The Ultimate Guide to Kombucha

The Ultimate Guide to Kombucha

Kombucha is an ancient fermented tea beverage that has its origins in China, nearly 2,000 years ago. It first became popular in Europe in the early 20th century. Sales have risen sharply in recent years due to the purported health benefits of the drink.

What Is the History of Kombucha?

Kombucha is believed to have originated in northeast China in around 220 B.C. It is said to have gotten its name from Dr. Kombu, a Korean doctor who is credited with introducing the drink to Japan. The beverage came to Europe in the earth 20th century when trade routes expanded. It initially gained popularity in Russia and Germany. The popularity of the beverage took a hit during WWII, because of shortages of tea and sugar, but made a resurgence in the 1960s when a Swiss study compared its health benefits to yogurt. It began increasing in popularity as a health drink in the 1990s, due largely to the belief that it helped boost the immune system.

The product continued to enjoy commercial growth in the early 21st century, though health inspectors in some countries, such as the United States and Canada, raised concerns about the product's alcohol content. However, in some markets, the controversy spiked a sales increase for the drink. Kombucha is now considered one of the fastest-growing products in the functional beverage market and is currently being manufactured and sold by large international brands, such as PepsiCo.

What Does Kombucha Taste Like?

Kombucha is a fizzy drink with a sweet and sour flavor. It is often described as tasting like a zingy tea or a mild lemonade, depending on how sour it is. Many people add flavorings that can give it a floral, fruity, herbaceous or spicy flavor profile.

What Is Kombucha Made From?

The base ingredient of this drink is green, black or white tea. Sugar, bacteria and yeast are added to the tea to cause fermentation.

Is Kombucha Alcoholic?

Because kombucha is fermented, there may be a small amount of alcohol. A typical home-brewed variety may contain less than 1% up to 3% alcohol. Commercially-produced products are required to contain 1.2% alcohol or less to avoid being regulated as alcoholic beverages in the United Kingdom. Products sold as "hard kombucha" are intentionally fermented for longer times to produce higher alcoholic content.

How Is Kombucha Made?

Kombucha begins with sugary tea that is fermented with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). As the drink ferments, the SCOBY consumes most of the sugar, resulting in a beverage that is slightly sour, rather than sweet.

The basic process involves brewing sugar-sweetened tea as the base. Starter tea is added to increase the acidity and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. The mixture is then placed in the brewing vessel, and the SCOBY is added.

The beverage is allowed to ferment for seven to 10 days at room temperature. The finished product is ready to bottle once it has reached the desired flavor. Once bottled, the drink must be stored at room temperature for another one to three days to allow it to carbonate. The beverage is refrigerated to slow further fermentation and carbonation and should be consumed within one month. Optional flavoring agents, such as fruit, fruit juice, flavored tea, honey, herbs or spices, can be added during the bottling stage to change the taste.

What Are the Health Benefits?

Many claims have been made about the health benefits of kombucha. Some say it can boost the immune system, lower high blood pressure, aid in weight loss, prevent heart disease and even prevent cancer. Few scientific studies have been done on this product, and there is little scientific evidence to support these claims.

However, kombucha does contain probiotics, which have been found to help with diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome and may help strengthen the immune system. Drinkers may also get the benefits of the polyphenols and antioxidants contained in the tea which can protect against cell damage and heart disease, lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels and aid in fat burning.

The fermentation process produces acetic acid, which is also found in vinegar. Acetic acid may kill harmful microorganisms in the gut. The antibacterial properties of kombucha may be an effective way to combat Candida and other unwanted bacteria and yeasts. Incorporating fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, cultured milk products, kimchi and kombucha into the diet may be an effective way to introduce beneficial microbes into the body's microbiome.

Does Drinking Kombucha Have Any Risks?

The primary risk of consuming kombucha is that it can contain harmful bacteria or mold if not properly prepared. There have been a few reported cases of illnesses, such as liver problems, allergic reactions, nausea and lactic acidosis, that resulted from people drinking improperly prepared homebrews. People who are at higher risk of acidosis due to lung or kidney disease and immunosuppressed people may be at higher risk of suffering adverse effects.

Homebrewed kombucha may contain up to 3% alcohol, and the alcohol content in some commercial preparations may increase as the product sits on store shelves. Pregnant women, people with liver disease or pancreatitis, children and people recovering from substance abuse issues are advised to avoid consumption.

The product is considered safe when properly prepared. Homebrewers should always use glass, plastic or stainless steel containers and maintain proper sanitation of their equipment and hands. Commercially prepared products are required to have labels that accurately reflect the alcohol content and to be prepared in sterile conditions. Because of this, it may be safer to purchase a commercial product than to prepare it at home.

What Is the Benefit of Superfoods Instant Kombucha?

Superfoods Instant Kombucha is a safe and convenient way to enjoy all the benefits of this health drink. Our powdered instant kombucha is mixed with apple cider vinegar and all-natural ingredients to help lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol while killing unwanted gut bacteria without the hassle or risk of homebrewing. Visit us online to place an order or find out more about our products.



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