What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented drink, a result of fermentation and a complex interplay between various species of bacteria, yeasts and sugars. These bacteria are usually referred to as lactic acid and acetic acid bacteria. During fermentation, when this complex development and interaction of bacteria and yeasts takes place, they produce a small amount of alcohol. This is the reason why Kombucha also has a tiny alcohol content, typically ranging from 0.1% to 1%. If you allow the fermentation to complete, all alcohol will be converted into acetic acid.
When yeasts and bacteria develop, and thrive within the liquid, they naturally form a matrix of proteins, fats and sugars as a byproduct, giving structures of cellulose. In Kombuchas this structure has a shape like that of fungus or mold. Mistakenly people often refer to them as fungal formations, which they are not. These structures are merely a byproduct of fermentation and is what houses the different species, living within the Kombucha.
The continual thriving and nourishment of bacteria and yeast, is what drives the growth of the Kombucha, the so-called “scoby”.
These yeasts and bacteria feed on the sugars in their environment, however different species of bacteria prefer digesting different types of sugars, which is the reason why not all Kombuchas are equally made. E.g. some species of bacteria prefer to feed off simple sugars, which are easily broken down, whilst others thrive on fructose or lactose.
The adding of a sugary tea, that is what nourishes Kombuchas.
Kombucha, being fermented food, is commonly believed to provide many health benefits that may even be aiding in the prevention and cure of many diseases. Almost everyone has heard of Kombucha as beneficial to gut health, which I why some people consume them prior to setting out to other parts of the world, hoping it will increase their resilience to unwanted bacteria and gut infections.
Kombucha are by some, also thought to play a role in the low occurrence of well-known diseases, in areas of the world where these drinks have been consumed on a daily basis for generations.
Kombucha supposedly originates from Russia, The Caucasus and China, where many think them vital for health and longevity.