Is Kombucha Good for You?

by | Feb 5, 2021

Kombucha drink, or bucha tea, is a fermented tea drink made from a symbiotic colony of yeast and bacteria. Kombucha making involves the establishment of this yeast and bacteria colony that are mutually supportive of each other. It might be noted that not all scobys used in kombucha making have the same bacteria and yeast strains, but they all act in a similar way to create bucha tea. 

What is Fermented Tea Drink?

Kombucha is a live culture drink that some people drink for the health benefits, while others like it for its fizziness and flavor. The yeast and bacteria colonies that produce the drink are living creatures and need food and the proper environment to thrive. The most common food source is sweetened black tea. Although there is also kombucha coffee. 

Homemade kombucha is made by placing the scoby in the tea or coffee. The SCOBY culture consumes the sugars in the drink and then forms another culture called a baby. As long as the SCOBY culture has food, it will continue to grow and produce babies. 

Scoby tea begins to produce byproducts such as carbon dioxide, which gives it a fizzy carbonated quality. It also makes a trace amount of alcohol and B vitamins. Whether you drink it for health reasons or because you like the taste and carbonation, fermented green tea is one drink that continues to grow in popularity. 

A Brief History of Kombucha in America

Clarifying kombucha’s place in U.S. lore can’t be done without understanding its peculiar timing. When you study kombucha, it is important to pay attention to the research dates and put the times into context.

Most likely, the ‘hippie generation’ somehow ‘discovered’ kombucha. It had quietly become a bit of a thing among the hardcore alternative health care set by the late 1970s. We found a Russian immigrant story talking about someone first tasting the beverage and recognizing it as the ‘tea kvass’ his grandmother had made for health.

The scope and scale of HIV/AIDs in the ’80s and ’90s is hard to conceive today. It was like a nuclear bomb had dropped. Somehow, someone decided to try curing HIV/AIDS with kombucha. To say that the sudden attention turned on the beverage was controversial is to understate the matter seriously.

Hopes were raised, and scientists were confused, confronted by both a mysterious and fatal epidemic with no cure and a weird substance made by a process no one understands.

We found no reports of kombucha successfully curing AIDS. This tragic era gave kombucha a black eye, which conventional medicine saw as a life-threatening disappointment and the worst type of snake oil.

To this day, there seems to be a reluctance to conduct human studies on kombucha, despite the evidence that kombucha is in itself harmless.

Time went on, and a new generation matured. Alternative medicine became more popular, and kombucha as a tonic beverage became relatively well accepted. 

Conventional medicine took it’s usual line and discredited it. This isn’t unusual on the surface, as ‘conventional medicine’ has a history of going out of its way to discourage people from using unknown therapies. At the same time, ‘alternative medicine’ sometimes waxes too poetic about the latest trends.

But, the conflict about kombucha is different because it involves the ease with which people can make kombucha tea. The brew could become contaminated by outside yeasts and bacteria, and some homebrewers have used decorative ceramic pots for their brew, causing isolated cases of lead poisoning.

The kombucha of the 1980s until the early part of the 2000s was mainly home-brewed, but it still gained popularity. It began to show up in health food stores regularly. 

Pepsi Co. bought into kombucha in a big way in 2016. Kombucha is lower in calories than beer or soft drinks, low in sugar, and a great probiotic source. Enthusiastic marketers declare that it is the ‘new yogurt,’ and it has made headlines in investment magazines ever since.

Little is known about kombucha’s introduction to the U.S., but it is now a mass-marketed beverage, having weathered some storms.

Kombucha can be a good substitute for soda and sugary beverages. With Noom, no food or drink is off-limits, so you can include kombucha in your regular plan.

What Does Kombucha Taste Like?

Not all kombucha scobys are the same. The flavor can be influenced by the type of tea used, the type of sugar or sweetener used, the type of water, the culturing temperature, and how long it is brewed. Different scobys may differ in the exact variety of bacteria strains, but all kombucha contains acetic acid, fructose, and gluconic acid. The amount of each is what gives each batch it’s unique flavor profile. 

The following bacteria and yeast strains may be found in kombucha. Not all of them are found in every kombucha, which gives every batch a one of a kind taste and nutritional profile. The symbiotic relationship of these different bacterial strains means that some will appear in greater quantity than others. All of these factors influence the unique taste of the kombucha. 

