Kombucha is a fungus. Yes that is what the word in the oriental countries means.
Here is the name in a few of the countries
- Chinese is chájūn
- Japanese is kōcha-kinoko
- Korean is hongchabeoseotcha
- Vietnamese is giam tra
- Russian is chaynyy grib
Translated literally it means tea fungus or tea mushroom.
What is Kombucha in biological and chemical terms
A Kombucha culture is a culture of bacteria and yeast. There is a similarity with the “mother” in apple cider vinegar.
It can contain one or more yeasts and one or more bacteria.
In China the microbial culture that produces the Kombucha is also called “fermentation mother”
Chemically it is sucrose that is converted in fructose and glucose and these convert into glucomic acid and acetic acid. It also contains enzymes, amino acids and a variety of organic acids.
No Kombucha is the same because it depends on how long it is fermented.
Kombucha also contains alcohol. Usually less than 1% but it can increase with more fermentation time.
History of Kombucha
The history is not well known, but it was consumed in Russia in the early 1900’s and after that found it way into western Europe.
Some website claim that it was already known in ancient China, but I could not find any real proof of that.
Why do we drink Kombucha
The health facts of fermented foods are well known. It is very healthy for your gut and it is my opinion that a healthy gut is the basic to keep our immune system up.
Kombucha is a fermented drink and is therefore very healthy. How it is compared to fermented food I don’t know, but it certainly has many health benefits.
Health benefits of Kombucha
Although there is no scientifically proof of the health benefits of Kombucha it is my opinion that all fermented foods are having health benefits and the fermentation in this drink should also have the same health benefits and boost your immune system.
The claims are that drinking Kombucha is healthy for:
- Detoxification of the body
- Joint care
- Gut health
- Immune system booster
Where to buy Kombucha
You probably can buy some Kombucha in your local store and if not than your local health store should have it. Prices are a little on the high side, but it is worth drinking it for all the health benefits.
Make you own Kombucha at home
Many people promote to make your own Kombucha at home and I agree that it would be the best and most certainly cheaper way to go in the long run.
I have however some things to say about home making of Kombucha.
I have years of experience in the food business by owning my own restaurant and would like to warn about a few thing that might turn your home made Kombucha in something not so healthy and maybe even potential very unhealthy.
Hygiene is key to produce and fermented food and Kombucha is no exception to that rule.
Commercial made Kombucha is made under very strict and controlled circumstances.
At home you have to try to mimic those circumstances and some people underestimate that.
There are a few things you need to start your home made Kombucha and although you can buy them separately and make a perfect Kombucha. I prefer and advice on buying a Kombucha kit.
These kits come with all you need to start your first batch including the starter culture called a Scoby.
As you can see the Kombucha kit contains everything you need including:
- 1 gallon glass brew jar
- 100% organic culture (Scoby)
- PH test strips
- Temperature gauge
- Starter tea
- Organic cane sugar
- Cotton cover
- Rubber band
The Scoby is the main ingredient and this contains all the biological ingredients to start the fermenting.
This starter culture can be used to start a new culture over and over again if done right.
The best book for making Kombucha at home
The second time you would like to make Kombucha you need some help from one to the best books available on how to make Kombucha at home.
Flavoring your Kombucha
After you Kombucha is ready and you have removed the Scoby you can flavor your Kombucha anyway you like.
Easiest and most healthy is to start with fresh organic fruit.
Use between 10-30% fruit to start with and find your preferred taste
If you use juices start with 10-20% juice and find your preferred taste.
Flavoring with herbs is a little more challenging. The strength of the used herbs will most of the time determine how the taste will be. Trial and error is the key here. Start slow.
Fruits to start out with
- Pumpkin spice
Or any combination you can think of.
Most people like the Grolsch type bottles that have the flip top cap on it.
This makes it very easy to let the pressure of by opening it slowly
Storing your Kombucha
Best is not to store you Kombucha at room temperature over two weeks.
There could be more carbonation build up and it can be higher if there is more sugar used.
Let the bottle once in a while lose pressure by opening it slowly.
I tried to tell you a lot about Kombucha in general and some things on how to brew it save at home. Let me know of your experience with Kombucha.