Welcome to Paulina Cocina! She arrived what they asked for so much: let’s talk about kombucha. A drink that is made with a living organism, looks like tea, is medium acidic to taste and has an effervescent aftertaste. Did you know that they call this drink the elixir of immortal health? Tremendous name!
Adored by health gurus, a recipe that fills thousands and thousands of content on the networks, we had to tell them what it is about and see together if it is as elixir as they say.
Kombucha is a fermented drink which has become increasingly popular due to its unique flavor and the possible health benefits attributed to it. It is made from a mixture of tea, sugar, water and a colony of bacteria and yeast known as SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast).
During the fermentation process, these bacteria and yeast convert sugar into acetic acid, lactic acid, and carbon dioxide, resulting in a sweet-sour flavor and slight effervescence.
It has its roots in ancient China, where it originated more than 2,000 years ago. Originally, the drink was “the champagne tea of the gods” due to its effervescent flavor and the supposed healing properties attributed to it. From China, it spread to other parts of Asia and eventually reached Europe and North America.
The Scoby, living organism
The SCOBY is the community of bacteria and yeast responsible for the fermentation of kombucha. It is a living organism that resembles a gelatinous mass floating on the surface of the liquid and is essential for the production of the drink.
Maintaining and caring for a SCOBY requires regular attention and cleaning. Cross contamination should be avoided and the SCOBY ensured that it is in a clean environment to maintain the quality of the drink.
How do you know if the SCOBY is in good condition?
To evaluate if a SCOBY is in good condition, it is essential to observe its appearance, texture, smell, thickness and shape. A healthy SCOBY should be white or light beige in color, with a smooth, uniform texture, without unpleasant odors or noticeable changes in its shape or thickness.
During fermentation, it should generate a new layer on the surface of the liquid. In addition, the resulting drink should have a characteristic sweet and sour taste and effervescence. Any significant deviation from these indicators could be a sign that the SCOBY is in poor condition and may affect quality.
Health benefits of kombucha
Kombucha has historically been prized for its purported ability to promote health. It is believed that the probiotics present in the drink can improve intestinal health and strengthen the immune system. In addition, thanks to the tea used in its preparation, it can help combat oxidative stress and protect the body’s cells.
However, it is important to note that scientific research on the benefits remains limited and evolving, and the effects may vary by person. Consuming kombucha daily can have both benefits and potential risks, and its impact on health can vary from person to person.
Additionally, this drink contains traces of alcohol due to the fermentation process, although in very low quantities. Additionally, some commercial varieties may contain significant amounts of sugar, which should be considered if following a low-sugar diet.
When not to drink kombucha
- Gastrointestinal disorders: If they have a history of gastrointestinal problems, such as stomach ulcers, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or other similar conditions, it is wise to avoid or limit consumption. The acidity and probiotics present in kombucha can aggravate these problems and trigger uncomfortable symptoms.
- Alcohol sensitivity: Since kombucha may contain traces of alcohol due to fermentation, people with alcohol sensitivity, recovering from alcohol addiction, or those who must abstain from any amount of alcohol should avoid it or choose varieties with an alcohol content close to zero.
- Allergies or intolerances: If they are allergic to any of the ingredients used in kombucha, such as tea, or have food intolerances, they should use caution and read labels carefully. Some varieties may contain flavors or additives that may trigger food allergies or intolerances.
6 surprising facts about kombucha
- Gift culture: The community of SCOBY lovers often shares SCOBYs with friends and family. These SCOBYs can be grown and used to make homemade kombucha, which has fostered an atmosphere of gifting and sharing in the community.
- Art and creativity: Some enthusiasts take creativity to the next level and use SCOBYs to create edible works of art. They can mold SCOBYs into various shapes and make ephemeral sculptures that are edible and effervescent.
- Kombucha in pop culture: Over the years, it has gained prominence in pop culture and has appeared in television shows, movies, and books, which has contributed to its growing popularity.
- Healthy or trendy drink: Kombucha has sparked debates about whether its health benefits are real or just a fad. Although some studies suggest possible benefits, scientific research is still developing and more evidence is needed to support many of the claims.
- Second fermentation kombucha: After the main fermentation, it often undergoes a second fermentation in sealed bottles. During this stage, additional fizz occurs, making it even more refreshing and carbonated.
- Flavor varieties: It is known for its versatility in terms of flavors. After primary fermentation, a wide variety of ingredients can be added to give it unique flavors, such as fruits, herbs, spices, and more.