Acetobacter

  • Acetobacter – This bacteria is commonly associated with vinegar. It produces acetic acid and gluconic acid. It is almost always found in kombucha and is responsible for the growth of the SCOBY mushroom. 

Saccharomyces

  • Saccharomyces – A yeast strain responsible for alcohol production and one of the most abundant yeast types found in fermented tea. They include many different substrains that all give kombucha a unique flavor. 

Brettanomyces

  • Brettanomyces – This is another type of yeast found in kombucha. It can produce either alcohol or acetic acid. 

Lactobacillus

  • Lactobacillus – This bacteria produces lactic acid and slime, but it is not always found in kombucha. 

Pedioccus

  • Pedioccus – This is another bacteria that produces lactic acid and slime. It is sometimes, but not always, found in kombucha.

Gluconacetobacter kombuchae

  • Gluconacetobacter kombuchae – This strain feeds on nitrogen found in the tea. It also produces acetic acid or gluconic acid. This bacteria strain is important in helping to build the SCOBY.

Zygosaccharomyces kombuchae

  • Zygosaccharomyces kombuchae – This strain is unique to kombucha. It is responsible for increasing the alcohol content and providing the carbonated fizziness with which kombucha drinkers are all familiar. It also contributes to growing the mushroom. 

As you can see, there are many different strains of bacteria and yeast species responsible for the unique flavor characteristics of each SCOBY produced, whether it is a commercial strain or for homebrewing. 

Why Do Some People Use Kombucha?

SCOBY tea has a long history of being considered suitable for many ailments and as a general tonic. You might be wondering, what is kombucha good for now? 

Kombucha has an excellent nutritional profile, and people who have taken it for health reasons report benefits. Some of the things that people have taken kombucha for include: 

  • Memory loss 
  • Premenstrual syndrome 
  • Joint pain 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Increasing the metabolism 
  • Boosting immune health 
  • Increasing appetite 
  • Hair growth 
  • Topical pain 

Some people drink it to have more energy and as a vitamin and nutrient boost to their diet. 

Track your meals and exercise with Noom. With the data you collect, you’ll start to learn how kombucha helps you.

Kombucha And:

Although many people consume kombucha for its health benefits, there are several conditions where you may want to use caution. 

Weight Loss

Some people will add kombucha to their diet because it adds helpful bacteria to the gut. The probiotics in kombucha are often recommended for those who want to lose weight by improving their gut health because poor eating habits can leave the digestive tract underperforming, at best. 

Many people question whether the sugar in kombucha is counterintuitive for those who want to lose weight. In most commercial kombuchas, about 90% of the sugar is eliminated in the brewing process. However, there is considerably more variability with homebrewed kombucha. This is especially true if the fermentation is not allowed to run to completion. 

Another word of caution is that not all commercial kombucha products are the same. Some may contain extra sweeteners, colors, or other ingredients that may make them akin to sugary soda or juice. You need to read the label to make sure of what you are buying. Otherwise, you could be inadvertently sabotaging your weight loss efforts. 

Candida

For those who have an active Candida infection or are prone to them, kombucha may be something you want to avoid. Many commercial kombuchas are grown with controls to ensure that unwanted bacteria do not overgrow and cause an imbalance in the SCOBY. So, these are relatively safe and, according to research, inhibit certain strains of Candida

However, many people like the idea of wild (or home) fermented foods and drinks. This is where the problem can get out of hand when it comes to Candida. Wild ferments are uncontrolled, and the kombucha can have a Candida overgrowth. When you drink it, you may develop a Candida overgrowth yourself. This can lead to intestinal bacterial overgrowth and conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome. 

The problem is that with wild ferments, you have no idea what bacteria the SCOBY contains. Samples of wild fermented kombucha have been found to contain Candida albicans, the yeast responsible for candida overgrowth. 

Yeast Infection

While some strains of yeast are beneficial, such as Lactobacillus, others are harmful. Kombucha can contain several different strains of yeast. With commercial kombucha, manufacturers should know what strains of yeast are in their products. However, homebrewers have no way of knowing what they have captured. 

This is true even if you use a starter kit because the environment is not sterile. Wild yeast from the air can settle into the culture and contaminate it. You have no way of knowing whether you have captured a beneficial or harmful yeast species. A harmful yeast species can quickly upset your digestive tract and gut flora. 

