Whats the second healthiest drink after herbal tea?
Not matcha, green smoothie (close third), kefir, or even soft drinks using real sugar. Theres a drink even healthier and more refreshing than any of those.
It's kombucha tea.
Perhaps water should take the title of healthiest drink with herbal tea second and kombucha third. You must have water, but when that gets boring theres always the other two.
Whats kombucha tea? You simply take your favorite herbs or fruit and add in a SCOBY. This gradually transforms the herbal ingredients into a fermented beverage.
Many store-bought kombuchas use black tea, but I like 'bucha better with the black tea and herbs in an equal ratio. It leaves me refreshed with its fizzy, cider-like flavor rather than the overly strong flavor of plain black tea in kombucha culture.
Now you might wonder what exactly a SCOBY is? SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast and gives the tea it's flavor and health benefits. The SCOBY is made up of the little bacteria and yeast guys who digest the sugar used in fermenting the tea. And these little guys once they've digested the sugar eventually produce the vitamins B and organic acids.
So what nutrients are present in kombucha tea?
Kombucha obtains it's "detoxing" ability due to the organic acids found within the tea. Though not much research has been done on the actual synergy of the nutrients present in kombucha. The medical-pharmaceutical complex really can't be bothered to spend money on looking into such an easily produced nutritional beverage. And kombucha would never be as profitable as pharmaceuticals.
But we do know that the present glucuronic acid plays a role in regulating metabolism within humans. And acetic acid can help absorb fat from food. The rest of the organic acids play a role in regulating cell metabolism. You should keep in mind that the organic acid content varies depending on how long the kombucha was brewed and the climate where it was brewed.
Theres a certain magic to transforming the bacteria and yeast guys into a healthful drink. A magic to the five day brew as the mushroom-shaped culture digests sugar and turns it into a fizzy drink.
That explains kombucha's ability to rid the body of waste matter. And along with the B vitamins that help regulate metabolism and the nervous system. Kombucha culture also contains a variety of phytonutrients from the black tea and other herbs. Think of billions of cells wondering about infected with toxins from our cleaning products, pesticides, exhuast pipes, dank basements, and even the harmful bacteria like Staphylococci lingering on door handles.
Well, theres a first time for everything. My first attempt at making kombucha happened after purchasing a small SCOBY at a local farm store. The farm store was my favorite for homemade kombuchas and grassfed beef. Situated inside a real barn, you could simply walk outside to the back of the barn where the six Holstein cows were quietly standing about. It was certainly the only real pasture-based farm I've ever visited more than once.
I also received a printed page of instructions from the lady who worked there. Though the instructions made the fermentation process look complex it also looked doable.
Upon getting my SCOBY home, I carefully held it's slimy, yet invisible toughness and laid it in a plate. The culture looks like some little creature, but it's actually a producer of one of the healthiest and most refreshing beverages.
Taking a half gallon mason jar and going over the directions carefully:
Placing the water in first I then added the organic white sugar and vinegar. Next up was the SCOBY and teabags. It all seems to go good until...
...five days later and the kombucha tasted flat, unlike the ones I tried in the farm store. What could I have done wrong?
Looking on the web for a possible explanation I realized the deeper chemical processes involved with making kombucha. It's an ancient art: fermentation. Going back years before refrigerators were a thought. The act of leaving bacteria out to engulf the raw materials inside a jar only partly replicates this old art. I realized the sugar needed to be dissolved in the water before adding the SCOBY.
Why didn't I think of this? It's rather difficult to make kombucha tea when all the sugar it depends on for fermenting is sitting on the bottom while the SCOBY is floating at the top. I needed to dissolve the sugar and then push the SCOBY further down the jar.
What about starter tea? Well, I did use the liquid from the jar the SCOBY came in, but it didn't amount to more than one cup so I added the 1 1/2 of distilled white vinegar.
It really was a silly mistake. Today I enjoy both homemade and store-bought kombuchas.
Changes in content of organic acids and tea polyphenols during kombucha tea fermentation. R. Jayabalan, S. Marimuthu, K. Swaminathan. September 2005.
"vitamin B complex". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2015. Web. 13 Oct. 2015
National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database; CID=176, https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/176 (accessed Oct. 14, 2015)