Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

How to make kombucha and its 6 amazing benefits

Learn everything you need to know and more about kombucha

Glasses of kombucha.
Katherine Sousa/Unsplash

If you follow current health trends, you have likely heard of the most popular kombucha brands. Many people rave about the numerous kombucha benefits, whether the beverage is made at home or store-bought.

But what exactly is kombucha—is it tea? Soda? An alcoholic beverage? What are the benefits of kombucha? Does it live up to the hype? Should you start swapping your afternoon decaf for a bottle of kombucha, or better yet, start making your own kombucha at home?

What is kombucha?

Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage, typically made with black or green tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast. Many kombuchas are flavored by adding spices like ginger or fruits such as fresh peaches and strawberries into the vat of tea while it ferments. Much like a sourdough bread starter, kombucha uses a starter culture (called a scoby) for each batch.

Kombucha is usually fermented for about a week, during which the gases, trace levels of alcohol, bacteria, and acetic acid are produced. Because acetic acid is also found in vinegar, kombucha has a notable bite to the flavor profile. Due to the fermentation process, gas is created in the tea, so kombucha is slightly effervescent but is not as carbonated as soda.

Kombucha is also not exactly an alcoholic beverage (unless you specifically buy hard kombucha), though it does contain some alcohol. The typical kombucha is about 0.5 percent alcohol by volume, which is significantly less than beer, which has approximately 5 percent alcohol by volume.

Benefits of kombucha

homemade kombucha in jars sitting on a shelf.
Pexels

If you’ve never had kombucha, the description of it alone may be enough to deter you, as it can be a bit of an acquired taste. That said, there are quite a few reported benefits of kombucha, so it may be worth puckering up the first time and giving it a try.

1. Kombucha contains probiotics

The fermentation process produces beneficial bacteria, such as Lactobacillus species, known as probiotics. These same probiotics are found in other fermented foods, such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso. Probiotics help populate your gut with the helpful bacteria that aid digestion, support your immune system, reduce inflammation, and produce essential vitamins, such as vitamins B and K.

2. Kombucha can aid digestion

Because kombucha provides probiotics, it can aid digestion, improve bowel regularity, and reduce nausea, bloating, and indigestion.

3. Kombucha contains antioxidants

At its core, kombucha is green or black tea. Green tea is packed with antioxidants and polyphenols, all of which are known to provide numerous health benefits, including increasing metabolic rate, reducing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, improving cognitive function, and decreasing the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.

4. Kombucha has anti-bacterial properties

The fermentation process that kombucha undergoes produces acetic acid, which can kill harmful pathogens, such as invasive bacteria and yeasts, in the gut and prevent infection. Furthermore, this anti-bacterial effect seems to selectively kill unfavorable pathogens while preserving beneficial bacteria.

5. Kombucha may aid in weight loss

Green tea contains compounds such as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a catechin found to boost metabolic rate and increase fat burning, particularly in the abdominal area. Therefore, choosing a kombucha made with green tea may help support weight loss goals when coupled with a healthy calorie-controlled diet and physical activity.

6. Kombucha can improve blood sugar control

There is some evidence to demonstrate that regularly consuming low-sugar kombucha can lower blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity. Green tea helps regulate blood sugar levels, so as long as you’re not guzzling a kombucha packed with added sugars, you may reap some of these blood sugar benefits.

How to make kombucha

Brewing kombucha.
Tim-Oliver Metz/Unsplash

Want to try fermenting your own kombucha? We’ve created an easy recipe flavored with ginger and pear. You can also swap in other fruits, such as peaches, cranberries, apples, or blueberries.

Homemade pear and ginger kombucha

Ingredients:

  • 3 quarts water
  • .5 cup of white sugar
  • 1.5 cups fresh pears, sliced
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and diced
  • 8 bags of green tea
  • 2 cups of unflavored kombucha (store-bought or homemade from your last batch) as a starter to add the acidity necessary to keep harmful bacteria away.
  • 1 scoby per fermentation jar (You can buy one at Cultures for Health or Yemoos)

Method:

  1. Bring the water to a boil and then remove it from the heat.
  2. Add the tea and stir in the sugar until it is fully dissolved.
  3. Steep for several hours until the water has fully cooled.
  4. Remove the tea bags and pour in the pre-made kombucha, combining thoroughly.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a large jug and place the scoby on top.
  6. Cover the jug with a cheesecloth or paper towels secured by a rubber band.
  7. Ferment your kombucha out of direct sunlight in a room-temperature environment for six days.
  8. After six days have elapsed, add the pears and ginger.
  9. Ferment another day or so. The kombucha is “done” and ready to bottle at any point after seven days when it has the particular balance of sweetness and tartness you enjoy.
  10. When it is done, carefully remove the scoby and place it on a clean plate.
  11. Pour the kombucha into bottles, ensuring there’s at least one inch of available space between the top of the bottle and the tea.
  12. Seal the bottles with their caps.
  13. Refrigerate the kombucha until you want to drink it, at which point you can strain it if you prefer a smooth texture.

