Fermented foods are slowly but surely winning the hearts of those who care about their health and intestinal well-being. Kombucha can increasingly be found on supermarket shelves and on restaurant menus. If you’re the type who likes to try new things and isn’t afraid of weird, jellyfish-like things, we’ll tell you how to make your own refreshing, healthy, and delicious drink.
Kombucha is good for your gut health. How do we know this? Since 2013, Atlas has been studying the DNA of intestinal bacteria (yes, they also have genes), which make up an entire community – the microbiota.
Scientists call the microbiota the “second brain” and treat it as a full-fledged organ that affects the functioning of the immune system, mood, protection against inflammation, obesity, and diabetes. An imbalance of bacteria can lead to health problems.
The Atlas Microbiota Test will help you take control of your intestinal health.
You may have come across kombucha before, but most likely you know it under the name “kombucha”, “Manchurian mushroom” or “Japanese mushroom”.
“When my grandmother and uncle drank kombucha in the kitchen in my childhood, I couldn’t purely psychologically, thinking: “This is disgusting. How can you drink this?”
— a friend who now makes kombucha herself shared her memories.
Why mushroom? If you brew sweet tea and leave it at room temperature for a couple of weeks, a jellyfish-like “mushroom” of bacteria and yeast will form on the surface.
Kombucha or tea kvass is what is obtained as a result of the vital activity of microorganisms. It is a fermented drink made using a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast).
Symbiosis is the cohabitation of two organisms of different species, bringing them mutual benefit.
The first mentions of kombucha are found in ancient Chinese sources in 220 BC. e. The drink came to Europe at the beginning of the twentieth century through Russia, and the word “kombucha” is an erroneous copy of the Japanese, where “kombutya” is a drink made from kombu seaweed.
The benefits and harms of kombucha
Modern science has only recently become interested in the traditional probiotic foods that humanity has consumed since time immemorial.
Probiotics are strains of beneficial bacteria that inhabit the intestines and are also found in some foods.
Because no batch of kombucha is identical, the nutritional value will always vary, making scientific research difficult. Nevertheless, scientists have already been able to draw some conclusions.
Like kefir, sourdough, sauerkraut, kimchi and other fermented foods, kombucha has a number of beneficial properties.
A live culture of bacteria and yeast feeds on the tea and sugar mixture, creating a rich and varied array of nutrients considered beneficial to humans.
5 reasons to love kombucha
1. Low in calories
But there’s sugar there! Don’t worry, this is not for you. Almost all sugar is used for their needs by yeast and bacteria, which convert sugar into water-soluble vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, C.
2. Protection from pathogens
Kombucha contains acetic acid , which prevents pathogenic microorganisms from taking over the culture. In addition, SCOBY synthesizes substances that other members of the bacterial community feed on.
You can evaluate the composition and proportions of bacteria inhabiting the intestines using the Atlas Microbiota Test . Personalized nutritional recommendations will help you add foods specifically for your gut health.
3. Source of minerals
The fermentation process increases the mineral content of this drink, and the body requires many different minerals in small quantities to meet physiological needs.
4. Antioxidant effect
Kombucha is high in polyphenols , which are antioxidants that help combat oxidative stress.
5. Detox and bioavailability
Kombucha contains glucuronic acid (GlcUA), a compound essential for many processes in the body, including liver detoxification. In addition, it increases the bioavailability of polyphenols, that is, it makes these compounds more available for absorption by the body.
Homemade kombucha is not recommended for women in the third trimester of pregnancy, as well as children under five years of age, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.
How it works
Kombucha is produced by fermentation. This is the process of fermentation, or pickling, which occurs thanks to bacteria.
When microorganisms are provided with a nutrient medium (for example, sugar without oxygen), the bacteria begin to break down organic substances, which change the taste and properties of the product. This process can be controlled by changing the temperature, adding salt or other substances to prevent the appearance of pathogenic bacteria.
A SCOBY is a smooth disc that forms on the surface of the liquid used to brew kombucha.
Scientists call it a biofilm or pellicle, which is made up of cellulose fibers produced by certain bacteria.
The Kombucha Starter Kit includes a pellicle packaged with liquid.
All the bacteria need to thrive is more sweet tea, and they will continue to form new layers of fungus. If you notice brown threads on the mass, this is good.
Kombucha drink recipe
- Output: 2 l
- Time: 5–10 days
It is important to use water free of chlorine and other impurities for cleaning. If you use bottled water, give preference to undistilled still water.
SCOBY – 1 mushroom with liquid
You can buy a ready-made mushroom in an online store, ask friends, or make it yourself from sweet tea. There are options using ready-made kombucha to grow your own mushroom.
- 3-liter glass jar – 1 pc.
- Water – 2 l
- Black tea in leaves or bags (assam is best, but you can experiment and try other options)
- Sugar (any)
- Gauze – in four layers to protect the neck of the jar from contamination
- Elastic band for securing gauze
The basis for this kombucha is strong sweet tea, chifir
- 2–3 tea bags or 4–5 grams of loose leaf tea
- 150 g sugar
- 750 ml boiling water
☝️Do not pour boiling water into your SCOBY. High temperature kills bacteria and yeast.
Wash the jar and all tools in very hot water and soap. Or at high temperature in the dishwasher. This sterilizes the medium so that opportunistic bacteria do not enter the kombucha.
Choose a quiet place in the kitchen in the shade with a relatively stable temperature (away from the oven, stove and kettle).
Brew some tea. Add sugar and stir it completely. Make sure there are no sugar crystals at the bottom.
Pour room temperature water into a sterilized jar, then add hot tea. The resulting liquid should not be hot. If you feel the temperature is high, let the liquid cool slightly. Add SCOBY (liquid and pellicle).
Cover the neck of the jar with gauze and secure with a rubber band. Place the jar in a secluded corner and try not to touch it for 5 days.
On days 5-10, taste or use litmus test strips (you need a pH range of 2.5-4.5). Following the above sterilization rules, pour out 250 ml of the resulting liquid, transfer the SCOBY disk into it and use it to prepare the next batch.
If the drink seems too sweet, wait a few more days (the lower the room temperature, the longer the fermentation process will take).
Pour into bottles (sterilized) and refrigerate.