Instant Expert: Everything You Need to Know about Kombucha
Whether you've heard of kombucha or not, this fermented fizzy drink has been kickin' around for a long time — we're talking 2,000 years long. Over the last few years, kombucha has gained some serious momentum on North American soil, although Eastern cultures have been embracing it for its long list of health benefits for years. Packed with enzymes and probiotics that are essential to gastrointestinal health, if you're looking to give your immune system a bit of a boost, an au naturale elixir like kombucha isn't a bad bet.
What is it?: Kombucha is a fermented tea drink made with sweetened tea and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, or scoby, (we promise it's really not as scary is it sounds — yeast is of course key for making bread and beer, while cheese and yogurt have bacteria to thank for their tasty goodness).
What does it taste like?: How long the kombucha is allowed to ferment will undoubtedly have an effect on the flavor. A longer fermentation period will yield a stronger more vinegary and yeasty flavor, while only a few days of fermenting will give you a more mild, sweeter taste. When buying a bottle at the store, you're likely come across the former, but by making it at home you're able to control the taste — and save a few bucks, store-bought this stuff can be super expensive. Brewed at home, you can also jazz up your kombucha with fruit and herbs if you're not a fan of taking your fizzy fermented beverage straight up.
Why you should try it: We'll be totally honest, you're probably not going to start downing kombucha simply for its taste. But like fermented foods, the fizzy beverage is packed with vitamins, antioxidants and acids (most notably glucaric acid) which may improve digestion, as well as help prevent cancer and degenerative diseases.
How to make it at home: If you're just getting started, you can nab a starter kit online from places like The Kombucha Shop or Brooklyn Kombucha. If you're lucky enough to know someone who already makes their own kombucha, you can see if you can obtain a scoby from them, as well as some already made brew. Ready to get started? Check out this quick how-to from Brooklyn Kombucha:
Want to take your kombucha to the next level? Give these ideas a try:
- Bottling Recipes via The Kombucha Shop (Raspberry Ginger Fizz and Strawberry Peach Punch? We're so there.)
- Ginger Kombucha Cocktails via Love and Lemons
- Kombucha Moscow Mules via Cookie + Kate
- Kombucha Cocktail via Camille Styles