Kombucha is sweetened tea that is naturally fermented by a community of organisms known as a SCOBY (Symbiotic Community of Bacteria and Yeast) over a period of several weeks into a delicious, tangy and fizzy beverage. Most people associate the taste of Kombucha to apple cider vinegar, but with an effervescent twist.
Despite the recent popularity of Kombucha, it is actually an ancient drink with its origins traced back to the Qin Dynasty in China. Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China supposedly consumed Kombucha which was believed to be the elixir of immortality! These days, many people identify the SCOBY as a ‘mushroom’ based on its appearance as a large and flat sponge floating on top of the tea solution.
- AIDS DIGESTION. By action of the bacteria, enzymes and yeasts (acetic acetobacter, lactobacillus saccharomyces), food is broken down into more elemental forms in which minerals and nutrients become easier for our bodies to absorb. Acetic acid and lactic acid, which gives Kombucha its ‘sour’ flavor has antimicrobial properties that helps rid of bad bacteria (candida overgrowth). This helps to regulate our digestive system and maintain good gut health that people report fewer problems like stomach upsets, bloating, diarrhoea, flatulence and constipation.
- DETOXIFICATION. Gluconic & glucuronic acid binds with various toxins in the liver for elimination through the urine, which enables our body to function optimally. Amino acids such as glutamic acid, proline and benzoic acid assist in this process as well by eliminating free radicals which otherwise damage body tissues leading to tumor formation.
- IMMUNE SUPPORT. In the process of fermentation, the brew accumulates an increased levels of B vitamins including Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), and Niacin (B3) compared to its raw ingredients. The breakdown of polyphenols and production of vitamin C from tea leaves provide anti-oxidants that supports the immune system to help fight off free radicals, suppresses cortisol and protects us against inflammatory diseases.
Making Kombucha is simple: we add tea leaves, water and sugar into a fermentation vessel along with a Kombucha culture (SCOBY). It takes about 2 weeks for the brew to ferment. After that, we use real fruits, herbs and botanicals to generate our flavor profiles and allow the brew to mature for several more days. Once the ageing process is complete, the Kombucha is then bottled and is ready to be sent to your doorstep!
For people new to Kombucha, go slow. Start with a half a glass (about 150 ml) and observe how your body feels over the next few hours. You can mix with water if the taste is too strong / pungent if desired. If the body reacts well, you can gradually increase consumption. If distress symptoms appear (e.g. fever, body aches, flare ups), understand that your body is undergoing a detoxification process when long-held toxins are encouraged to leave the body. This may cause some people to initially feel worse before becoming better. If this happens, reduce intake, drink more water, get plenty of rest until the symptoms reduce. As the body recalibrates, ease back into Kombucha slowly.
As a rule of thumb, its better to consume Kombucha in small amounts regularly than in large amounts intermittently. However, there’s really no wrong way to drink Kombucha as long as it makes you feel good. But just like everything else, moderation is key.
Drinking Kombucha first thing in the morning on an empty stomach is the best way of experiencing the effects on the body. However, there is no precise time in which Kombucha must be consumed. It can be taken in the morning for an energy boost during workouts, in the afternoon to combat that office lull or in the evening after dinner as an alternative to sugary desserts.
Kombucha can be kept in the fridge for about 2 months. However, it really never spoils due to its low pH which prevents harmful microorganisms and foreign pathogens from invasion. The brew will continue to ferment at a slower rate in the fridge than when stored at room temperature and becomes more sour over time which may not taste as delicious as it was before. Despite the ageing beverage, it is still safe to drink.
The floating strands and gelatinous substances are the SCOBY and yeasts that has formed inside the bottle due to the live on-going fermentation process. Don’t be discouraged though, it is safe to consume the yeast strands as it contains a high concentration of B vitamins!
In general, if you are already a Kombucha drinker or have been consuming other types of fermented foods such as yoghurt, kefir, or kimchi, then there is no reason why you should give up Kombucha during pregnancy as your gut has adapted to the bacteria introduced by these foods. However if you are new to Kombucha, then pregnancy is probably not be the best time to consume due to a potential healing crisis in which the mother’s symptoms may affect the growth and development of the baby. Despite this, if the nursing mother intends to drink Kombucha, then caution should be practiced by consuming small amounts (not more than 100 ml) at a time.
