What is Kombucha
About ten or twelve years ago, I came across a mushroom tea beverage while visiting some friends in California. I had no idea that this beverage was on its way to being known nationally or that it would become one of my favorite drinks ever. I am talking about kombucha. When I was introduced, kombucha was not nearly as available or well known as it is now. I doubt there were very few stores besides whole foods that even sold the drink. Well, it doesn't matter because after I tasted the tangy, sweet, and fizzy combination, I knew I was hooked.
This drink was not new; on the contrary, it has been around since ancient times. According to history, the drink originated in China and then spread throughout the world.
Kombucha is fermented sweet tea. If you don't know about the wonders of fermentation, read about them here. Kombucha contains bacteria, yeast, black tea, sugar, and flavorings. You make a sweet tea and add something called a S.C.O.B.Y; SCOBY stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. The SCOBY looks weird. If you have never seen one, think about any alien blob of gelatinous mass from any alien movie. Yes, that weird. I wish I were able to go back in time and see the first people who created kombucha. What would possess you to drink the liquid after you noticed this blob floating in it? It blows my mind.
With the help of this S.C.O.B.Y, the tea begins to ferment. The bacteria and yeast get together and do their happy dance while feasting on the sweet black tea's sugar. After allowing the tea to sit and ferment for a week or more, you end up with a slightly carbonated, tart, tangy vinegary drink. What is cool about kombucha is that you can lengthen or shorten the brewing time to achieve your desired flavor. For a more vinegary taste, leave the jar to ferment longer. For a sweeter flavor, shorten the brewing time. I tend to allow my kombucha to brew for ten days; I have found that delivers my preferred balance between sweet and tangy. At this point, you can flavor it to your liking and bottle it again in an attempt to increase the carbonation level.
Like other fermented foods, kombucha contains a countless number of probiotics or beneficial organisms for your gut. The proposed health benefits don't stop there. Since kombucha is fermented and brewed from black tea, you get all of those benefits from black tea and fermented food.
- Improve heart health due to flavonoids.
- Lower cholesterol level
- Reduce blood pressure
- Probiotic rich
- Contains cancer-fighting properties known as polyphenols
- Improved alertness and mental clarity due to caffeine and certain amino acids
I am not a doctor, so I cannot back up these statements, but I can say that it tastes great, and it may be the spark that helps you start living a healthy life. I know you were wondering why is the gardening guy talking about kombucha? Because gardening is just the start, the goal is to be healthy to garden for a long time. Not to mention that you can incorporate whatever herbs and fruits you grow in your garden into the second bottling and flavoring process.
Now let's get growing