If you have been on antibiotics and are suffering from a yeast infection due to a disturbance in the gut flora, kombucha may help to restore the balance, or it may cause the condition to become worse. This can be true even for commercial kombucha that has known strains of yeast. It is difficult to predict what the introduction of various yeast strains will do in the gut, considering the state of the gut flora that are already there. 

Balancing gut health takes time and those with a yeast infection may improve over time as they continue to maintain healthier gut flora. It is not unusual for people to experience a short-term increase in yeast infection symptoms, but then the yeast infection may completely go away. 

IBS

Understanding the relationship between irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and kombucha is complex. In some ways, kombucha is bad for IBS because it contains FODMAPs, which stands for Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. These compounds have been known to irritate, or cause IBS. 

Even as much as a cup can cause IBS symptoms to flare up. Those with IBS are advised to avoid carbonated drinks in general because of their ability to introduce additional gas into the digestive system. This can cause cramping and pain for those who are sensitive. 

On the other hand, some say that drinking kombucha restored their gut health and reduced their IBS symptoms. It appears that kombucha can be a friend or a foe for IBS sufferers, depending on your particular circumstance. One of the complicating factors is that no two people are alike when it comes to their gut biome. Kombucha may act one way with someone’s biome and a completely different way with another’s. 

Also, differences in the types of bacteria strains may affect whether it irritates or helps IBS sufferers. Other ingredients such as additional sweeteners, colors, and additives may aggravate IBS for those who purchase kombucha from a store. Overall, stomach experts suggest skipping kombucha for IBS.

If you deal IBS and have to skip kombucha, don’t fret. There are still plenty of other healthy options for you. Noom’s personalized meal plans make it easier for you.

Kombucha For:

Just as there are many general health probiotic tea benefits, this tonic has also been recommended for several different conditions. So what is kombucha good for besides general health? 

Acne 

Testimonials claim that one of the fermented tea benefits for some people is improving their acne. Although there is no scientific evidence, research into the effects of fermented food on skin health are currently underway. It is suspected that it works because good skin health starts in the gut. A system out of balance can have a significant effect on your skin. 

It was found that nearly 53% of all acne sufferers have gut flora out of balance. The pimple count was reduced by approximately 23% by drinking kombucha for those who experienced inflammatory acne. “Acne… has close connections with the gastrointestinal tract, and many argue that the gut microbiota could be involved in the pathogenic process of acne.”

The connection between skin health and the gut has been long established. Things such as stress, poor diet, a lack of sleep, and the use of antibiotics can throw off the balance between good and bad bacteria in your gut. The skin is the body’s organ of choice for reducing the buildup of toxins that cannot be eliminated by the liver and other organs involved in the immune system. 

Cancer

Information about kombucha and cancer is antidotal. The theory is that the probiotics help build the immune system and help the body fight cancer, but no credible scientific studies have demonstrated this to be the case. The probiotics in kombucha are supposedly the reason why cancer patients report they improve by drinking it. 

It is also suspected that high levels of B complex vitamins may be responsible for cancer patients’ apparent effects. Unfortunately, the research supporting the anti-cancer effects is met with research showing an increased risk of cancer in specific populations with B vitamins’ supplementation.  

Although many testimonies claim kombucha helped some people, there are also reasons to consider its use in the treatment process carefully. For instance, those undergoing chemotherapy and radiation may already have a suppressed immune system, making them more susceptible to contaminated batches of kombucha. 

Some drugs are also sensitive to stomach pH levels, and kombucha may reduce their effectiveness due to its effects on the stomach acid’s pH. If one decides to use kombucha as part of the cancer treatment protocol, it is advised to check with your healthcare provider first to see if there is any reason why kombucha would interfere with the treatment process. 

You should use caution when using kombucha during cancer treatment. Although there are some contraindications for its use with cancer, there are also some promising effects of the high number of probiotics and its vitamin profile. 

Gut Health

Kombucha has long been associated with gut health. The colony of bacteria that ferment the tea is full of friendly bacteria, enzymes, acetic acid the same as in apple cider vinegar, and plenty of B-vitamins. It also contains a host of probiotics and many other phytochemicals that are beneficial to your health. 

Gut health is the mainstay of your overall health and the system that keeps your organs functioning as they should. The key to long-term health is keeping the gut biome healthy. This means that you need to have many more beneficial bacteria than you do of the harmful ones. These two types of bacteria are always in competition in your gut. Consuming foods and drinks that provide more of the good bacteria is the best way to ensure that the good bacteria wins over the bad ones. 

