Is Kombucha the healthy beer?
Kombucha is becoming popular these years. You can find it in many supermarket and health food stores. What is Kombucha? What is the benefit of drinking Kombucha?
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is usually made from black tea, sugar and yeast. It has a long history dated to ancient China. "Scoby" disk is added as yeast to brew the tea. After the fermentation, the drink becomes carbonated like alcohol. It is also caffeinated because it is made from Tea. If you are sensitive to alcohol or caffeine, you might feel the same effect from Kombucha.
When I first started drinking Kombucha after hearing about all the healthy benefits, I would drink with empty stomach, and get dizzy right after. Many brands of Kombucha bottles do not state that it contains alcohol, and I did not know at that time. Recently, newer labels include alcohol warning signs especially for pregnant women. It is still not regulated like beer or other alcohol. Seems like anyone can buy it easily from store.
Sometimes I get insomnia and could not sleep if I drink too much Kombucha near evening. I did not know it has caffeine. That is another thing to remember.
Health benefits of Kombucha
Drinking Kombucha has a lot of health benefits. It can increase your energy level, detox your body, regulate digestive system with probiotic and enzyme, enhance the immune system, and even help you lose weight. It has vitamin C, Iron, and antioxidant to balance your body. It helps healing your gut, stomach, and joints. Kombucha contains a lot of good bacteria that can keep our body function better.
Who is Kombucha not for?
Some people just don't like the taste of Kombucha. It does have a special taste, and might need some getting used to. Kombucha might also trigger some reaction for people with poor immune system. The acidity might irritate some sensitive stomach or digestive system.
Because of the caffiene and alcohol content (even very low), some people are not suitable for drinking Kombucha.
Home Brew Kombucha
You can brew your own Kombucha at home. There are a lot of information on the internet. Basically you just need black tea (some people use green tea), sugar and "Scoby disk" to activate the yeast fermentation process. It can be ready in a few days, or can be left longer for stronger flavor. The stronger one is more acidic, and might irritate sensitive stomach more.
When the brewing is done and you like the taste, bottle the drink and refrigerate for 24 hour to stop the fermentation. And it is ready to drink. The Scoby disk can be stored with some Kombucha liquid to make the next batch.
Different flavors can be added at the end of fermentation such as citrus, cranberry, strawberry, ginger, green (vegetable) and so on. There is a lot of choices on the market. My favorite is Original and Ginger. It seems to bring out the special Kombucha flavor, and cover any unpleasant taste.
I find that all Kombuchas are not made equal, even within the same brand. When I buy it from different stores, some taste better than another. I guess it is very difficult to control the fermentation process because of the live yeast. I love Kombucha in general, but sometimes I get a bottle and wonder if this one goes bad because it taste so different. Sometimes I can taste the strong bubbling alcohol. Sometimes I see more "stuff" sinking in the bottom. Again, I believe it is part of the nature of Kombucha.
Happy beer + Energy drink
I think Kombucha is like a beer for happy hour, plus the energy drink that keeps you going whole day. If you have never tried it, you don't know what you are missing. Who knows? It might be your next favorite drink.