also adding fizz. Once completed it can be stored in the fridge and enjoyed alone or mixed into salad dressings and sauces!
To create kombucha, all that’s necessary is a wide-mouth jar with your SCOBY, tea and sugar. Black, green or oolong tea has the highest concentration of tannins needed to feed the primary fermentation stage of kombucha production; other kinds may work for secondary fermentation as well, although for best results try these three varieties first; herbal teas don’t provide enough tannins needed by primary fermentation so should not be used directly.
Black and green tea make an excellent base for kombucha as both contain antimicrobial agents that can effectively suppress less desirable bacteria and yeast growth. Furthermore, kombucha contains polyphenols which have been demonstrated to protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation, thus decreasing heart disease risk.
Kombucha takes five to seven days to fully ferment and start taking on its characteristic vinegar taste, so during this period it’s crucial that its temperature remains around room temperature and you avoid opening or closing the jar frequently. Also adding fresh air periodically may help prevent spoilage.
Once your kombucha has finished fermenting, it should be stored in the fridge for another five to seven days before refrigerating to enjoy. Some people enjoy adding extra sweetness by bottling with fruit; however, be wary as this will increase its sugar content in your final product. An alternative would be to reduce the amount of fruit that you’re adding or using natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup for secondary fermentations. You should always test the taste and acidity before drinking your kombucha; if it tastes too tart, add more tea or water or reduce fruit in second fermentations until your final product satisfies you perfectly! The goal is achieving the perfect balance of sweet and tart so that your final product tastes just right for you.