The SCOBY that works to ferment the tea is one way to make sure that the good guys always win in your gut. This will also improve digestion, which will affect increased energy and aid in weight loss. A healthy gut biome can also help improve your mood and decrease anxiety or depression. 

Did you know the majority of your immune system lives in your gut? With Noom’s recommendations, you can help balance your gut’s microbiome and feel better.

Cold

One of the fermented tea benefits is that it contains antibiotic-like substances, polyphenols, antioxidants, and helpful bacteria to help you get the most out of the foods you eat. This can help you to fight colds and viruses. How this works must be understood for it to be effective. 

Fighting the common cold does not mean allowing your body to get out of balance and your immune system to become weak and then hoping for a miracle cure to resolve it. The key to fighting colds and common viruses that plague us is doing things to improve your immune system health all of the time. The time to worry about your immune system is not once you get a cold, but in the things you do daily to improve it. This is how kombucha, other probiotics, and vitamins and minerals help boost your immune system and fight the common cold. 

This does not necessarily mean that you will never get the common cold, but if you do get one, it may not be as severe or last as long because your body has everything that it needs to fight it effectively. We have an incredible system for fighting foreign invaders such as the common cold if we are willing to support them to work as they are supposed to when they are needed. 

Kombucha Diet

Every day there is a battle going on inside of us. When we lose the struggle, it can lead to inflammation, leading to serious disease if it is allowed to go on long enough. One key to winning this war is keeping our gut biome healthy. By doing so, one is rewarded with improved energy, immune system, and overall health. For this reason, many people are using kombucha as a part of their diet plan. 

It might be noted that kombucha is not a miracle cure if your overall diet is an unhealthy one filled with processed foods, chemical additives, and high amounts of sugar. However, if you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle and improve all areas of your diet, kombucha can be an excellent way to add probiotics to your routine. 

It may be noted that there is no definitive scientific evidence in humans that kombucha improves your diet or leads to any known health benefits, but those who promote it consider it to be an important part of the diet based on their own experience, the experience of others, and the existing animal research. 

By itself, kombucha is relatively low in calories and is comparable to that of green tea. However, there are often additives in commercially prepared kombucha that can significantly raise its calorie count. The bottom line is that if you want to use kombucha as a part of a healthy diet you need to read the label and know the particular brand you intend to purchase. 

Kombucha and Weight Loss

Many people try kombucha for weight loss. There is little scientific evidence that kombucha contributes to any type of weight loss, but it can be combined with a healthy diet to achieve your weight loss goals. The ability of kombucha to improve gut health by adding friendly bacteria, vitamins, enzymes, antioxidants, and other helpful nutritional substances is mainly responsible for weight loss claims about it. Gut health is the key to losing weight and maintaining your overall health. 

If you want to use kombucha for weight loss, you are probably worried about how many calories are in it. The question can be a difficult one to answer because of differences in the products that are available. Kombucha calories also differ according to the brewing process and how long the fermentation is allowed to continue. 

For nutritional purposes, one serving of kombucha is considered to be 100 ml. This is about 3.3 ounces, which is a little more than half of a standard 5-ounce glass of wine. Most commercial bottles of kombucha have about 3 to 4 servings per container. On average, we found that the calories in a bottle of kombucha ranged from 13 calories per serving to 35 or 40 calories per serving. 

When it comes to kombucha calories, this is one place where you need to read the label. Even though kombucha calories are relatively low compared to soda or juice, it depends on the manufacturer. Some manufacturers put in additional sweeteners or sugar to mask the acidity of the drink. There are also others to add vast amounts of caffeine and other flavor enhancers. Some kombucha drinks can be as high in calories as soda. You need to read the label on anything that you choose to consume. This is the only way to assure what you are putting into your body. 

If you buy a product from a store, you have all of the nutritional information listed on the label. If you make kombucha at home, it is a little more challenging to know the calories. Several things can affect the calorie count of home-brewed kombucha. The first is the amount of sugar added. The second is how long you let the fermentation continue. The sugar content of kombucha becomes lower over time as more of the sugar is consumed by the bacteria. 

