The best time to drink kombucha will depend on a few factors. For instance, if you take it first thing in the morning, its detox action will become more potent.
Taking it 20 minutes before or after a meal will provide you with natural probiotics, thus, improving your digestion.
Given its characteristics, kombucha is somewhat acidic in taste with little sweetness, similar to a cider. However, during the production process, herbs, fruits, or vegetables can be added to achieve a more complex flavor.
Where does kombucha come from?
The origin of kombucha is yet a bit mysterious. The best-known folk version is that: a Korean doctor (named Dr. Kombu) offered this tea to the Japanese emperor In-ygiyo as a magic cure in 415 BC. However, this version has not been confirmed.
Others claim that it comes from other places such as China, Tibet, or Russia. Another “scientific” version points to the Tibetan and Russian legends; involving sweet teas in which, accidentally or not, insects landed inside and transmitted bacteria, thus, producing the magical SCOBY.
How is kombucha made?
The symbiosis between bacteria and yeast works like this:
- The first step is for yeasts to break down sugar molecules and access glucose
- Its combination with oxygen is known as breathing, and it generates carbon dioxide and water
- As the sugar breaks down, bacterias do their thing and use the glucose to generate a new layer of SCOBY and cover the surface so that the yeasts can go into the fermentation process, now oxygen free
- Then, they produce carbon dioxide (the bubbles) and ethanol that bacteria uses to generate the beneficial acid characteristics of kombucha
The first fermentation is done in 4-liter glass jars and 100-liter pots made of 304 stainless steel (food grade).
Using these materials is essential to track the development of kombucha. Also, because of its characteristic acidity, it can deteriorate other materials (such as plastic).
The second fermentation, in which flavors are added, is done in large stainless steel 304 pots (food grade). This way, uniform flavors throughout the batch are achieved.
Effervescence levels will depend a little on the SCOBY spirit and ingredients from the second fermentation. Therefore, people choose to make it with CO2, just like beer.
This way, minimum levels of alcohol will be maintained.
What happens to sugar during the fermentation process?
Sugar is necessary for fermentation, it’s a portion of food for SCOBY, not for us, and it’s mostly metabolized in acids. Sugar content in kombucha, measured in the laboratory, is 6 grams in a 200 ml glass (a glass of orange juice can contain up to 24 grams).
Using organic sugar is essential to avoid filling kombucha with unnecessary chemicals.
What about alcohol?
Like all fermented drinks, Kombucha contains alcohol, although in almost imperceptible amounts (less than 0.5%).
However, because it’s an artisanal and unpasteurized drink, alcohol levels may be increased a little during the second fermentation and bottling.
These alcohol levels make its beneficial elements better absorbed by the body. Generally, kombucha has 0.3% alcohol or less.
Kombucha caffeine content
The caffeine content will depend on the type of tea being used. Green tea, for example, contains 25 mg per cup; black tea possesses 47 mg per cup; and organic yerba mate around 30 mg. (One cup of coffee can contain between 95 and 165 mg).
Caffeine amounts can vary minimally depending on the infusion time length, which is usually around 15 minutes. Although sometimes it can be more.
As with most fermented beverages, its enzymes and good bacteria help to improve the intestinal flora. Thus, it generates an improvement in the immune system and helps with the absorption of nutrients and the elimination of toxins.
Specifically, kombucha always contains the following components: (it can have additional ones depending on the bacteria and yeast strains of each SCOBY)
- B vitamins– B1 (0.74 mg mL-1) B6 (0.52 mg mL-1) C 1.51 (mg mL-1)
- Vitamin C– contains the same amount as orange juice with a lot less sugar
- Acetic Acid – is a natural antibacterial acid and gives Kombucha its particular flavor
- Lactic Acid – helps relieve constipation, protects the intestinal walls against degeneration, and is believed to help prevent cancer due to its ability to regulate blood Ph
- Gluconic Acid – effective against fungal infections
- Amino acids – fundamental for life since they are the foundation of proteins
- Contains probiotics
- Alkalizes pH in the body
- Fights yeast infections
- Accelerates metabolism
- Improves digestion
- Relieves constipation
- Helps relieve headaches and migraines
- Supports cell regeneration
- Contains polyphenols (antioxidants) typical of tea that destroy free radicals that can cause cancer; thanks to fermentation they are more bioavailable for absorption
- Increases energy and helps with chronic fatigue
- Being an adaptogen, it helps dealing with stress
Is kombucha miraculous then?
