Kombucha: The Fermented Tea Wonder Drink


Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage that is prepared by mixing tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast. It has gained immense popularity in recent years due to its touted health benefits. In this article, we will explore the history and origins of kombucha, how it is prepared, its nutritional value and purported health benefits.

History and Origins

The earliest records of kombucha date back to 221 BC in China. However, some believe it may have originated in Northeast Asia. It soon spread from China to Japan and Russia and was commonly consumed by the Russian Tsars in the early 19th century. By the early 20th century, kombucha drinking gained popularity in Germany as well. In the 1990s, it started gaining prominence in Western countries like the United States.

Today kombucha is commercially prepared and sold worldwide. However, it is still traditionally home-brewed using a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) culture.

Preparation Process

Kombucha is prepared by adding 2 cups of sugared black or green tea to 1 liter of water. The tea is then cooled to around room temperature before adding the kombucha SCOBY and allowing to ferment for 7-14 days.

The SCOBY digests the sugars in the tea into acetic acid, gluconic acid, ethanol, and other compounds which impart kombucha’s characteristic properties. Fermentation time and temperature impact the nutritional composition and taste of the brew. Longer fermentation increases the acidity and lowers the sugar content.

During fermentation, a new cellulose-based SCOBY layer forms on the top which can be used to start subsequent batches. The fermented tea is then filtered, bottled and may undergo a second fermentation with fresh fruit flavors. Properly home-brewed kombucha has a slightly fizzy and vinegary taste with acidic notes.

Nutritional Value

While it varies based on fermentation time, kombucha generally has the following estimated nutritional composition per 8 oz serving:

– Calories – 10-15

– Sugar – 3-4 grams

– Amino acids – 20-30 mg

– B vitamins – Varies depending on tea used, ranges from 15-30% DV

– Organic acids – Acetic acid, gluconic acid etc. which impart many purported health benefits.

Health Benefits of Kombucha

The health claims attributed to kombucha are largely anecdotal rather than scientifically proven. However, ongoing research indicates it may provide the following benefits due to its nutrients and organic acid content:

Gut Health

– The probiotics in kombucha promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria which is linked to various health benefits as well as ease of digestion.


– The probiotics, vitamin C and b vitamins in kombucha are thought to support immune function and lower risks of common infections.


– The acetic acid content may help promote detoxification in the liver. Kombucha is claimed by some to help remove toxins from the body. However, there’s no scientific backing for this yet.

Heart Health

– Animal studies indicate kombucha could aid heart health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. However, human studies are needed to validate these effects.

Risks, Precautions and Side Effects

While kombucha is generally well-tolerated, some may experience the following reactions due to the fermentation process:

– Gas and bloating in the stomach

– Diarrhea or nausea especially if overconsumed or consumed on an empty stomach.

– Less commonly, headaches may occur due to the caffeine.

It’s important to note that home-brewed kombucha may contain low levels of alcohol due to fermentation and shouldn’t be consumed by pregnant women or those taking certain medications without consulting a doctor.

Final Thoughts

Kombucha has gained popularity in recent years due its probiotic content and myriad purported health benefits. While more research is still needed, moderate consumption may provide gut and immunity support for most individuals. However, it’s important to purchase kombucha from reputable brands or brew it at home safely to avoid any risks. Kombucha done right can be a tasty and nourishing drink addition for many.

1.  Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it