What is kombucha?

Kombucha (kômˈbo͞oCHə), a.k.a “booch” or “bucha,” is a fermented drink, made by mixing a SCOBY(symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) with black or green tea and sugar. This wonderful elixir is a rich source of probiotics, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can also contribute to substantial gut and liver health as well as reducing the chance of heart disease.

The origins of kombucha are widely debated but one thing all booch brains agree on is that this fermented drink has origins dating back thousands of years. The most popular origin story attributes kombucha’s birth to Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi of the Qin Dynasty dating back to 221 BCE! This potential OG of the booch is responsible for changing the gut health game so try to remember to thank him next time you’re sipping on some delicious booch. 

Today, kombucha has gained wide spread popularity, especially in the United States. Kombucha sales have skyrocketed for the past few years due to expanded distribution, marketability and an increased mass appeal. Kombucha used to be something that you could only find at the local farmer’s market, but now, most grocers are supplying a wide array of flavors and brands on their shelves. With this gained popularity, a subculture of home-brewing has begun to fuel the passion of the booch community. 

As mentioned before, the basics needed for making kombucha consists of brewing black/green tea, adding sugar and a SCOBY. During the first fermentation process, this mixture starts to synergize and naturally develops a slight carbonation. With time, the acidity levels tend to fluctuate and change the overall taste and consistency of the beverage. Throughout this process you may get a smoother/sweeter taste at first, but the longer you keep the booch in its fermentation stage, the more it will start to develop a sightly sour taste. Finding the perfect balance is an art form, but when it is achieved, the results are boochtastic!

Although delicious in its purest form, kombucha comes in a wide variety of flavors. During the second fermentation you can start adding herbs, fruits, and spices to enhance your brew. This is the most exciting part, as you get to experiment with different mixtures and concoctions to produce your fave flavor profile. The possibilities are endless and many kombucheries actually have at least 6 flavors on tap at any given time, proving kombucha’s versatility in the functional beverage market.

Kombucha has been classified as “functional” beverage, meaning that it is known to have many health benefits. It has shown to improve gut health and digestion, brain function, mood balancing, and overall longevity of life. There have been many claims on the benefits of kombucha, but one constant is certain; booch is a wonderful supplemental beverage to add into your daily routine. Many tend to believe that it is becoming the healthy alternative or replacement to soda, which is amazing news!

Kombucha is taking over more than just the soda market, with many brewers increasing the amount of alcohol to create hard(alcholic) kombucha. Most brews contain anywhere from 4 to 8% alcohol and we are definitely not mad at that! This buzzed booch has sparked a new trend in the craft brewing industry and we are starting to see it available on tap at restaurants and bars standing toe to toe with craft beers.

From centuries past to present day, kombucha has stood the test of time and has proven to be a benefit to the mind, body and soul. Whether you use it in your smoothie as a digestive boost or in a cocktail such as a Mule, this beverage provides the ultimate effervescence and invigorating boost the body needs.

Nick Angulo