Kombucha is a fermented tea that can be produced commercially or in private homes. Kombucha has become increasingly popular, and a number of national and regional supermarkets, including natural foods stores and large grocery store chains, now carry the fizzy, refreshing tea on store shelves. Many people drink kombucha for its professed health benefits; however, these claims still need more resea
Kombucha is a fermented tea product with an acidic taste and a hint of sweetness. It is made from a mixture of brewed tea, sugar, and a culture often referred to as a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast), a mother, or (inaccurately) as a mushroom. The SCOBY is a biofilm-like microbial mat composed of cellulose and a mutually beneficial association of fermentative bacteria and yeasts. The popularity of kombucha can, in large part, be attributed to its perceived health benefits, although the majority of these have not been suitably evaluated. Rich in organic acids and biologically active compounds from fermentation activity, kombucha has a low pH and strong antimicrobial properties, which may provide therapeutic benefits and make kombucha components good natural food preservatives.
Although kombucha has only recently become popular in the United States, there are records of kombucha production from as early as 220 B.C. in northeast China, where it was widely consumed for its presumed detoxifying and energizing abilities. Kombucha then emerged in Japan, in 414 A.D., where it was notably used to aid the emperor with his gastrointestinal health concerns. Dutch and Portuguese explorers brought kombucha to Russia and other European countries at the beginning of the 20th century for use as a medicine. Since then, kombucha tea and culture have become available to consumers worldwide. The first commercially available brand in the United States started small in 1995, yet consumer demand continues to drive constant growth in the industry for both mainstream commercial production and home production.