What Is Kombucha?

Simply put, kombucha is a fermented sweet tea that is traditionally brewed with black tea and cane sugar.

What is Kombucha?

What Exactly is Kombucha?

Kombucha is fermented sweet tea. Although it has origins dating back over 2,000 years, kombucha has made a massive resurgence in popularity. This is due to people seeking a healthier lifestyle and simply discovering how good it tastes. On the health side, there is no shortage of health benefit claims, and they range from gut health, weight loss, blood sugar regularity, heart health, and overall immune system health. This list is far from complete. For more details, see our post on the health benefits of kombucha.

Beyond health claims, kombucha is pleasantly effervescent, slightly tart, and sweet, and when making it yourself, the flavoring options are endless. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out our kombucha flavoring recipes section. Two of my favorites are the blueberry vanilla kombucha and strawberry ginger kombucha. While making it at home is easy, alternatively, kombucha is widely available at grocery stores and restaurants. 

Close up of Jun Kombucha

How Kombucha is Made

Making kombucha is as easy as making sweet tea and adding a kombucha SCOBY. From there, we let it ferment for a while, and during fermentation, the sweet tea is transformed into the bright, flavorful, and probiotic drink we love!

The classic kombucha recipe calls for black tea and cane sugar, both of which provide essential nutrients for the microbes to thrive during fermentation. The only other ingredients required to make kombucha are water and the SCOBY (kombucha starter culture). To learn more, visit our post that answers what is a scoby?

Kombucha Ingredients

Kombucha Making Process

To start, tea gets steeped in hot water to make the base, where sugar is then dissolved. Once the sugar and tea mixture is thoroughly cooled, the scoby is added before finally setting aside the brew to ferment. The next phase, the primary fermentation, is about environmental monitoring. Temperature, pH, and oxygen are all essential components of a successful brew, so it is up to the brewer to ensure these remain within the parameters.

During the fermentation, yeast consumes sugar, converting it to alcohol and carbon dioxide. Bacteria then convert alcohol into acetic acid and sugar into lactic acid—this natural progression results in an evolution of flavor that begins sweet and ends tart. This sweet-to-tart progression kombucha allows the brewer to decide when the taste is just right for them! Once the desired balance of sweet and tart is reached, the kombucha is ready to be bottled and flavored. It’s here where you can get creative with flavors; your only real limit is your imagination. 

Make your own Kombucha

If you’re looking to get creative and make your own kombucha flavors or are tired of spending money on store-bought kombucha, give making it at home a try! See the links below for ingredients and supplies to get started!

Check out our post on how to make kombucha tea or visit our Comprehensive Guide to Brewing Kombucha.

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