Discovered over 2,000 years ago, kombucha culture has been used for generations in the Eastern world to produce a medicinal tea like beverage. Although there are many anecdotal accounts of kombucha health properties, medical investigations are still being undertaken to prove the medicinal properties of kombucha. However, many users believe that this wonderful beverage keeps them healthy and away from illness. Users have often reported increased energy levels and improved immune systems. Regular kombucha tea drinkers claiming they no longer suffer from ill health.
Kombucha culture is used in a simple fermenting process that is often undertaken in a home environment. The culture, or mushroom as it is often referred, is simply added to a mixture of tea and sugar. The fusion of tea, sugar and culture is left in a warm place to undergo a natural fermentation process. The thick mushroom like substance is often referred to as kombucha scoby. Scoby is an acronym for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. It is this combination of healthy bacteria and yeast that yields the health benefits of the tea.
The kombucha scoby forms a thick cloudy layer on top of the tea. It is this mixture of bacteria and yeast that causes the beneficial chemical reaction to occur. After the chemical reaction is complete, the underlying liquid is drained from underneath the scoby. It is this liquid that contains all the beneficial nutrients of the kombucha. Rather than directly discard the scoby layer, it can then be split and reused to create a never ending supply of culture for making kombucha tea. Often fermenting yeast and bacteria will create an alcoholic beverage. However, Kombucha Scoby creates a fermented beverage with less than 1% alcoholic content. It is the mixture of acids that the fermenting process creates that are most beneficial to the health and well being of the drinker.
Because of the mixture of yeast and bacteria, Kombucha Scoby is a living and breathing organism that should be carefully cared for. If brewing kombucha tea at home you should maintain the highest levels of cleanliness so as not to contaminate the culture. If left unprotected, the culture is prone to quickly developing a covering of mould. If your culture shows any signs of mould it is best to discard the culture and start from scratch.