Technically yes. Yeast consumes the sugars and releases carbon dioxide which gives Kombucha its natural fizz as well as ethanol (the alcoholic compound) as a by-product of fermentation. While some ethanol remains in solution, part of it becomes fuel for the bacteria which converts it to acetic acid. Our Kombucha contains no more than 1% ABV (alcohol by volume) and is considered to be non-inebriating / non-intoxicating / non-dizzying. Moreover, numerous studies have demonstrated that low amounts of alcohol has positive effects on the body such as increasing feelings of well-being and decreasing stress.
We regularly measure the alcohol content of our brews using a hydrometer and refractometer. Note that these readings are just an estimate only as reproducing yeast, dissolved solids and other particulates affects the liquid density which makes it difficult to obtain an accurate value. That said, we have sent samples of our Kombucha to be tested at laboratories and have found the alcohol levels to be much less than the empirical value. Thus the alcohol content of 1% ABV that we published is considered to be very conservative.
Caffeine is a naturally occurring compound found in tea and is an important nutrient for energizing the bacteria and yeast to build new cells. Based on this, it can be deduced that there is less caffeine than the content in the original sweet tea base, though the final amount is difficult to measure. However, studies have shown that caffeine from tea is balanced with L-theanine, an amino acid that provides a calm, focused energy minus the crash and burn that coffee and energy drinks are known for.
We are glad that more people are concern about the sugar in their foods, since it is linked to inflammatory diseases that plague our society.
Sugar is a requirement during the Kombucha brewing process as it provides nutrition to the bacteria and yeast to perform vital functions. Without sugar, there is no Kombucha. We use organic cane sugar because the microorganisms are able to consume it easily. During fermentation, the sugar content of the brew reduces by varying amounts based on time, environment, the amount of starter liquid used and many other factors as the SCOBY converts them to organic acids, vitamins and minerals. Our Kombucha typically contains 2- 3 g of sugar / 100 ml. However, note that the residual sugars has been broken down which have a lower glycemic impact on the body and do not interact that same way as table sugar.
Kombucha can be suitable for diabetics, even though it is made from a sweet tea base. What happens is the SCOBY (a culture of bacteria and yeast) feed off of the sugars and converts them to probiotics, organic acids, antioxidants, vitamins, carbon dioxide and a tiny bit of alcohol as a by-product of fermentation. So what is left is a drink with low sugar content. It is better / safer to consume raw / unflavoured Kombucha rather than the ones where fruits and herbs are added for flavor because of the fruit sugars even though it is left to ferment further.
For diabetic patients wishing to give Kombucha a go, start with a little at first (50 ml), perhaps diluting with water to see how the body feels as well monitoring blood pressure / blood sugars level and other health indicators. If the body reacts well, consumption can gradually be increased. If distress symptoms appear (e.g. fever, body aches, flare ups), reduce consumption for a while before starting back up again.
It should be noted that Kombucha is not a cure for diabetes – other aspects of health such as diet, sleep exercise etc. plays a part as well. But Kombucha is worth considering due to its probiotic and antioxidative benefits that could regulate pancreatic cells and help the body manage insulin / blood sugar levels. Its also definitely a better alternative to sodas or fruit juices.
Kombucha is acidic (with a pH of 3.0 – 3.5) but the live-cultured ferment is considered to have an alkalizing effect on us. The chemistry process in which minerals are made more bioavailable to us is alkaline forming and has an effect similar to lemon juice and apple cider vinegar.
Yes. Kombucha can be drank during a course of antibiotics to minimize the damage and encourage regrowth and diversification of the gut flora. It can be helpful in preventing antibiotic associated diarrhoea.
Kombucha should not be warmed above 43 Celsius as the bacteria and yeast begin to die-off which negates its benefits. This is why our Kombucha is served raw and is not pasturized as cooking / heating Kombucha will destroy the naturally occurring live and active cultures.