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So What Exactly is Kombucha & Why Should You Be Drinking It?

Kombucha is a fun word and a funky drink. Many have a variety of opinions about this seemingly new health trend. Opinions range from whether it tastes good or whether it tastes terrible, whether it is healthy or whether it is questionably good for you, and ultimately some wonder what exactly it even is?

How It’s Made

Kombucha is a fermentation of yeast and bacteria on a sugar souce. Sugar is the main food source in this process of the fermentation. Modern kombucha is started with normal steeped tea (white, black, green, etc) and the culture changes as it steeps. Then, you can add a sugar source to it to add flavor such as evaporated cane juice, and finally add in the kombucha culture to it. For this process to occur, the conditions need to be warm and have oxygen for the aerobic fermentation to occur. You can tell that the brew is going well when the “mushroom” cloud of bacteria layer which appears like the shape of a mushroom forms and floats to the top of the mixture. This process converts sugars to organic acids, and the bacteria multiplies. The fermentation is finally stopped when the tea is cooled down. 

What is Kombucha?!

Kombucha is a growing movement, especially in California where its current popularity is booming. The movement is truly taking off and now, where some LA bars are even beginning to serve kombucha cocktails. The drink can be seen on tap at most local grocery stores and studios in San Luis Obispo and is even on tap in front of Metro at Cal Poly. 

There are many different flavors of kombucha to enjoy, but the main sense you get upon the first sip is tart and dry like a cider, sour like vinegar, and sweet and fizzy like soda which comes together to create the entire kombucha experience. It can be considered an acquired taste like coffee is. And just like coffee, once you’re hooked, you’re on the kombucha train riding one way toward this supposed bacterial balance.

 

Health Benefits

Some folks say that kombucha provides health benefits like improved digestion, less stress and more energy. The live bacterias present in the drink are crucial to health with live cultures which aid in digestion and body system functions.

For this reason, kombucha is in no way a new discovery. The fermented tea dates back 2000+ years where it was said to be used to ward off ailments like arthritis and cancer. All around the world people were brewing a kombucha-like drink and using it as a substitute for water where there was no access to clean drinking water. Its production is closesly related to the process of beer production, the fermented yeasts and sugar and bacteria turn into organic acids such as those present in foods like sour krout. It’s substabtually lower in sugar than other substitutes and a great alternative beverage to similar but higher calorie drinks such as beer, energy drinks, and soda.

Age Restrictions

Look out, underage kombucha lovers, because kombucha sometimes contains a teensy amount of alcohol from fermentation process. Some kinds can even be up to 3% alcohol, equal to some light beers; and this kind can only served to those 21 and up. No joke, they card people at the store when buying certain kinds of kombucha. But even if you’re legal, unless you’re guzzling down bottles back to back to back, your chances of getting buzzed off of kombucha are pretty slim.

If you’re interested in kombucha, give it a try! My personal favorites are the fruity tasting flavors, but there are hoppy versions which taste more similar to beer, as well as a wide variety of other kinds of tastes. There’s no harm in giving the drink a chance. Who knows, you might end up becoming the most recent kombucha fanatic…

I am a Journalism student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo minoring in Integrated Marketing Communications, with a passion for writing and media. My blog can be found at https://adulthoodinslo.wordpress.com/ and I can be reached at [email protected]
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