Kombucha, the fermented tea drink is the latest entrant into the category of special beverages that are believed to have miraculous health promoting and healing properties, including burning calories, revitalizing the gut, and cleansing the body from inside.
The fact that many nutrition enthusiasts and health specialists are now endorsing this drink only adds to the folklore of Kombucha.
There has been a surge in the demand for Kombucha in the recent times, and it appears that the demand is only going to grow further. If you are one of those who is wondering about whether to choose this exotic health drink and make it part of your everyday nutrition, it is necessary to first understand the complete story of Kombucha and then you can make a more informed choice.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is essentially a type of green tea which is an infinity more healthy for you compared to soda since soda is not healthy at all. The beverage is a natural drink, but sometimes a few artificial ingredients are added in it to enhance its taste and boost its health properties. The taste of Kombucha is sour, which can be somewhat compared to the taste of vinegar. Its color is brownish, but it can have shade variations according to the specific ingredients added to it.
There is not much hard evidence available about the origins of Kombucha, which only increases its mystical status. However, some researchers believe that this beverage originated around 220 BCE in Manchuria. Historical records show that Kombucha was a part of traditional drinks in some parts of Russia, Manchuria, and Eastern Europe.
Throughout its known history, this health beverage has been traditionally brewed at home. But in recent years, with the steep rise in the demand for Kombucha, some corporations have set-up dedicated manufacturing units to produce Kombucha on a mass scale and supply it across the global markets.
The traditional methods of preparing Kombucha and its recipes have remained universally the same throughout its history, barring a few minor changes from time to time. As it is a type of a green tea, the vital ingredients are organic and are usually easily available locally.
The first stage in the preparation of Kombucha is similar to that of making a sugary tea. The tea is made by adding sugar and black or green tea. In the second stage, the sugary tea is fermented with the help of a special ingredient known as ‘SCOBY’, which is an acronym for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.”
The texture of SCOBY is similar to that of a jelly-like pancake. It is slippery, has little weight and is also rubbery. During the fermentation process, the combination of yeast and bacteria results in the creation of SCOBY, a form of cellulose at the top of the tea.
This upper layer of SCOBY blocks air from entering the tea and creates a completely alienated environment inside the tea. All these factors boost the fermentation process and perform a vital role in creating the unique sour and sweet taste of Kombucha.
The fermentation process can extend from seven to 14 days, depending on a number of factors. The external weather in the region has a key impact on the fermentation process. Hot and humid weather reduces the time required for the growth of SCOBY. The SCOBY is generally grown in two to four weeks.
It is paramount to remember that the taste of the beverage becomes less sugary when it is fermented for a longer duration. It is easy to prepare Kombucha at home if one follows the recipe correctly.