Welcome to Kombucha 101

Kombucha. What is it? How’s it made? What’s it good for? We’re breaking it all down.

You’ve probably heard of it. Whether you’ve seen it in your local grocery store or are already a fan of it yourself, kombucha’s hard to miss these days. But…what is it exactly?

A coffee alternative?

A meal replacement?

A magic concoction of healing properties?

Don’t you worry, we’re answering the what, how, and why on this misunderstood drink.

 

Okay, so what is it?

Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that usually hovers around 0.5% ABV or lower (however, there’s boozy options, so stay tuned). It also classifies as a functional drink, meaning it contains vitamins, amino acids or other nutrients associated with health benefits. Hold tight, we’ll get to those.

 

Quick History Lesson:

Kombucha is nothing new. In fact, it’s actually really old. It’s been around since 220 B.C. and originated in China where it was praised for its healing properties. Following the creation of the Silk Road, kombucha spread to the Western world alongside other teas and goods. It became popular in Russia and Europe up until World War II when sugar rations were cut short. Using sugar to ferment tea fell to the bottom of the list of necessities thus decreasing kombucha’s popularity. Fast forward to today, kombucha regained its fame in the United States as the result of many grassroots efforts.

Map curated by Steve Kovacs for Jasper52

 

So, how’s it made?

First, some key terms you should know:

  • SCOBY: stands for Symbiotic Culture OBacteria and Yeast
  • The Mother: the SCOBY or pieces of it left behind after fermentation that contain beneficial colonies of bacteria—aka the floaties you may see in your bottle.

 

Here’s the process:

There’s a number of ways to make kombucha but the typical recipe includes fermenting tea, sugar, water, and SCOBY for 1-3 weeks. Then, it’s ready for sipping.

(These are just the basic steps. If you’re interested in brewing your own, we recommend looking into recipes that go into more detail about the process for safer brewing.)

Photo by: Emma Christensen for thekitchn.com

 

What’s it good for?

  1. It’s a great refreshment alongside your meal or as a snack, but we definitely wouldn’t recommend it as a meal replacement (still need to eat your greens, people!).
  2. It’s loaded with the health benefits you want like probiotics for good gut health and antioxidants to help keep inflammation low.
  3. While it’s made with tea, it only retains about 1/3 of the caffeine­—less than 15mg. That’s about as much as a decaf cup of coffee. So, if you’re accustomed to a daily cup of caffeine, we’d say proceed with caution if you plan to use it as a replacement for your morning brew.

 

Start sipping

Now that you have the downlow on kombucha, here’s some of our top picks available in store so you can give it a taste for yourself.

The Classic

For a tried and true taste, sip on Health-Ade

The Boozy Option

Looking for something with a higher ABV, Chicago? Try Luna Bay

The Conscientious One

Dallas, pick up some Holy Kombucha

Kombucha On Tap

Get a taste of the rotating selection on tap in all of our stores.

 

Have another topic or trend you’re curious about? Let us know on Instagram @Foxtrotmarket