Simply put, kombucha is a fermented sweet tea that is traditionally brewed with black tea and cane sugar.
Kombucha is fermented sweet tea. Although it has origins dating back over 2,000 years, kombucha has made a comeback in popularity due to its many claimed health benefits. Among these claimed health benefits are gut health, weight loss, blood sugar regularity, heart health, and overall immune system health.
Beyond its health claims, kombucha is also pleasantly effervescent, slightly tart, slightly sweet, and can be flavored in a wide variety of ways. You can purchase kombucha at grocery stores and many restaurants now or you can also make your own at home!
How Kombucha is Made
Making kombucha is as easy as making sweet tea. Add only a starter culture and a little time, and the sweet tea transforms into a bright, flavorful, probiotic drink!
The classic recipe for kombucha calls for black tea and cane sugar, both of which provide essential nutrients for the microbes to thrive during the fermentation. The only other ingredients required to make kombucha are water and a starter culture.
To start the process, tea gets steeped in hot water to make the base to where sugar is then dissolved. Once the sugar and tea mixture is thoroughly cooled, the starter culture is added before finally setting aside the brew to ferment. The next phase, the fermentation phase, is about environmental monitoring. Temperature, pH and oxygen are all essential components of a successful brew, so it is up to the brewer to make sure these remain within the parameters.
During the fermentation, yeast consume 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 allows the brewer to decide when the taste is just right for them!
If you find yourself spending too much money on store-bought kombucha, give making it at home a try! See links below for ingredients and supplies to get started!
Want more information? Check out our post on how to brew kombucha tea or our Comprehensive Guide to Brewing Kombucha.