The answer is no, and kombucha does not cure any disease or pathology. Its main task is to assist the body in maintaining its natural balance and support the immune system.
We’re always exposed to toxins in the air, food, or water that prevent the body from functioning in an optimal state.
Acids and enzymes found in kombucha restore this balance and allow you to remain healthy.
Kombucha side effects
There haven’t been any known cases of side effects related to kombucha. In the United States, two investigations were carried out for possible cases of kombucha poisoning. However, none of them lead to conclusive results.
This study was published in 1995 by the CDC (US Centers for Disease Control) and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). They conducted studies on their part in which they found no evidence of contamination in both artisan and industrially produced Kombucha.
Like anything that involves SCOBY, kombucha creates its own ideal ecosystem for proper fermentation. Besides, its pH makes it a natural antiseptic, preventing bacteria and microorganisms that are harmful to it and us from entering.
When it’s NOT the best time to drink kombucha?
There are certain pre-existing conditions for which kombucha is not recommended:
- If you are diabetic: There’s 3 grams of sugar for every 100ml. So it’s best to consult with your doctor
- With dental infections it’s better not to consume it due to its bacteria content. Although they’re the good kind, they are still bacteria
- You have serious intestinal problems such as: ulcers, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis
- AIDS pacients; or particularly depressed immune systems should not consume Kombucha due to its bacterial content
- People who, for personal reasons, don’t consume alcohol.
- If you don’t consume caffeine
- Pregnant and lactating women should not take kombucha. This is because it generates a detoxification process in which toxins can be eliminated by the placenta or milk
The best time to drink kombucha and other recommendations
Thanks to its detoxification properties, it is advisable taking a few precautions when you take it for the first time. In any case, we recommend paying attention to your body; nobody knows it better than you.
Most people adapt quickly and never show adverse reactions. Like most probiotics, it can generate intestinal changes at the beginning that will regularize with its use. A constant consumption is recommended but not essential to enjoy its benefits; a cold glass always comes in handy!
- Start with 200 ml in the morning on an empty stomach, followed by a glass of water. If you like it and want more, take another 200 ml before dinner
- Drinking water is essential to help the body eliminate released toxins
- Taking Kombucha about 20 minutes before a meal helps control appetite
- If you consume “too much” kombucha, the body will eliminate it through urine and feces, always listen to your body
We recommend taking it very cold; it’s incredible how this improves its flavor! It can be taken with or without ice. If it seems a little strong at first, try to dilute it a little. It can be mixed with other infusions or with a spirit.
Keep it chilled!
Always keep it in the refrigerator to stop further fermentation from happening and prevent alcohol increase unless you want it turned into vinegar.
Once the bottles are open, as long as they’re kept in the refrigerator, you can take your time consuming them.
For me, the best time to drink kombucha is during the summer months. Tall chilled glass with ice!
Sediments may appear at the bottom of the bottles. This is a yeast that remains from the fermentation process. Even though it’s been filtered, this is totally normal.
Sometimes a mini SCOBY forms on top of the bottle. You can filter it with a finite strainer. Or if you cheer up and drink it like this, it’s great because you’re consuming all its magic, but it can be a bit overwhelming.
Very important; do not shake the bottles vigorously! It’s an effervescent drink, and the quantity of it depends on each batch. Always open carefully. You don’t want your bottles turning into a volcano!