Kombucha – is a fermented drink filled with loads of good probiotic bacteria, that can help your digestion, boost immune system and confir many other beneficial health benefits. The popularity of this trendy drink is growing rapidly but it’s quite pricy. Why pay $3 to $4 per bottle of kombucha when you can learn how to make it yourself in the comfort of your home.
Here is the overview of how many different bacterial and fungal genera can be present in your kombucha based on the recent research performed in Ireland. They had 5 different kombucha scobies with appropriate starter teas from different locations: Canada, UK, USA and Ireland. This specific study showed that composition of different scabies can be different but what is more fascinating that bacteria and fungi present in kombucha tea can be quite different from the one’s present in the scoby that was used to ferment the tea. This emphasises the importance of the environment. Lactobacilli were not part of one Canadian and US scoby culture but they were present on day 2 in Canadian kombucha tea and both were present on day 10 at even higher quantity! This also shows that microbial composition will be different at different fermentation stages.
One more great study showed how the actual environment will effect the microbial and fungal composition when using different types of tea, carbon source (sugar or honey), and the sterility of the process (sterile tea vs regular tea that most of us prepare).
- Ruminococcaceae Incertae Sedis
- Komagataeibacter kombuchae
- Candida (was not present in Irish study)
These are some health benefits that were associated with drinking kombucha based on the published scientific articles. Scientists have yet to determine which species in particular or their product are responsible for these properties of kombucha:
- helps treating gastric ulcers
- lowers high cholesterol
- impacts immune response
- liver detoxification
Do you have any doubts whether you should try kombucha?
P.S. One has to be careful though if they have sensitivity to histamine. Most lactobacilli produce histamine which may cause unpleasant side effects. However this condition is extremely rare.
Here is one of my favorite recipes of strawberry basil kombucha.
- Wide Mount Quart-Size (1L) Glass Jar
- Stirring Utensil (Plastic or Wooden )
- Cheese Cloth or Paper Coffee Filter
- Rubber Band (to secure the cheese cloth or coffee filter to the jar)
- Quart Measuring cup
- Grolsch-style bottle for bottling
- 0.7 L Unfluoridated, Unchlorinated Water
- 56 g Organic Cane Sugar
- 2 Organic Green Tea Bags or Loose Tea
- ½ cup Starter Tea or Distilled White Vinegar
- 1 Active Kombucha SCOBY
- ¼ cup Organic Fresh Chopped Strawberries
- 1-2 Organic Basil Leaves
- Mix hot water and sugar in a glass jar. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
- Place the tea or tea bags in the sugar water to steep. Brew the tea for 15 minutes and remove the tea bags. If you are using tealeaves make sure to completely strain the loose tea leaves.
- Cool the mixture to room temperature or slightly lukewarm.
- Add starter tea from a previous batch to the liquid. White vinegar may be substituted for starter tea.
- Add an active kombucha scoby.
- Cover the jar with a cheese cloth, coffee filter or any other tight-woven but breathable towel or and secure with a rubber band.
- Let the mixture sit undisturbed at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for 7-30 days. The longer the kombucha tea ferments, the less sweet and more vinegary it will become. You can taste it throughout the fermentation to find the taste to your liking. I personally like the taste of 7 day old kombucha tea.
- Pour kombucha carefully off the top of the jar for consuming it plain or flavoring. Retain the scoby and enough liquid from the bottom of the jar to use as starter tea for the next batch.
- To flavor your kombucha, in a Grolsch-style bottle (or follow me and reuse the bottle from a store bought kombucha) combine chopped strawberries, basil leaves and fermented kombucha tea from step 8. Make sure to leave about an inch of space at the top of the bottle.
- Tightly seal the bottle and leave it to further ferment at room temperature out of direct sun light for 1-3 days. The longer you ferment the less sweet, more vinegary and more carbonated it will become.
- “Burp” (open the bottle for a second and quickly tighten it back again) the bottle everyday to release the excess pressure! Don’t skip this step!!!
- Chill and enjoy your kombucha!
You may also be interested in checking out my milk kefir recipe.