Did you know, I used to be a Coke Zero junkie? It's true! I loved me some Coke Zero, but when I started learning more about healthy eating, I realized I should probably stay away from all of that aspartame. A college friend recommended I try kombucha to overcome my addiction, and believe it or not, it worked!
At first taste, I thought kombucha was gross! The slightly vinegary taste was a shock to my taste buds. But by the time I finished that first bottle of GT's Gingerade Kombucha, I was a fan.
What is kombucha?
Aside from being one of my favorite cold beverages, kombucha is a bubbly fermented tea drink. As legend has it, kombucha originated in China during the Tsing Dynasty thousands of years ago, and was known as the "elixir of life". In modern times, kombucha has been said to protect people from cancer, aid in detoxification and build up good bacteria in our guts. While there have not been any reliable studies to prove that kombucha is indeed an "elixir of life", some studies do demonstrate that it contains glucaric acid. This compound is known to aid in liver detoxification, and is currently be studied for it's role in cancer prevention.
Kombucha also contains amino acids, enzymes, b-vitamins and good bacteria.
So how does it work?
Well, basically you make super duper sweet tea, then add a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast), then cover for a couple of weeks. Then you can drink it! The SCOBY looks like a giant nasty pancake, and forms a layer on the top of the beverage. The SCOBY protects the liquid from pathogens and other foreign invaders, and below the layer, the bacteria and yeast go to work eating up the sugar and fermenting it. Each time you make a new batch of kombucha, the SCOBY you use will reproduce- forming the new layer at the surface- and you can repeat the process indefinitely.
I remember when I first started drinking kombucha there was only one brand, GTs Kombucha. These days there are a number of different brands with an amazing variety of flavors, my favorites being GTs, Reed's and Ciara's. There are also a number of local brands popping up all over the world. The best kombucha I ever tasted was at Sari Organik in Bali (pictured above).
But with bottles of kombucha selling for $4 a pop, I realized I needed to start making my own. To make my own kombucha at home, I probably spend about $1 per gallon! No joke. And it is incredibly tasty and refreshing, just like the store bought varieties.
I made this video to show you how to make kombucha. As you'll see it's very very easy to do.
I like a longer fermentation, about 4 weeks, so that it becomes less sweet. I usually don't flavor mine, but I like to squeeze lime and ginger juice into my glass.