Kombucha is a slightly sour, naturally fizzy, probiotic drink that’s traditionally made by fermenting sweetened tea.
The story of its origin is a bit uncertain. There are a few theories as to where kombucha was created, but the first kombucha ferment is most commonly believed to have started in northeastern China, around 200 BC. Kombucha soon spread to Japan with the help of a Korean physician named Kombu, who is credited with creating the name we still use today Kombu + Cha (Chinese for “tea“).
Kombucha has been a popular drink for over 2000 years in eastern cultures such as China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Shri Lanka and parts of eastern Russia because of the belief that it is an “elixer of life”.
Kombucha has more recently gained popularity in western cultures due to the interest in probiotics and natural health.
How kombucha is made
When a SCOBY is put into a sugary liquid, the yeast and bacteria are stimulated and a chain of fermentations begin. The liquid is typically sweet tea, but almost any sugar solution can be used as base for kombucha – it’s best to stick with traditional sweet tea until you have a store of extra SCOBYs for experimentation.
The sweet-tea base is transformed into kombucha by the efforts of microbes that turn sugar into alcohol and then the alcohol into acetic acid (acetic acid is the same acid found in vinegar). As the colony of microbes work together, they form a cream coloured layer across the top of the liquid that is commonly known as the kombucha “Mother” or “SCOBY” (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). You can learn more about kombucha SCOBYs here.
Kombucha, unlike other ferments, is a sustained fermentation. The yeast continually ferments sugar into ethanol for the bacteria to convert into acetic acid. Fermentation will continue even after being refrigerated. This is why commercial kombucha can taste overly fermented and sour rather than refreshing. A well made kombucha should have a lively balance of sweetness and acidity. Getting this perfect balance comes down to you and your preference.
Looking into Sugar and Alcohol levels in kombucha
In a typical kombucha that was fermented for 10 days, there will be 1 to 2.5 grams of sugar per 100ml serving. (For reference, there is about 10.5 grams of sugar in orange juice). The longer you ferment, the less sugar there will be.
There is no one right way to brew kombucha. Sweetness and acidity should be balanced to your own personal taste. Figuring out how you like your kombucha is part of the fun! When in doubt – Trust your gut and your tastebuds!
Start brewing your own kombucha at home
Sorsa Kombucha kits contain all the ingredients and everything you need to learn how to brew kombucha. You can find the kits in our online shop.