Do you know what kombucha is? Kombucha tea is a kind of fermented tea that is prepared using a yeast and bacteria culture. Let’s find out more about this tea from this article.
When I first heard about kombucha (pronounced com-boo-ka) tea, it sounded so strange and weird. A friend of mine (a health freak) quenched my curiosity and informed me that it’s a beverage for the health-conscious. Apparently, this fermented tea helps furnish the body with the much-needed good bacteria. I knew a bit about zymology (science of fermentation), and thus knew the benefits of fermentation. Nevertheless, I carried out a bit of research and this is what I found out.
When fermentation enters the scene, it invariably means the presence of live organisms in foods we consume. Apparently, we all consume ‘live foods’ most of the time, without even giving a second thought to it. Millions of good bacteria that enter our bodies through the food we eat, help in the digestion of food and detoxification of our blood. Some of these ‘live foods’ include pickles, yogurt, tempeh, miso, kimchee, sauerkraut, etc. Kombucha tea is also a ‘live’ fermented drink, that is often consumed for its medical benefits. It is made from fermentation of bacteria and yeast that is mixed with sweetened green or black tea.
The kombucha culture used to prepare this tea, is in a way related to ancient Asian culture. It originated in Manchuria around 220 BC, whose knowledge then spread to small villages around China, Japan, Korea, and Europe. This culture is actually a living symbiotic colony of beneficial bacteria and yeast, which is added to an infusion of tea and sugar. It is then allowed to go through the natural process of fermentation. This allows conversion of sugar into organic acids and carbon dioxide. Along with these products, there are other compounds produced like glucuronic acid, gluconic acid, lactic acid, acetic acid, butyric acid, malic acid, and usnic acid. These compounds are not only detoxifying, but are also nutritious. This fermented tea produced is high in vitamin B and probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus acidophilus and S. boulardii that help in better digestion.
The benefits of this tea include metabolism-balancing, blood cleansing, maintenance of blood pH levels, improvement in digestive health, reduces hormonal imbalances, cholesterol levels, etc. It also helps improve the function of the liver and gallbladder. Then again, it also helps improve one’s immune system and raises the energy level of the body.
There are different types of kombucha tea that are made from different teas like black tea, oolong tea, white tea, and green tea. I went on to taste this tea, and believe me its flavor surprised me to the core. It has a sour tinge to it, that bears semblance to the flavor of apple cider vinegar. Although strange to the taste buds, after a few sips, you get used to it. Nevertheless, it’s an acquired taste. Try out this fermented drink and find out for yourself how it tastes.
Note: Speak to a naturopathic doctor or medical expert before you try drinking kombucha. This warning is especially for those on medications or those who have some mild or severe medical problems.