Kombucha – A Well-Tried Potion Rediscovered
Briefly: What is the Kombucha Tea Fungus? (Kombucha SCOBY)
Kombucha at a glance:
Not in the mood for plain hot tea? The legendary Kombucha fungus has been appreciated in Asia for thousands of years. Kombucha is a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) which produces a high-end fruity fitness drink from normal tea within about two weeks. This process is also called fermentation and leaves the essential ingredients of the tea (such as tannins, antioxidants, theine, etc.) almost untouched. In addition, the tea fungus even produces numerous other ingredients as there are various enzymes, organic acids and vitamins. It was only in the last couple of years that Kombucha was rediscovered, and it has gotten an ever growing fan base worldwide up today. They value and honor the Kombucha tea as important natural food. The SCOBY is a one-time purchase because it continues to grow and propagates: Everyone can become a successful Kombucha brewer by just one single tea fungus.
Our organic Kombucha drinks with a traditional and guaranteed original SCOBY are produced with utmost care and from certified organic tea only – of course we give a growth guarantee.
Interesting Facts about Kombucha (Tea Fungus)
"What is that ugly flapjack?!"
Your first encounter with the famous Kombucha fungus might need its time – we have to admit. If the SCOBY had ears, it would be offended pretty often by the comments given at first sight. Hereof, “Big ugly flapjack” is only an innocent one. However, skepticism about this pink to beige colored disk floating on top of the tea yields quickly a “Mmmmhh! Delicious!” in the end when having tried some of the finished fermented drink from the SCOBY yourself.
The legendary tea fungus processes normal tea into a delicious high-end fitness drink leaving the essential ingredients of the tea almost untouched. In addition, the tea fungus even produces numerous other ingredients as there are various enzymes, organic acids and vitamins. You may read more about them on our dedicated page “Ingredients and Effects of the Kombucha Tea Fungus”.
Kombucha is a beverage you can easily produce yourself at home by using the Kombucha tea fungus in a finished Kombucha drink as a culture medium. In terms of biology, it is actually not a real fungus although it has become commonly known as such throughout the public for the sake of simplicity and also because of the same look. For the production, a nutrient solution from sugared black tea, green tea or herbal tea is prepared where you just have to add the tea fungus (SCOBY). Within a few days a new Kombucha SCOBY develops, covering the whole surface of the tea. It grows to a solid layer and becomes thicker and thicker. (You can see it clearly in our video above.)
Your Kombucha tea is ready after round about two weeks of fermentation: the finished beverage may have become spumous and also fizzy, and may remind you of new wine, cider, apple wine or rosé wine. The resulting carbonic dioxide adds to the refreshing and vitalizing taste. The Kombucha fungus, so to speak, is indeed a little biological factory – and has gotten an ever growing loyal worldwide fan base.
Being a natural, sustainable food, the Kombucha tea fungus is ideally suited for a conscious and balanced diet. It produces a natural beverage which contains numerous live and biologically active microorganisms that energize our whole body. Kombucha contains many different and beneficial elements. These may vary to a high degree depending on the type of preparation, used tea, and other factors.
The purchase of a single culture is worth the money already after a few weeks: The Kombucha fungus continues to grow and propagates open-end. Fresh Kombucha tastes so much more aromatic while being cheaper and biologically more active compared to the pasteurized drinks you can get in supermarkets. This is because the supermarket Kombucha needs to be stopped in its fermentation process in order to survive in the storage racks for weeks or even months until it is finally sold. The industry and customers alike want a constant and standardized quality and no Kombucha that has already changed into vinegar some time ago or which even bursts through the packaging. That is also the reason why you either find no or only very few live bacteria and yeasts in industrial products in general. Furthermore, you can vary the genuine Kombucha in many wonderful ways by using a different culture medium or one of the many recipes. You are in full control of all ingredients and their quality.
Where does the Kombucha tea fungus actually come from?
There are many different legends and myths about the origin of Kombucha which differ from country to country. One of these legends tells this: In the year of 414 AD, a Korean traveling doctor named Kombu was appointed to the imperial court of the Japanese emperor Inkyo who suffered from severe stomach pain. Kombu healed the emperor’s affliction with the help of a mysterious drink and gave him new health. The success story made its round very quickly and shall therefore have coined the name of the legendary drink. Kombucha (pronounced: kombuh-tscha) means nothing else than “Tea of the Kombu”. If that was really the drink we know of as Kombucha today is nevertheless unknown but it may give us at least an explanation for the name.
Another but more likely tradition assumes that the European Word “Kombucha” has its roots in the Japanese language itself. In Japan, “Kombu” (昆布 konbu) is the name for an edible alga which has been produced for centuries from sea thong – it’s being either eaten or enjoyed as tea. “Cha” (茶 cha) means tea and therefore “Kombucha” simply translates into “alga tea”. However, this alga tea has nothing to do with the Kombucha tea fungus though it may still be its name giver.
