Traditionally, most cultures (pun intended) used to ferment all kinds of foods in order to preserve and enhance nutrients, that resulted in our bodies having access to large quantities of beneficial bacteria. We have dramatically reduced consumption of fermented foods since the transition to a "modern" diet, processed foods, fridges and freezers.
Kombucha is a one of many fermented foods used in Russia (known as Tea Kvass) and China. It is a sour fermented drink that people use as a tonic beverage. It is basically sweetened black tea that brews overtime with a SCOBY, also known as Symbiotic Community of Bacteria and Yeast. This organism generates a rubbery skin that promotes micro organisms to grow. Alcohol production by the yeast(s) contributes to the production of Acetic Acid by the bacteria. Each time you make a new batch of Kombucha, the mother culture reproduces and gives birth to a new mother. Drinking Kombucha regularly has been linked to:
Improve Gut Flora
Homemade Basic Kombucha Recipe
- 1 Liter Water
- 1/4 Cup Unrefined Organic Sugar (Panela or Cane Sugar)
- 2 Tbsp loose Organic Black Tea
- 1/2 Cup mature acidic Kombucha (from previous batch)
- Infuse the Black Tea and Sugar and let it cool down completely
- Strain the sweetened Tea into a glass container
- Add the mature acidic Kombucha and the Mother culture
- Cover with a cloth or breathable lid and store for 7-10 days in a warm spot (70° to 85°F or 21° to 29°F). Some people may point out that most Kombucha drinks sold commercially are "unripe" and too sweet and may still contain too much caffeine. You may want to let let it ferment for longer in order for the SCOBY to completely convert the sugar and caffeine into acids. If you do it progressively, your taste buds will adjust accordinly.
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Photos by: The Mindful Sprout™
- The Art of Fermentation, by Sandor Ellix Katz (Author), Michael Pollan (Foreword)
- Wild Fermentation, by Sandor Ellix Katz (Author), Sally Fallon (Foreword)
Biomaterials and Biomanufacturing: http://biocouture.co.uk
TED: "Grow your own clothes"
Yeast and bacteria commonly found in SCOBY include:
Acetobacter: This is a collection of aerobic (requiring oxygen) bacterial species which produce acetic acid and gluconic acid. It is always found in kombucha. Acetobacter strains also build the scoby mushroom. Acetobacter xylinoides and Acetobacter ketogenum are two strains found in kombucha.
Saccharomyces: This includes a number of yeast strains which produce alcohol, and are the most common types of yeast found in kombucha. They can be aerobic or anaerobic(requires an oxygen-free environment). They include Saccharomycodes ludwigii, Saccharomycodes apiculatus, Zygosaccharomyes species, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Schizosaccharomyces pombe: A yeast species commonly called "fission yeast".
Brettanomyces: Another collection of yeast species, either aerobic or anaerobic, commonly found in kombucha and capable of producing alcohol or acetic acid.
Pediococcus: These anaerobic bacteria produce lactic acid and slime. They are sometimes, but not always, found in kombucha.
Zygosaccharomyces kombuchaensis is a yeast strain that is unique to kombucha. It produces alcohol and carbonation as well as contributing to the SCOBY mushroom body.