The Real Tea on Kombucha

Courtesy: Giphy

 

For all of the fellow health freaks out there, Kombucha Tea has probably already caught your eye, if not already your taste-buds (in a good or bad way). Let’s just say everything about this weird tea is an acquired taste. From its health benefits to its taste to its ingredients, kombucha is not for everyone. But, if you’re into kale, beets, and weird green drinks that kind of taste like dirt but make you feel like you’re a super healthy vegan (even though you’re probably not), this is the drink for you.

SO, what is Kombucha tea?

 

Courtesy: Flava

 

Kombucha is a microbial community made up of bacteria and yeast. In other words, yeah, Kombucha is basically a slimy blob of bacteria and yeast that’s added to a sugary tea. If this grosses you out already, you should probably already ditch the idea of trying it. According to this article the yeast that’s added to the tea then combines with the sugars to produce alcohol, which the bacteria then use to create vinegar, and voilà, you have your fermented tea. The resulting taste is semi-sweet, semi-sour, vinegar-y, carbonated and changes depending on the flavor you choose (popular brands like Synergy have flavors varying from mango and guava to ‘gingerberry’. Yum.)

Health Benefits: Fluke or Factual?

Kombucha tea has many claimed health benefits, and although most of us are just now hearing of it, its popularity is far from new and actually dates back to over 2,000 years ago in ancient China. The bacteria and yeast in kombucha are claimed to provide numerous benefits, including detoxification, energy, increased metabolism, improved digestion, reduction of cholesterol levels, and helping the prevention of cancer and arthritis. With a lot of these health benefits being long-term effects, it is difficult to determine to what extent kombucha actually stays true to having these alleged health benefits, but since it’s been around for centuries, it must be doing something right. It is certain, though, that this tea is loaded with probiotics since it’s fermented, which is great for your immune system. The tea does have sugar from the fermentation, its level depending on the flavor and brand, but typically is made without added sugar. There is also a small (but definitely present, about 0.05%) amount of alcohol as an ingredient derived from the process of fermentation, so it’s recommended that neither kids nor pregnant women consume it. Both the alcohol and sugar are in minute amounts though, so the drink is still relatively healthy, and possibly the perfect drink for Tally (healthy + alcohol? Basically a Seminole’s dream). No wonder so many people here like it.

Picking the Right Brands and DIY

The top 5 best tasting Kombucha tea brands claimed by Spoon University were ranked by a college student, in order:

GT’s Enlightened Organic Raw Kombucha, Lion Heart Kombucha, Kevita Master Brew Kombucha, Humm, and Brew Dr. Kombucha

Nutritious Life also listed Health-Ade, GT, and Holy Kombucha as brand-favorites out of the low-sugar kombucha options available.

On the other hand, if you’re not wanting to spend $4-$5 dollars on a single drink, you can make kombucha tea yourself at home. That way, you’ll be able to tweak it exactly to the taste and flavor you prefer, but you will have to wait over a week for the tea to ferment. This DIY recipe is perfect for those who are kombucha tea-addicts (it makes a gallon-full).

Overall, if you’re one of few that actually enjoy the taste and are willing to spare a few bucks on a health drink that may or may not have adverse health benefits, kombucha is the drink for you.