If you are living in Australia and haven’t heard of Kombucha, then we are sorry to say, but you must be living under a rock! For those of you who haven’t tried it, kombucha is a quirky-tasting drink. Depending on what’s added to it, it’s best described as a sour apple cider, with slightly vinegary notes with the sweetness of fruit tea.
While most of us know a little bit about Kombucha, we might not know about its history, how it is made, or its incredible health benefits. Read on to find out more about our new favourite beverage!
Kombucha: a brief history
Kombucha is an ancient beverage which is said to have been originally consumed in China more than 2,200 years ago. Why? For its detoxifying and energising properties. As trade routes expanded around the world, kombucha found its way to Russia and then into other eastern European areas.
During the second world war, kombucha was introduced into Germany, and in the 1950s it became popular in France and North Africa. By the 1960s, scientists claimed that kombucha was beneficial for the gut. Only in recent years, however, has Australia paid attention to the beverage, first in boutique cafes, and now it is taking over supermarket aisles, with hundreds of flavours to try.
So, how is it made?
Producing kombucha is a long and detailed scientific process. Kombucha is made using either a green or black tea base. Added to that is white sugar, which has been fermented with a type of “tea fungus” for one to two weeks.
The taste of the kombucha changes during fermentation from a pleasantly fruity sour-like sparkling flavour or a mild vinegary taste, depending on the length of the fermentation process. The organic compound which grows during this process is claimed to provide health benefits beyond those already found in green or black tea.
The health benefits of Kombucha
1) Gut Health
The fermentation process of kombucha means that the drink is rich in probiotics. Probiotic bacteria are similar to healthy bacteria that are found in the gut.
Consuming probiotics may improve overall gut health. Probiotic bacteria have been found to help treat diarrhea, and some research suggests they may help ease irritable bowel syndrome.
2) Minimising Infection
A type of acid called acetic acid, also found in vinegar, is produced when kombucha is fermented. Kombucha may be able to kill microbes and help fight a range of bacteria. This suggests that it may help prevent infections by killing the bacteria that cause them before they are absorbed by the body.
3) Minimising Cancer Risk
There is growing evidence to suggest drinking kombucha could even help reduce the risk of cancer. A 2008 study found that kombucha helped prevent the growth of cancer cells. Further research in 2013 found that kombucha decreased the survival of cancer cells.
4) Improving Mental Health
There may be a link between probiotics and depression, suggesting that drinking probiotic-rich kombucha could help promote positive mental health. The anti-inflammatory effect of kombucha may help alleviate some of the symptoms of depression.
5) Liver Health
Kombucha contains many antioxidants that help fight molecules in the body that can damage cells. Some studies, have found that the antioxidant-rich kombucha reduces toxins in the liver. This suggests that kombucha may play an important role in promoting liver health and reducing liver inflammation.
Regardless of the fantastic health benefits, it is fair to say that Kombucha is extremely tasty! Barista Au Lait is all stocked up with a range of delicious flavours. Come to our cafe and try it for yourself!