5 Things You May Not Know About Kombucha

There’s more to kombucha than…kombucha! Number three on our list will surprise you…

Everyone knows about the popular and fizzy (and healthy) probiotic drink, kombucha. But I bet you didn’t know that “old” kombucha doesn’t actually need to be thrown out — you can reuse it in multiple recipes! Or have you ever wondered what the heck those little strains of whatchyacallits are floating around the bottom of your bottle? Well, thanks to Health-Ade, we have the answers. The all-natural kombucha company shares 5 things most people don’t know about kombucha… and we finally get down to what a SCOBY really is. Check it out below.

1. Unlike soda, kombucha is a naturally effervescent beverage. This means, when it’s made the old-fashioned way, it is not forced carbonation but, instead, the bubbles develop during the fermentation process.

2. All kombucha is made with sugar. The SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) breaks down and eats the sugars during the fermentation process so there is significantly less once the brew is complete.

3. You can make various condiments using “old” kombucha. As the kombucha ages, it will slowly take on a vinegar-like taste, allowing for delicious dressings and dips such as salad dressings and ketchups. You can find recipes in the Big Book of Kombucha or by doing a quick Google search.

4. The SCOBY has become quite a phenomenon in recent years. People have come up with many uses for old or “dying” SCOBY’s. The options are endless, ranging from lawn fertilizer and dog treats to face masks and toners. 

5. Most people look surprised to hear this, but kombucha makes a great cocktail mixer. There are tons of recipes out there, ranging from kombucha bloody marys to kombucha mimosas! Or you can add fresh fruit to your non-alcoholic kombucha for a burst of flavor. 

Let’s talk SCOBY…

The SCOBY is the Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast and is one of the key components when making kombucha. It’s essentially a cellulose or plant-based matrix of probiotics and is the special ingredient that turns sweet tea into kombucha.

Similar to the culture used in yogurt or sourdough bread, each new batch of brew will yield two SCOBY’s (the baby and the mother, as they are often called).

Kombucha must have a SCOBY in order to transform into kombucha… you might be wondering where one gets a SCOBY and better yet, where did the first SCOBY come from? The answer is… you get your SCOBY from someone else. A friend or a trusted website are best when trying to obtain your first SCOBY. Once you brew your first batch, you’ll have an extra SCOBY to give to a friend or to save and use in a second brew.

We are unsure of where the first SCOBY came from. Our ancestors have been brewing kombucha for thousands of years, so we’ve likely been brewing and reproducing SCOBY’s this whole time.

It’s important to remember that the quality of the SCOBY dictates the quality of the brew. How do you know you have a good SCOBY? The color, the strength and the look.

The color should look white or yellowish. Don’t worry about a little brown staining, as that’s from the tea. But do avoid one that is super brown — that’s a sign it’s been used a lot and may be less potent.

It should feel very strong and shouldn’t pull apart easily!

It should not have any mold spots, a multitude of holes, or be stringy. If this is the case, throw out your SCOBY and start fresh with a new one.

Thank you for the insider info, Health-Ade! Check out their website and follow them on Instagram. Lead image courtesy of Health-Ade.

+Please share your own kombucha secrets, too! Leave them in the comments. 

Follow Joanna on Instagram.

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