What is kombucha?This trendy fizz drink is all the rage among millennials, yet what is it? Originally from ancient Asia, kombucha is now a modern beverage. While many cite a variety of health claims, the clinical science to back those claims is lacking. Excess consumption can lead to chemical acidosis.

Kombucha is a cider-like beverage made from fermented sweet tea. A starter culture, called SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast), is the key to fermentation and looks like a jelly pancake in the kombucha liquid. The SCOBY is affected by climate, geography, culture and wild microorganisms, making each batch of kombucha unique.

Here’s an easy homemade recipe:

- 1/4 cup green and/or black tea (in mesh bag), or 4-8 tea bags

- 1 gallon of filtered water

- 1 cup cane sugar

- 1-2 cups KombuchaStarter Liquid (from a previous batch)

- 1 SCOBY

 

If you would like to attempt this recipe with the right tools and directions, visit www.farmtotable.colostate.edu/prepare-ferment/kombucha.php#.XL9dD_ZFxZV

When making kombucha at home, care must be taken to use safe, hygienic practices to keep a clean environment and minimize contamination. In general, kombucha is considered non-alcoholic. But if the alcohol level exceeds 0.5 percent by volume, then the sugar or yeast concentration is too high or it was fermented too long. In general, home fermentation is around three days.

Pregnant women or those with immune-compromised health conditions should not consume kombucha. Improperly made kombucha can contain pathogens or have unsafe concentrations of organic acids.

For more information on kombucha or other health related topics, contact the K-State Research and Extension – Leavenworth County office at 613 Holiday Plaza in Lansing, by phone at 913-364-5700 or email Chelsi Myer at chelsim@ksu.edu

Chelsi Myer is a family and consumer sciences agent for K-State Research and Extension – Leavenworth County.