Discover The Ancient Elixir Taking The Health World By Storm: Why Everyone Loves Kombucha

Discover The Ancient Elixir Taking The Health World By Storm: Why Everyone Loves Kombucha

Thought to have originated in China, kombucha is a fermented tea made by adding a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) to sweetened black or green tea

Shloka ShuklaUpdated: Saturday, May 25, 2024, 02:39 PM IST
article-image

Thought to have originated in China, kombucha is a fermented tea made by adding a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) to sweetened black or green tea. The fermentation process, typically lasting one to three weeks, transforms the tea into a tangy, slightly effervescent drink that is said to be packed with probiotics and other beneficial compounds. This bubbly beverage is also referred to as tea mushroom and tea fungus, depending on the yeast or bacteria used to make it.

It comes in a wide variety of flavours catering to diverse palates. Classic options like ginger, lemon, and berries offer a refreshing and zesty profile, while more adventurous combinations like hibiscus, lavender, and lemongrass add a more floral and herbal note. Seasonal variations often include exotic flavours such as mango, passion fruit, dragon fruit, and lychee that provide a tropical twist, making it a versatile and exciting beverage choice.

Healthy or Harmful?

This fizzy tea is more than just a trendy drink; it's a lifestyle choice for many. Kombucha has many probiotics which help in improving gut health. The antioxidants from the tea combat oxidative stress. It also has acetic, lactic, and gluconic acids that aid in digestion and detoxification, and vitamin B which is vital for energy production.

This doesn’t mean that we can overlook the potential health risks. Chirag Barjatya, Fitness Specialist and Founder of the PFC Club said, “Many benefits have been found related to kombucha. For example antioxidants, anti carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, and anti-bacterial properties. However, all these benefits have been found in animal studies. There are very few human studies that show these benefits. So we have to be cautious.” According to the Culinary Expert and Chef Consultant Reetu Uday Kugaji, “Since it contains caffeine, over consumption may cause headaches or migraines. Also if it is not prepared with immense hygiene, it can lead to contamination and become fatal for consumption.”

For some, the high acidity and carbonation can cause bloating and digestive issues, and in extreme cases, aggravate conditions like Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or stomach ulcers. The risk of harmful bacteria makes it potentially unsafe for those with weakened immune systems. If an individual is on medications for diabetes, it can affect blood sugar levels and create complications. Also, the vitamin K in some kombucha varieties can affect blood clotting.

“Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid the drink, due to potential risks of contamination and alcohol content from the fermentation. Individuals with irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis may experience worsened symptoms. People with allergies to tea, or certain strains of bacteria and yeast should avoid the drink completely,” said Vedika Premani, clinical dietician, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital.

Kombucha can be a refreshing and healthy addition to your diet, offering numerous benefits. However, like any health trend, it’s essential to approach it with an informed perspective. Moderation is key, and those with specific health concerns should seek medical advice before making it a staple in their lifestyles. As with any food or drink, balance and mindfulness in consumption are crucial to reaping the benefits while minimizing any potential risks. So enjoy the kombucha buzz but drink wisely!

DIY berry-flavoured kombucha at home.

Making SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast)

Ingredients and Equipment:

· 3-4 bags of black/ green tea.

· 1 cup of sugar

· 7 cups of filtered water

· Large glass jar with at least 1 gallon capacity

· Cloth and rubber band to cover the jar.

Instructions:

Prepare the Tea Mixture:

- Boil 4 cups of filtered water and steep the black tea in it for about 15 minutes.

- Remove the tea bags and stir in the sugar until it's fully dissolved.

- Add the remaining 3 cups of filtered water to cool the tea mixture down to room temperature.

Pour the Tea Mixture into the Jar:

Make sure the jar is thoroughly cleaned and rinsed with hot water. 

Cover the Jar:

Place the cloth cover over the jar opening and secure it with a rubber band. This prevents debris and insects from getting into the mixture while allowing airflow.

Wait for Natural Fermentation:

- Place the jar in a warm, dark place, ideally between 75-85°F (24-29°C). Avoid direct sunlight.

- Depending on temperature and other factors, fermentation can take anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks.

- Check the jar periodically. You should notice bubbles forming, which indicates fermentation is happening.

Observe SCOBY Formation:

- Over time, a thin layer will form on the surface of the tea mixture. This is your SCOBY.

- It may take several weeks for the SCOBY to develop fully. It will start as a thin film and gradually thicken.

- It should be opaque, whitish, or cream-colored, and firm to the touch.

Store or Use:

- Once your SCOBY is ready, you can use it to brew your own kombucha or store it in some of the liquid it was grown in for later use.

Now for the fun part, let’s make our tasty kombucha!

Ingredients:

· 4-5 bags of black or green tea

· 200 g granulated sugar

· SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast)

· 1 cup of mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries)

· 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar

· 3.5 litres of filtered water

Equipment:

· Large pot

· 1-gallon (3.8 litres) glass jar

· Cheesecloth or coffee filter

· Rubber band

· Bottles for storage

Instructions:

Prepare the Sweet Tea:

· Bring 3.5 liters of filtered water to a boil in a large pot.

· Add 200 g of granulated sugar and stir until dissolved.

· Remove from heat and add the tea bags. Let them steep for 10-15 minutes.

· Remove the tea bags and allow the tea to cool.

Fermentation Process:

· Pour the cooled sweet tea into a clean 1-gallon glass jar.

· Add the distilled white vinegar.

· Gently place the SCOBY into the jar.

· Cover the jar with a cheesecloth or coffee filter and secure it with a rubber band.

Fermenting the Kombucha:

· Place the jar in a warm, dark area with consistent room temperature, ideally between 21-24°C.

· Let it ferment for 7-10 days.

· Taste it starting from day 7 until it reaches your desired level of tanginess.

Bottling and Flavoring (Optional):

· Once fermented, carefully remove the SCOBY and set it aside with 240 ml of the brewed kombucha to use as a starter for your next batch.

· Pour the remaining kombucha into bottles, leaving about an inch of headspace at the top.

· Optionally, you can add fruit, juice, or herbs for flavor at this stage.

Second Fermentation (Optional):

· Tightly seal the bottles and leave them at room temperature for an additional 2-3 days to carbonate.

· Refrigerate the bottles to halt fermentation and chill the kombucha.

Once chilled, your homemade kombucha is ready to be enjoyed! Pour it into a glass and savor the refreshing taste of your DIY creation.

Making kombucha at home is a simple and rewarding process, offering a delicious and healthy beverage that you can enjoy anytime. Cheers to your homemade kombucha journey.

(Recipe by Amandeep Singh Executive Sous Chef, The Westin Mumbai Garden City)

RECENT STORIES

Celebrating 197th Birth Anniversary Of Mangal Pandey: The Man Who Started The Indian War Of...

Celebrating 197th Birth Anniversary Of Mangal Pandey: The Man Who Started The Indian War Of...

Butter Garlic Naan, Tikka & Tandoori Among The 100 Best Dishes In The World, Check Out The Top 10...

Butter Garlic Naan, Tikka & Tandoori Among The 100 Best Dishes In The World, Check Out The Top 10...

FPJ 96th Anniversary: From Conservation Of Konark Sun Temple To Lakhuji Jadhavrao’s Chhatri, Arun...

FPJ 96th Anniversary: From Conservation Of Konark Sun Temple To Lakhuji Jadhavrao’s Chhatri, Arun...

7 Signs Your Boss Is Not Happy With You

7 Signs Your Boss Is Not Happy With You

Shanaya Kapoor Drips In 100,000 Pearls Saree

Shanaya Kapoor Drips In 100,000 Pearls Saree