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Organic kombucha is a fermented beverage made from sweetened tea and is thought to be a healthy tonic. The fermentation process is caused by a colony of bacteria and yeast. Organic kombucha differs from regular kombucha only in that it is made from organic ingredients. The drink can be purchased pre-bottled or fermented at home.
The bacteria and yeast colony in the tea is both alive and fragile. The main colony is called the "mother." As the mother grows, small fragments called "babies" separate and begin to grow. If the colony is allowed to dry out, or when temperatures drop too low, it can die. The only way to retrieve that particular strain is to start a new colony from one of the "babies," called "starts."
To make organic kombucha, organic tea is mixed with organic sugar. Then, the yeast and bacteria is added. This is called "the starter," and it is simply a small amount of already fermented tea. Once the bacteria and yeast are added to the tea and sugar, they start to ferment and multiply.
It takes seven to 14 days for organic kombucha to ferment at room temperature. Glass typically is the best vessel to use when making kombucha. Any ceramic containers that could contain lead should be avoided.
The resulting drink has a slightly carbonated or effervescent quality, making for a sparkling beverage without the sugars of regular soda. The acids give it a tart flavor as well. The drink can be flavored with fruit juice or consumed by itself.
Organic kombucha contains high amounts of B vitamins, enzymes, amino acids and organic acids. The enzymes and organic acids can help improve digestion. During the fermentation process, some alcohol is produced. In general, kombucha contains 0.5 percent alcohol or less, so it is legally considered a non-alcoholic drink.
Since kombucha began gaining popularity in the United States in the 1990s, numerous communities of people enthusiastic about kombucha have developed. People share their starter colonies as well as tips and recipes. Commercially produced organic kombucha drinks can be found bottled and sold on the shelves of health food stores and specialty stores as well.
Though many consider organic kombucha to be a healthy tonic and dietary supplement, there has not yet been scientific evidence to support the claims. Some doctors warn against drinking kombucha tea and consider it a health hazard. Home-brewed organic kombucha can pose the most risk when sanitation conditions are not met.