Looking for a fun and refreshing beverage that doesn’t require you to show I.D.? Are you a tea drinker? Do you like slightly sparkling and fizzy beverages?
You should try Kombucha! It’s hydrating, satisfying, and has numerous health benefits. So let’s get into the details!
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is simply a fermented tea beverage. (It is sometimes called ‘Booch and also goes by a variety of names that hint at its ancient ancestral beginnings). No matter the name, each contains just four main ingredients: tea, sugar, yeast and bacteria.
How is it made?
If you haven’t tried it before, don’t be scared by its ingredients or how its made. Different cultures and religions have been fermenting beverages for over 2000 years. (The process is fairly similar to making beer or wine).
A black or green tea is typically used as the base liquid and the remaining ingredients are added to the mixture. The yeast and bacteria work together (fueled by sugar) to cause fermentation. As the sugar in the mixture is consumed, it is broken down into carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. The gas creates the slightly bubbly effervescence found in the tea. The alcohol byproduct is very low (lower than 0.5%) so its not a federally regulated beverage in the US.
You may have heard the term “SCOBY” with regard to Kombucha. This just refers to the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast that is responsible for the fermentation and finished product. Without a SCOBY, the tea is just tea. The ‘culture’ is what makes it Kombucha. Its responsible for the health benefits and bubbles in this tasty beverage.
Why should I drink it?
- Fermentation! All that fermentation and sugar break down produces antioxidants, which are great for our body. Antioxidants can help clear our skin, aid in better digestion, and remove free radicals from our bodies.
- Kombucha made with green tea has been reported to have similar effects as drinking regular green tea. Both regular and fermented green tea have been shown to improve blood work. Studies recently found it can improve cholesterol levels and help stabilize blood sugar.
- Kombucha is a rich source of probiotics. Probiotics provide your gut with healthy bacteria. This can help decrease inflammation and aid in digestion.
- These teas can give your immune system a boost! Most varieties of Kombucha contain loads of Vitamin C (among other nutrients) which can help prevent colds or illness all year round. It’s my go-to before a long flight or being on a crowded train. (The train to NYC from Boston is about 4 hours).
- The acetic acid that is formed during the fermentation process can help kill microorganisms and bacteria, warding off sickness. So anytime you are going to be in a small crowded space (with recycled air) and a lot of people is the perfect time to reach for kombucha. Give your body a little boost to help ward off sickness.
- Healthier happy hour swaps. If you are craving bubbles, but don’t necessarily want alcohol, drink Kombucha. It comes in a variety of amazing flavors (to suit any taste) and the fizzy/slightly effervescent qualities are a great alternative to champagne (and way healthier than soda).
Drinking Kombucha. You can drink them right from the container or try them in a favorite drink recipe! The flavors are really great and drinking Kombucha is something you can ease into. I enjoy it as an afternoon beverage when I need a refreshing drink and I usually have a glass while cooking dinner.
(One quick tip, NEVER shake a bottle of Kombucha! Its fermented and fizzy, so the contents are under pressure and if you shake it, it could explode or spray everywhere.)
My Favorites: Clickable pictures below!
- GT’s Enlightened Kombucha is a great place to start for someone new to Fermented Tea (their Synergy flavor has a lemon, raspberry and ginger flavor combination).
- If you like a bolder taste and something that will surely wake up your taste buds, Health-Ade Kombucha (particularly their Jalapeno Kiwi Cucumber flavor) is another great one to try. They have other flavors which are also delicious, that may be better options for a Kombucha newcomer.
- Finally, I recently discovered Humm Kombucha. I highly recommend their strawberry lemonade flavor, as it’s my go-to in the warmer months!
You can find Kombucha almost anywhere. In New England, we have it at the local grocery stores, Whole Foods, Target and on Amazon. So next time you are out shopping and you see it, grab a bottle and give it a try!
As always, leave a comment below! Let me know if you try it and what you think. If you have a great flavor you recommend, or if you make your own Kombucha at home, I’d love to hear about that too!