If you drink your kombucha in the early stages while it is still extremely sweet, it is more likely to have higher calories than if you allow the fermentation to mature. Calories also depend on the particular biome of the SCOBY. With homebrew, it is difficult to know what you have in your SCOBY. 

Even if you start with a commercial starter kit, some other yeasts and bacteria can enter into the brewing process due to your home environment. Each one is different, and it is difficult to determine how they will affect weight loss. 

Weight loss can reduce your risk of several health issues. Let Noom help you learn how to choose the best foods for your health.

Kombucha Warnings

Certain people may be advised to avoid kombucha unless they talk to their healthcare provider first. These include people who have diabetes, are taking prescription and over-the-counter medications, are sensitive to alcohol, caffeine, or sugar, and are currently living with an active candida infection. 

There are some cases where people have experienced severe reactions. Kombucha drinking has been associated with the development of jaundice and allergies, causing life-threatening reactions. 

Many of the severe consequences were caused by homebrew, where fungus and dangerous bacteria infected the tea as it was brewing. It is also suggested that people with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS, should not consume kombucha tea. It can increase the risk of infection, as well as anyone else with immune deficiencies. 

Kombucha is a fermented tea drink and may contain large amounts of caffeine. This can cause diarrhea in some people. It is also suggested that because of the acidic nature of the fermented tea drink that people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) do not drink kombucha tea as it may worsen the condition. 

For the most part, the sugar in kombucha has been consumed and turned into acetic acid, gluconic acid, and alcohol by the bacteria. However, this is not always the case, which means that people with diabetes should be careful when drinking kombucha tea. They should watch out for both high and low blood sugar when drinking kombucha. 

It is also not advised that those who are preparing to undergo surgery drink kombucha tea for at least two weeks before the scheduled surgery. The concern is that it may interfere with blood glucose levels during the surgery and create serious complications. 

Another word of caution is that if you make your kombucha, you should be careful of the vessel in which the kombucha tea is brewed. There have been lead poisoning cases from people who used lead-glazed ceramic pots for the fermentation process. The fermentation process releases lead from the glaze, which then becomes part of the tea. 

Kombucha contains small amounts of alcohol. Homebrew may contain larger amounts of alcohol than those commercially brewed. This is because commercial brewers are regulated as to the amount of alcohol products can contain. However, if you have a strong starter and add plenty of sugar, it can obtain relatively high alcohol levels as the SCOBY matures. Therefore, if you drink kombucha, you must learn to drink it responsibly, as you would with any other alcoholic beverage. 

As you can see, even though kombucha is safe for many people, certain people should not consume kombucha. If you fall into one of these categories, it is best to check with your healthcare provider before drinking kombucha, or perhaps avoid it altogether. 

Kombucha Contraindications and Interactions

Just as there are people with certain medical conditions who should not drink kombucha tea, there are also people on certain medications who should avoid it. The following are the major categories of drugs known to interact adversely with kombucha. However, it is always important to check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking kombucha on any medication. This applies whether the medication is prescribed by a healthcare provider or available over-the-counter. 

Disulfiram

Disulfiram, also known as Antabuse or Antabus, is a medication used to support those recovering from chronic alcoholism. It works by producing an acute sensitivity to alcohol by inhibiting the enzyme acetaldehyde dihydrogenase. A buildup of this compound is what causes a hangover. This medication works by producing the effects of a hangover as soon as alcohol is consumed. 

Even the smallest amounts of alcohol in commercial kombucha can cause extremely unwanted effects if you are taking this medication. In addition, those recovering from alcohol abuse should not consume anything containing alcohol, even in small amounts. 

Anti-Bacterials

If you are taking antibacterials or any other antibiotic type to fight infection, it is probably not wise to drink kombucha. One of the main reasons is that the small amount of alcohol contained in it may affect how well the antibiotics work. It is also possible for the alcohol in the kombucha to intensify side effects such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headaches, stomach cramps, flushing of the skin, diarrhea, and drowsiness. Drinking kombucha with antibiotics could also lead to a rapid heart rate, chest pain, and potential difficulty breathing. 

It may not be wise to drink kombucha while your immune system is compromised or while you are taking antibiotics. However, antibiotics can have the effect of disrupting the natural balance of the gut. Consuming probiotics after you have finished a round of antibiotics and want to restore your gut health could help you do so. It may be noted that antibiotics kill off all bacteria, both good and bad. Suppose you are drinking kombucha for the probiotic effect. In that case, this may not be effective while you are on antibiotics because the antibiotics will kill off the probiotics along with everything else. 

