The Many Benefits of Drinking Kombucha
Posted by Grange Co-op on 14th Mar 2023
Even if you’ve never tried it, you’ve probably heard of kombucha by now. The drink has become very popular in recent years, showing up in every place from the grocery store to gas stations. Kombucha might seem like the latest trendy drink, but it’s a lot more than that.
What Is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented drink made with different types of teas. Oolong, black tea, and green tea each contribute to the health benefits of kombucha. Kombucha also contains some sugar and a mixture of bacteria and yeast which is called the SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) also called the mother.
The Scoby consumes the sugar and converts it to alcohol. Next, bacteria convert alcohol into organic acids. These processes cause the yeast and bacteria to multiply, causing fermentation. The Scoby gets the nickname "mother" from the babies it generates on top of the drink. These babies can be peeled off once they reach the appropriate thickness to create new scobies. Peeling off these layers allows you to make multiple batches of kombucha at one time.
What Is Hard Kombucha?
Regular kombucha produces very little alcohol during fermentation. Hard kombucha differs in that the fermentation process goes longer and produces a drink with more alcohol by volume (ABV). While hard kombucha isn't considered a health drink, it is tasty and healthier than other types of alcoholic beverages.
What Are the Known Benefits of Kombucha?
The teas used to make kombucha bring their own benefits to the drink. For example, green tea has a long list of reported benefits including:
- Relief from digestive symptoms
- Aids in weight loss
- Possible protection against the effects of heart disease and cancer
Oolong, another popular tea used in kombucha, has been shown to help improve cognitive thinking and dental health and also lowers blood sugar.
While all teas aren’t used in kombucha, each tea that is used brings some of its unique benefits to the drink. But the bacteria produced by the scoby and the fermentation process are the main reason that drinking kombucha is so good for you.
Like all fermented foods, kombucha contains antioxidants and probiotics that support gut health and boost immunity. Their properties may help prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, allergies, diabetes, and more. That’s a lot of benefits from a delicious beverage you will enjoy drinking for its unique taste!
Hard kombucha has similar health benefits as the non-hard version with a few added benefits for some users. It makes a great addition to cocktails, works well with an extensive list of flavors, and is vegan, keto-friendly, and gluten-free. One difference is that hard kombucha contains fewer probiotics due to its alcohol content.
How Does Kombucha Taste?
Kombucha tastes a bit like sparkling apple cider, but it is also sour and a little bitter. The plethora of flavors adds to the taste giving it a fruity, floral, spicy, or herbal tone. Some of the most popular flavors are apple ginger, lemon-lime, blackberry, and grapefruit.
The taste and sugar content of kombucha depends on the brand and the specific flavor. If you’re following a strict diet, it’s important to check the label before you buy. You might also want to try a range of flavors before deciding on your favorites. Once you determine what you like, you may want to try your hand at making kombucha at home.
What Do I Need to Make Kombucha?
- Start With a Plan
Kombucha has a long history and an extensive offering of flavors and recipes. A great way to get started making your own healthy drink is by learning more about your options.
The Big Book of Kombucha covers the history of the drink and includes more than 400 recipes and 268 unique flavor combinations. Use the step-by-step guide to learn everything you need to brew your own fermented tea at home.
- Gather the Ingredients
You may want to buy a starter kit to make your first batch.
This kit comes with the scoby, sugar, tea, thermometer, and one glass Mason jar. Additional materials you will need include:
- A 1-gallon glass jar
- Unbleached cotton cloth
- Large rubber bands
- Ingredients for flavor
Some people brew kombucha without adding flavor, but most add at least some fruit for a sweeter taste and to boost carbonation.
- Start Brewing
The kit includes instructions on activating the scoby. It works with wide-mouth Mason canning jars that are ideal for storage. You can purchase more jars and kombucha brewing lids to make additional batches of brew.
It’s important that you only use good bottles that are made to withstand fermentation. Glass is the best and you should always avoid using ceramic jars. The latter has the potential to contain hazardous compounds such as lead or heavy metals. The containers also need to be air-tight so that carbonation can occur during the second stage of the fermentation.
During the fermentation process, keep the jar at room temperature and out of sunlight. Set it in an area where it won’t get jostled. It needs to be placed in a secure place while it ferments for 7 to 12 days. You will know it’s ready when the taste is sour enough.
- Bottle Your Product
Once your kombucha is ready, bottle it in the appropriate containers such as mason jars. Put the jars in the fridge. Never leave it in heat or in direct sunlight. This will cause the fermentation process to continue, and the containers could potentially blow up.
Your homemade drink will last for up to three months in the fridge. But the flavor will begin to fade after a month or two. If you haven’t finished it after three months or sooner or if it has visible mold or is cloudy, throw it out. You might want to try a different flavor the next time you brew a new batch.
Enjoy the Benefits of Kombucha With Products From Grange Co-op
Grange Co-op has a wide range of products to help support an active and healthy lifestyle. Our book on brewing kombucha is just one way to start eating and drinking healthier. Check out our books on preserving, growing fresh vegetables, using honey to heal, and more. Contact us with any questions. Our customer service folks are always happy to help.