Kombucha! When you hear the word, either you smile because you know what it means, or you have never so much as heard someone mention it. I find that when I mention I am making or drinking Kombucha to someone who has never heard of it, they generally have plenty of questions about just what it is. Kombucha is a fermented beverage made from sweet tea. No, you are not going to get drunk from drinking it, but some say there is a very low alcohol content. When Kombucha first hit the shelves in the store, I remember buying a bottle and after a few sips, I swear I felt a slight buzz. I really didn’t drink much alcohol, so I seemed to feel the slight buzz from the alcohol created during the fermentation process. Well, I wasn’t the only one! Surely enough, my beloved Kombucha was removed from the store shelves because there was some question as to the alcohol content inside those bottles. As a compromise, Kombucha brewers didn’t ferment their product as long before bottling it, thus lowering the alcohol content. That said, I don’t think that anyone conceded there was any alcohol in their product, but this seemed to satisfy those who were concerned.
Kombucha appears to have originated in China in 221 B.C. and then spread throughout the other parts of Europe and eventually into America. It was a trend that took off with hippies and didn’t go much further, until recently. In the past 20 years or so, there has been an awareness of the billions of tiny little organisms living inside of our gut. It has been said that we are only 10% human, 90% other, therefore it makes sense to want to replenish and feed the other the organisms that keep our body functioning!
So why do people drink Kombucha? Well, first and foremost, it tastes good and it’s very refreshing! People have said that Kombucha boosts their energy levels, and in today’s world, many people complain their energy levels are too low. Other people have noticed that drinking this probiotic rich beverage has helped digestion, cleared their skin, relieved constipation and helped with weight loss! People have noted Kombucha has eased arthritis pain, tamed acid reflux, improved sleep, eyesight and circulation. All of the reasons listed above, including its great taste, give me reason enough to drink this fizzy beverage everyday!
Kombucha has been claimed by many to be a miracle drink and while I am not exactly calling it miraculous, I will say, drinking it has been a part of my daily routine for a while and I love the benefits I see and feel. A couple thoughts worth noting, Kombucha has detoxifying qualities. So… when you first start drinking Kombucha, you might notice a small detox effect. Seeing as this is a possibility, I suggest you start with a 1/4 cup the first day and then work yourself up to a full cup, especially if you brew your own tea at home! My second thought is that Kombucha can be very expensive, (over $3.00 a bottle) and the Kombucha you buy in the store generally has not fermented as long.
If you are new to drinking Kombucha, store bought bottles are a great (and, unfortunately, expensive) place to start. Brewing at home costs $1-2 a gallon! The more you drink, the more you will love it and might even want to experiment with making your own! Doing so is fairly simple, although, you are working with bacteria, so cleanliness and proper instruction are essential. In addition, proper sugar, water and tea proportions are critical to your ‘booch’s success!!
If this sounds appealing to you, or if you have always wanted to brew some flavorful Kombucha on your own, as a certified healing foods specialist, I offer classes on how to brew your own fermented sweet tea at home. Please contact me here if you are interested in joining me for a class, I would love to share this exciting tradition with you! Feel free to email me at: [email protected]
I feel I must mention, Kombucha is not for everyone and occasionally, some people notice stomach upset or discomfort… This is not a failure on your part and it is not because you are doing something wrong! Even Jenny over at Living Consciously struggled with drinking kombucha (you can read about her story here), she blogs about the importance of eating a diet rich in fermented and probiotic rich food! If you notice any gastro issues or anything funky, you should definitely cut back on the amount you are drinking or consider going a different fermented route!
Want to learn more about Kombucha? Check out this great Kombucha post over at The Crunchy Moose!