Any Medication that Interacts with Alcohol

Alcohol affects inhibiting certain enzymes in the body that are necessary for breaking down certain medications. This can affect proper dosing and can lead to side effects. Alcohol also has a tendency to lower the body’s immune system.

If you are on any medication that interacts with alcohol, you should not drink kombucha because of the alcohol content. There are many medications where drinking alcohol is contraindicated. If you have any questions, it is always best to ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if alcohol affects the medication you are taking. If it is one where drinking alcohol is not advised, you should also not drink kombucha. 

Diabetes Medication 

People taking drugs for diabetes should not drink kombucha. Earlier, it was discussed that people with diabetes might experience high and low blood sugar episodes when they drink kombucha. If you are on medication for diabetes, it will have the effect of lowering your blood sugar. Kombucha can also affect lowering blood sugar and cause unhealthy drops in blood sugar levels, which can have serious side effects. It is the combined effects of the fermented tea and diabetic drugs that create these serious side effects. 

If you are on any of the following medications, you should avoid drinking SCOBY tea. 

  • Glimipitide (Amaryl)
  • Glyburide (Diabeta, Glynase PresTabs, Micronase)
  • Insulin
  • Metformin (Glucophage)
  • Pioglitazone (Actos)
  • Rosiglitazone (Avanda)
  • Others

This is not an all-inclusive list. 

Detailed Kombucha Side Effects

Even though proponents of kombucha say that it is one of the best beneficial health drinks for your body, some claim it is not without its side effects. Some people may be more sensitive to the unwanted side effects of kombucha than others. 

The most common side effects of drinking kombucha may occur with the first few tries. In some people the side effects may persist. These side effects include: 

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Neck pain
  • Yeast infections
  • Allergic reactions
  • Stomach problems
  • Diarrhea

These side effects may range from minor to severe. If you experience any of them, you should discontinue using kombucha immediately. If the side effects are minor, you may try reintroducing it later, only more slowly. However, if the symptoms are moderate or severe, you may want to discontinue using it altogether. 

Many of the side effects experienced by kombucha drinkers happen the first time or the first few times they drink it. Some of the problems have to do with the frequency and quantity consumed. 

When consumed with caution, kombucha is safe for most people. It is always recommended that you start slowly to make sure that your body does not react. Of course, if you have any side effects, you should check with your healthcare provider before trying the fermented tea drink. 

No matter what you’ve tried in the past, you can lose weight once and for all with Noom

Kombucha Alcohol Content

The fermentation process produces some alcohol content in kombucha. At the beginning of the industry, some kombucha was found to have as much alcohol as a can of beer. Regulators now only allow kombucha to have 0.5 percent alcohol content by volume. Kombucha alcohol content is now highly regulated. 

Some mushroom drink manufacturers are now claiming to produce non-alcoholic kombucha that does not have a trace of alcohol. They claim to use a low-temperature fermentation process that does not make alcohol, but is more likely to make vinegar. 

The kombucha alcohol content of homebrew may be questionable. How much alcohol is in kombucha depends on several factors in the brewing process. Once you understand how to make kombucha, it is possible to make kombucha alcohol. For home brewers, the kombucha alcohol content depends on the type of yeast in the scoby and how much sugar is added. It also depends on how long the fermentation is allowed to continue before consumption. 

Suppose you want to know the kombucha alcohol content of your homebrew. In that case, you can purchase a hydrometer, which is the same thing used to test the alcohol content for winemakers and beermakers. It is possible to produce kombucha alcohol with a relatively high alcohol content depending on the type of yeast you use and its capacity to produce alcohol instead of vinegar. The only way to know for certain how much alcohol is in kombucha is to measure it with a hydrometer or purchase some from a store. 

Shopping List for Kombucha at Home

Homemade kombucha has many more flavor characters than some that you buy commercially. Making the mushroom drink only takes a few ingredients and very little equipment. Before you begin the journey to make your kombucha, it is best to read a kombucha recipe or two to decide which one sounds best to you. 

If you do not want to start entirely from scratch with your kombucha brewing, you can start with a kombucha starter kit. They often come with everything you need to get started, including a kombucha recipe specifically for that SCOBY. 

