Updated: Jul 5, 2019
What Is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a sweet-and-sour, naturally fizzy drink made from tea. It is served cold and is known for its distinct taste and numerous health benefits.
To make kombucha, green or black tea is mixed with sugar and a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (called SCOBY). The mixture is set aside for 7-12 days depending on temperature and the strength of the SCOBY. During that time, the SCOBY breaks down the sugar in the tea and releases probiotic bacteria. Acids and a small amount of alcohol also form in the drink. This process is known as fermentation, and it’s similar to how cabbage is preserved as sauerkraut, or how milk is turned into yogurt.
Kombucha has a slightly sweet and slightly sour taste. It also becomes naturally carbonated after fermentation. The specific flavor varies widely by brand and brew method. Finished kombucha can also be flavored in a secondary fermentation by adding juices, fruit or herbs.
The amount of caffeine in kombucha varies based on the type of tea used and the steep time. In general, it is considered to have considerably less caffeine than soda or coffee.
Even though sugar is a key ingredient in the kombucha brewing process, the SCOBY consumes over 90% of the sugar during fermentation. This means the finished kombucha is a low-sugar product.
Kombucha does contain trace amounts of alcohol. This has been a source of controversy in the past few years with home-brewing becoming more popular. However, professional brews that are sold in stores contain less than 0.5% alcohol. To put this in perspective, a bottle of kombucha would have a comparable alcohol content to an over-ripe banana.
Why Drink Kombucha?
Kombucha originated in the Far East around 2,000 years ago and was known as the “Immortal Health Elixir” by the Chinese. While it may not be a miracle cure for disease, kombucha does have a lot of health benefits.
Kombucha contains living healthy bacteria known as probiotics. These bacteria line your digestive tract and support your immune system, as they absorb nutrients and fight infection and illness. It also contains enzymes and beneficial acids and these have been researched for their health benefits.
Harvard Medical School explains that a healthy gut will have 100 trillion + microorganisms from 500 different identified species. There has been a lot of recent research on the dangers of an overly sanitary environment and how overuse of antibiotics and antibacterial soaps and products is literally changing the structure of our gut. Drinks like Kombucha and Kefir and fermented foods like sauerkraut and yogurt contain billions of these beneficial bacteria, enzymes, and acids that help keep the gut in balance.
The powerful antioxidants in kombucha contribute to its anti-inflammatory, gut-healing and even potential anticancer properties.
Kombucha is high in Glucaric acid, which is beneficial to the liver and aids its natural detoxification.
Kombucha is a great naturally-carbonated replacement for soda. It’s a perfect alternative to other carbonated beverages since it provides probiotics and nutrients they don’t. Kombucha also contains less sugar than soft drinks.
Where To Find Kombucha?
Brick Canvas Cafe has kombucha on tap! Our kombucha is brewed locally by Rock Canyon Elixirs in Provo. We always carry two flavors at a time and offer both 12-oz and 16-oz servings. Growlers will be coming soon!