Fermented foods and beverages are made through controlled microbial growth and conversion of food components through enzymatic action. This means that the fermentation process occurs when microorganisms, such as yeast or bacteria, break down certain food components into other products. For example, glucose can be broken down into organic acids, gases or alcohol. Fermentation is found in plenty of common foods and beverages, such as Kombucha, Kefir, sourdough bread, Greek yogurt, beer and wine.
There are so many benefits of fermentation. Many fermented foods and beverages provide probiotics, live organisms that support better gut health and digestion. Fermented foods are also linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and inflammation.
Kombucha, simply put, is a naturally fermented, fizzy tea that is loaded with a number of health benefits, probiotics, goodness of fruits & fragrances. There is also a dollop of love and not sugar & calories to show how much we truly care.
It is the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast that metabolizes the sugar and tea components to render a naturally carbonated beverage, with a slightly sweet-tart flavor, full of healthy components like B vitamins, organic acids, antioxidants.
Fans of the beverage often refer to it affectionately as “booch” or as it has been called through the ages, “the elixir of life” or “tea of immortality.” The SCOBY is also referred to as a mother. Why? Because, each batch, the mother will create an additional SCOBY called the baby, which can be used to propagate new batches.
As with any fermentation process, sugar is necessary to feed the yeast. Think about yogurt, the yogurt cultures consume the milk sugar (lactose) to produce a sweet-tart milk product teaming with probiotics. The process is similar for kombucha. The sugar feeds the yeast, which creates CO2 & ethanol, then the bacteria consume the ethanol and convert it into healthy acids. Very little sugar remains when it is bottled depending on how long the fermentation process lasts. Moreover, the fermentation process cleaves sucrose (polysaccharide) into fructose and glucose – both of which are utilized by the fermentation process thereby reducing the glycemic load.
The fermentation process continues as long as bacteria and yeast have sugars to feed on. Yeast are temperature sensitive, and cold temperatures keep them less active. If exposed to warm or hot temperatures, the fermentation continues rapidly and the carbon dioxide will build up quickly. It is important to keep commercial kombucha refrigerated at all times to prevent any undue change in the product experience. Good thing it is so delicious, leaving it in the bottle almost never happens!
Ancients called kombucha “elixir of life” for a reason, as they experienced firsthand its healthful properties. It increases energy, aids in digestion, supports healthy liver function, balances the internal pH, controls hunger, eases constipation, boosts immunity and enhances overall health and wellbeing. Did we mention that it is super tasty too and that does count as the biggest benefit.
Kombucha has been researched for the last 150 years in labs all over the world from China, India, Serbia, Russia, Germany,Tunisia, Egypt, Iran, Korea and beyond. Many of the studies attempt to discern the mechanisms behind its reputation for helping with cholesterol, diabetes, healthy liver function, removing toxins, destroying free radicals, chemopreventative and anti-microbial/anti-fungal properties. Check out google scholar keyword kombucha for specific studies.
The proper pH level of kombucha is between 2.5 and 3.5 pH. The pH level of kombucha is important as it protects the brew from harmful microorganisms.
10-12 days is the typical fermentation time for kombucha brewed at relatively larger scale, although this can vary depending on the brewer’s personal taste, temperature, and other environmental factors. The time it takes to craft a quality brew is part of why kombucha is so different to other beverages.