Is it good to drink kombucha every day?

Man grabbing kombucha from fridge.
Tyler Nix/Unsplash

Many people can enjoy kombucha on a daily basis and reap the benefits. However, you don’t want to drink too much kombucha every day because you may experience nausea, gas, bloating, and vomiting. Some people will deal with these symptoms either way if they simply don’t tolerate kombucha well.

In conclusion, while kombucha has gained popularity for its potential health benefits, it is essential to approach it as part of a balanced and varied diet. It can be an enjoyable alternative to sugary sodas or an afternoon pick-me-up, but it’s always wise to consult with a healthcare professional if you have any specific health concerns.

Editors' Recommendations

Christine VanDoren
Christine is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist with an undergraduate degree from Missouri State University. Her…
What to eat before a workout: These are the best pre-workout snacks
The best pre-workout snacks to fuel your workout
best pre-workout snacks.

 

Whether you work out first thing in the morning or hit the gym after work, a portion of healthy pre-workout food is an important step in fueling your body for the exercise ahead. Not sure what to eat before a workout? A pre-workout snack should contain carbohydrates to top off your energy stores, protein to provide amino acids to your muscles, and fat to keep hunger at bay and blood sugar levels stable. Good pre-workout snacks leave you feeling energized and strong without feeling bloated, heavy, or running to the bathroom, so they should contain complex carbohydrates without an excessive amount of fiber, fat, or volume.
Rich foods or excess protein can cause heartburn and indigestion during exercise, so opt for light, balanced pre-workout snacks. Pre-workout snacks should ideally be consumed 30-90 minutes before exercise, depending on the type of exercise you’ll be doing, the planned intensity and duration, how hungry versus fueled you feel, and what you are eating for your pre-workout snack. The closer it is to your workout, the lighter and more carbohydrate-based the snack should be because protein and fat will slow digestion, potentially reducing the effectiveness of your pre-workout snack.
Ultimately, fueling yourself properly with the best pre-workout snacks before you hit the gym, head out on a run, or take a spin class will allow your body to have the nutrients and building blocks it needs to power your activity and maximize the gains from your workout. If you’re overly hungry, weak, and lacking the glycogen needed to push your body, your performance will be lower and you’ll make slower progress on your fitness goals. Therefore, keep reading for our recommendations for the best pre-workout snacks to step up your fueling game and take your workout gains to the next level.

Read more
Did you know these popular foods are high in saturated fat?
The foods high in saturated fat you may want to cut out of your diet
An array of meats and cheeses.

Saturated fat is a fat that is solid when at room temperature. This happens because all of the carbon molecules are connected by double bonds. Butter is an example of a food high in saturated fat. On the other hand, olive oil contains unsaturated fats, and that is why it is liquid at room temperature rather than solid.

Foods high in saturated fat have long been associated with raising “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and increasing the risk of heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and certain inflammatory conditions. However, there is also newer evidence potentially debunking this thinking, as some studies show that certain saturated fats, such as those found in coconut, can lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Most nutritionists and dietitians suggest limiting your intake of processed saturated fats—such as those in hot dogs, doughnuts, or mayonnaise—to no more than 10% of your daily caloric intake or a daily value of 20 grams. Instead, focus on foods high in monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, such as anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Not sure what kind of fat is in your favorite foods? Keep reading for a list of high saturated fats foods, and see if you can replace some of them with healthier options.

Read more
Intuitive eating: The hottest new dieting hack, explained
This is what intuitive eating really is
Man and women sharing a meal together

Have you ever found yourself trapped in the seemingly endless cycle of dieting, governed by strict rules and forbidden foods? If so, the concept of intuitive eating might just be a breath of fresh air your routine needs. This approach to eating is not just another diet fad; it's a sustainable, health-focused lifestyle that has profound benefits for your well-being.

In a world dominated by diet culture, we are bombarded with messages that promote fad diets, quick fixes, and the relentless pursuit of weight loss. These societal pressures can often lead to disordered eating patterns, body dissatisfaction, and a negative relationship with food. Intuitive eating serves as a powerful antidote to this toxic environment, offering a way to break free from the cycle of restrictive eating habits and embrace a more sustainable approach to nutrition.

Read more