All About Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented drink made from sweetened tea and a live culture known as 'SCOBY' (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeasts) that becomes a delicious alternative to other carbonated beverages such as lemonade. It is largely classified as a functional beverage, meaning that it is a non-alcoholic drink that contains vitamins, amino acids or other nutrients.

Originating in Northeast China (and historically referred to as Manchuria) around 220 B.C, Kombucha is renowned for its healing properties, including probiotic benefits that encourage gut bacteria diversity and aid digestion. Despite a slight dip in international popularity during WWII as a result of tea and sugar supply shortages, Kombucha saw sales surge following a 1960s study conducted in Switzerland that compared its 'powers' to that of yoghurt.

We'll be discussing how Kombucha is made, some of the incredible benefits of this drink and how to spice up your own Kombucha with a whole host of flavour recommendations!

How Kombucha is Made

Kombucha is made using sweetened green or black tea and SCOBY, a pancake-shaped disc of live cultures, that is added to the sweetened tea and left for 1-3 weeks at room temperature to ferment. The fermentation process allows the bacteria and yeasts to multiply and convert the sugar into 'ethanol' and acetic acid, which contributes to the sourness in the taste. The tea mixture is then decanted into airtight bottles and left for a further 1-2 weeks to contain released CO2 and encourage carbonation.

After this second fermentation period, the bottled Kombucha is then placed into a fridge or chilled environment in order to slow down the fermentation process, preventing it from becoming too acidic and bitter. A lack of knowledge and awareness of the second fermentation period has led to mis regulation of alcohol content in recent years, with an inspection of Whole Foods finding bottles with an alcohol content from slightly over 0.5% to over 2.5%.

Spices, fruits and flavourings can all be added to the container before the drink is bottled to add flavour and make the drink more exciting - if flavouring with fresh, frozen or dried fruit, start with 10%-30% fruit and 70%-90% Kombucha. If flavouring with juice, aim for 10%-20% juice as it is concentrated and will therefore be much stronger. For flavour extracts such as almond, vanilla, lemon or peppermint, start with ¼ teaspoon extract per 1 cup of Kombucha and then adjust according to your personal preferences.

Flavour Suggestions

For those making their own Kombucha, here are a few of our favourite flavours that you may wish to try:

  • Berries (raspberry, strawberry, blackberry etc.)
  • Lemon
  • Lemon & Ginger
  • Apple Cinnamon
  • Orange & Mango
  • Passionfruit
  • Chai Spiced
  • Chamomile
The Benefits of Kombucha

Kombucha has a plethora of benefits, largely looking at gut health and the gut microbiome. A large number of bacteria grow in the mixture during the fermentation process - one of which is lactic-acid bacteria which may have probiotic function. Probiotics provide your gut with healthy bacteria that have the ability to affect several areas of health, from digestion and inflammation to hormonal health and even weight loss.

Kombucha made with green tea may have further benefits as green tea contains bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols, that are powerful antioxidants. Studies investigating the effects of drinking green tea regularly show that it can improve cholesterol levels, help with blood sugar levels, reduce stress and may even contribute towards a reduced risk of certain cancers.

Furthermore, as the yeast in the SCOBY begins to breakdown, a small amount of vitamins and minerals are produced, including: Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12. Vitamins and minerals are an essential part of ensuring that the body works correctly, supporting functions such as the immune system and cell repair.

Kombucha Risks

Whilst Kombucha boasts a wide range of benefits (and tastes great!), there are a few guidelines that must be adhered to when making fermented drinks.

  • Fermented drinks are NOT advised for those that are pregnant or breastfeeding, or for those with a compromised immune system.
  • As with all, natural remedies, always check with your GP for any concerns that you may have and before introducing new products to your diet.
  • Be sure not to over-ferment your Kombucha. Over-fermentation can result in serious illness and can be incredibly dangerous.
  • If you decide to try homemade kombucha, make sure it's properly prepared. Contaminated kombucha may cause more harm than good.

  • Possible side effects could include stomach-ache, nausea or dizziness, particularly if your Kombucha has a higher alcohol percentage.

Kombucha Recipe

Check out our Kombucha recipe to have a go at making your own!


Kombucha is packed with probiotics, antioxidants and vitamins. Follow this step by step guide on...

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