Once you have your kombucha starter kit, you will need some sugar, green tea, and a lead-free widemouth container for the first fermentation. You may also need some cheesecloth to cover the top of the vessel while it is brewing so that insects or foreign material does not get into it. 

A kombucha kit is a popular way to make fermented green tea because it already has the live culture and easy to follow instructions. This is where most beginners like to start their kombucha brewing adventure. If you have been brewing for a while, or you are feeling more adventurous, you do not have to start with a kombucha kit. You can start with a kombucha recipe and the scoby starter. 

It is possible to find a live kombucha starter online, or potentially at a store that carries beer brewing or winemaking supplies. One of the most common questions that people ask is if you can obtain a kombucha starter by buying a bottle of commercial kombucha at the store. The answer is perhaps. 

To meet government regulations, much of the store’s kombucha is pasteurized, which means that the live bacteria is now dead. Some companies advertise raw kombucha. Still, it is not always clear whether it contains live bacteria that has been killed by some other method or whether it truly has live bacteria present. This may take some research to find a brand that has live raw SCOBY. 

Trying to start the fermented mushroom drink from bottles that you purchase at the store may sound economical, but this is also the most challenging option. The culture may be difficult to get established at first. Purchasing a starter SCOBY or a kombucha kit is the easiest way to start kombucha making at home. 

Some people are a little bit disappointed that their home-brewed kombucha does not have the same fizz as the kind that you buy in the store. The secret is to perform a kombucha second fermentation process. A second fermentation involves reserving a little bit of the kombucha from the first fermentation, bottling it, and potentially adding flavorings such as fruit, ginger, spices, or anything you prefer. It is placed in the bottle and allowed to ferment for an additional 24 to 72 hours. 

This increases the fizz and gives the fermented mushroom drink a nice fruity flavor. However, be cautioned that when you open the bottles, due to the excess carbon dioxide. Always unplug the bottle slowly and point away from the face. Once they have reached the fizziness and flavor that you like, you can just place them in the refrigerator to stop the fermentation process. If you are daring, you might even try brewing kombucha coffee using the same method. 

How to Make Kombucha

Most kombucha recipes are similar.

Make 1 gallon of tea using black tea or a mixture of black tea with green or white tea.

  • Add 1 cup of sugar and stir. Don’t use honey, as it may contain outside bacteria. Artificial sweeteners do not work. Turbinado sugar is okay.
  • Let the tea cool and place in a sterile 1-gallon glass jar.
  • Add 1 cup of brewed raw kombucha (or 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar).
  • Float the SCOBY on top of the tea.
  • Cover the jar with a piece of organic cloth and tie it with a ribbon (to keep bugs out).
  • Leave the mixture to ferment at room temperature for 5-12 days.

The original SCOBY, the Mother, produces ‘babies.’ You can drink your kombucha and keep brewing more all based on the original SCOBY, and give some starter to your friends.

For what to do after you have produced your kombucha, you can bottle it in various ways, flavor it, and even age it. Kombucha is simple to make at home with some essential equipment and a SCOBY.

A balanced diet with a rainbow of foods is important for your weight loss efforts. Let Noom show you how to make healthier choices that stick.

Kombucha Nutrients

You may be wondering, why is kombucha good for you and why do so many people drink it? One answer is that it is a probiotic tea and has many nutrients in it. Kombucha probiotic tea may have the following nutrients depending on the SCOBY and how it is brewed. 

  • B-Complex vitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Polyphenols
  • Antioxidants
  • Enzymes
  • Amino acids
  • Helpful bacterial organisms

The answer to the question, why is kombucha right for you is that it supplies all of the different nutritional components you need for a healthy gut. Kombucha probiotic helps to restore beneficial bacteria. 

As with anything, it is possible to get too much of a good thing. There have been cases where people drink too much kombucha and it puts their system out of balance. It is not a good idea to drink bottle after bottle in succession. So is kombucha good for you, only if you drink it in sensible moderation, just as with anything else. 

Kombucha Pros and Cons

Scoby drink is a probiotic tea that is a natural way to restore or maintain gut health. 

Pros

  • SCOBY drink contains all natural ingredients
  • Easy to find at a local store or online
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Easy to make yourself

Cons

  • Can cause potential side effects
  • Some documented case studies against kombucha
  • Benefits not fully known
  • Not scientifically proven for any particular health condition
  • Quality and ingredients can vary between manufacturers