Kombucha is more than just a drink; it is a fermented tea packed with micro-organisms, probiotics and other healthy substances. But how do you make it and why do people call it called the ‘Immortality Tea’? Dive into the fascinating world of kombucha to discover this and more.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented drink made from black or green tea, sugar, and a culture of bacteria and yeast known as SCOBY. The fermentation process takes about a week and results in a drink with slight carbonation, altered flavour and added health benefits.
Health Benefits of Kombucha
- Antioxidants: Kombucha, especially when made from green tea, is packed with antioxidants. These antioxidants play a crucial role in protecting our cells from free radical damage, which contribute to ageing and disease.
- Stomach and bowel function: The fermentation process of kombucha creates healthy bacteria. These probiotics promote healthy gut flora, which is essential for optimal digestion and overall health.
- Digestion: The enzymes and acids produced during the fermentation process of kombucha support digestion. They help break down and digest food, leading to more efficient absorption of nutrients.
- Anti-inflammatory: The acids and enzymes in kombucha have anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it particularly beneficial for reducing inflammation, especially in the intestinal system.
- Immune system: Kombucha is rich in vitamins, especially vitamins B and C. These vitamins, combined with improved gut health, help strengthen the immune system, making the body more resistant to disease.
- Skin: The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of kombucha are not only beneficial for internal health, but also for the skin. It helps cleanse, refresh and revitalise the skin, leading to a healthier and radiant complexion.
Origins and History
Although kombucha has recently risen in popularity, its exact origins remain shrouded in mystery. Most historians believe it originated somewhere in the Far East, with some tracing its origins to the Manchurian region of China around 220 BC.
Through trade routes, kombucha reached both eastern and western Europe. From the imperial courts in Japan in the fifth century to the Russian Babushkas in the Soviet era, kombucha made its mark everywhere.
Our favourite legend tells of a Tibetan monk who let a pot of fresh tea cool outside. A gentle mountain breeze carried with it wild yeast cells, which happened to end up in the sweet tea. The teapot was forgotten, creating a culture that transformed the tea into the invigorating kombucha. After discovering the miraculous properties of this accidental find, the monk shared his precious discovery with others, and thus a legend was born. The Immortality Tea!
In the 1960s and 1970s, kombucha ventured to American shores. The hippie culture, always looking for the authentic and the natural, embraced this unique drink and nicknamed it ‘hippie tea’. As the years passed, these hippies shared their passion for kombucha with their children. This cross-generational love created a growing demand, leading to the emergence of the first commercial kombucha in the 1990s. And so GT’s Kombucha was born, founded by George Thomas Dave, and now recognised as one of the largest kombucha producers in the world.
How to Choose the Best Kombucha?
For the most authentic experience, consider fermenting your own kombucha. However, this requires careful attention and a sterile environment. Read about it here in our ultimate guide to brewing kombucha yourself.
When you buy ready-made kombucha, you face a choice between pasteurised and unpasteurised varieties. While pasteurisation can extend the shelf life and you shouldn’t keep them cold, it comes at the expense of many of kombucha’s healthy properties. Non-pasteurised kombucha retains all its natural health benefits, making it the better choice for those who want to get the most out of their kombucha experience. Read more about the differences between pasteurised and unpasteurised kombucha here.
Kombucha offers a range of health benefits and is a healthier alternative to sugary soft drinks. Whether you choose homemade kombucha or a ready-made product from the shop, it is worth adding this beneficial drink to your diet.