Quite true, but our mysterious drink might be older than thought of: In ancient China, already 2200 years ago, the Kombucha drink was said to be well enjoyed as a means to win immortality. In the Chinese tradition, “immortality” connotes a long and healthy life full of vitality and well-being up to old age.
Some authors argue that the Kombucha can only be a discovery of modern times because sugar must be available for its production. This is not necessary true: Kombucha grows very well with whole cane sugar [GERMAN PAGE] and other dried sweet plant juices which are known to mankind ever since – and long before the refined sugar of the 19th century. But still it remains untold when and where exactly the Kombucha fungus came onto the stage. Only one thing’s for sure: he has been accompanying mankind for centuries by now.
From Eastern Europe to Russia and from India to Japan, ever since, Kombucha has been enjoyed as a fermented beverage which can easily be produced by everyone at home. It was given some original and lovely names as there are “Russian Flower” and “Volga Medusa”, “Hero’s Mushroom” and “Magic Mushroom”, and such as “Elixir of Long Life”, “Indian Tea Sponge” and or even “Little Japanese Mother”. The many names already emphasize the appreciation our SCOBY was awarded with. From generation to generation, the Kombucha was passed on within families and with it the knowledge of its production and beneficial effects.
To us, the tea fungus is mainly known from Russia and the Balkans although it most probably originates from East Asia from where it might have started its worldwide triumph. It can be traced down to Japan and the Philippines from where it came to East Europe in the beginning of the 20th century. The Kombucha also experienced a success story in the Near and Middle East where it was valued and kept as a family secret alike. It was especially regarded as a gift for close friends and or special guests in order to deepen relationships and to tighten bonds. By the traditional sharing and giving away of a Kombucha offspring, which could safely continue to grow in a befriended house, an imaginary link between friends was fostered to keep in touch more often. But with the chaos of WWII and the upcoming industrial production of food thereafter, the Kombucha vanished for decades from the European households almost completely.
As you can see, Kombucha is no trendy pop soda but an ancient power drink of many different peoples and cultures. Only today, in times of a newly found esteem for all-natural products and the DIY movement, the people of Europe started to discover Kombucha once again and to spread the word.
Kombucha – A Well-Tried Potion Rediscovered
Kombucha has now become the No.1 Wellness-Drink for the rich and beautiful in the United States – and also best mate for all fans of a healthy, organic, and vegan diet. In public, many famous show stars have already explicitly taken into account the beneficial effects of the Kombucha drink in their interviews: Madonna, Claudia Schiffer, Barbara Streisand and Naomi Campbell – only to name a few.
The German news magazine Focus reported that “The mecca of the film industry and beauty fanatics has chosen the Kombucha-Juice as the new source of eternal youth”*, and even the renowned New York Times fancied newly about this remarkable tea fungus.
Over all, the Kombucha is also highly coveted in Europe again. Supermarkets offer finished products already for about 4 Euro per liter, and pharmacies and drugstores may charge you even more. Such finished drinks are preserved (pasteurized) through heating for an extended shelf life and are therefore less biologically active. Fresh and biologically fully active Kombucha would continue to ferment in its packaging and turn into vinegar by nature within a few weeks.
Thus, homemade Kombucha is much livelier than the ones being available in beverage stores and furthermore you have full control over your tea fungus at any time. Type and quality of all ingredients, fermentation time as well as any other further processing is up to your preference. If you want to get a live and proactive original Kombucha fungus, you would usually need to rely on a friend or someone who knows someone who is willing to share some of their SCOBY. Compared, a small living Kombucha culture is mostly about 30 to 40 Euros throughout pharmacies. However, this culture may not be as fit as the traditional one with its astonishing skill for regeneration and adaptability.
Once you purchased an original Kombucha tea fungus, every liter of tea made by it costs you only 20 cents (for water, tea and sugar). With good and thorough care, your SCOBY will continue to grow while constantly regenerating itself – for that, you may have found a friend for a life-time.
How Much Kombucha Tea May I Drink?
Just drink as much Kombucha tea as you like and as much as does you good. In specialized literature and other sources you may find recommendations like 3 x 0.1 liter or 2 x 0.2 liter a day but many people drink one liter or even more without problems – whatever you like best. Always listen to your body and its signals. Kombucha is not a bitter medicine you have to force yourself onto but an enjoyable, aromatic food for discovering, trying out and experimenting.
It is important that you start slowly with new drink so that your body can get used to it. Just start with 3 shot glasses a day and then slowly increase the amount.
It is often recommended to have some on an empty stomach first and then the rest together with a meal later on. Single substances of the Kombucha are better accepted by an empty stomach whereas others are being digested rather slowly.
Sometimes it is offered as a treatment plan so that you will not get used to the ingredients that much. The plan is to drink Kombucha for 6 weeks with a break of 6 weeks in turn. But nevertheless, most people drink Kombucha permanently.
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Note: All information and tips on our website have been selected and verified by us with great care. Nevertheless, we cannot guarantee for the currency, completeness and validity of the given data. We assume no liability for any damage and or accidents.
When following our recommendations, tips, and notes, please also use your own personal judgment and experience in the proper and safe handling of food.