You're probably wondering: what's a mushroom doing in my drink? In fact, the Kombucha tea fungus is a lichen whose many health benefits have been known for almost 2000 years. In this article you will learn how you can benefit from these healthy advantages at home. In addition to all sorts of interesting facts about the tea fungus, we also want to tell you how you can grow your own Kombucha mushroom at home.
Kombucha? Tea mushroom? The basics at a glance!
Kombucha (pronounced kom-buh-tscha) is a fermented beverage prepared from tea. Probiotic bacteria and yeasts are used, which form the so-called Kombucha fungus (SCOBY = SYMBIOTIC CULTURE OF BACTERIA AND YEASTS / Fusion of bacteria and yeasts). The Kombucha fungus gives the Kombucha its positive properties: It ensures that the tea becomes a probiotic drink.
What do you do with a Kombucha mushroom? The Kombucha mushroom - if well cared for - has a shelf life of years and you can always prepare a new fermented Kombucha tea drink with it to enjoy a healthy alternative to water and other soft drinks.
What is the kombucha tea fungus made of?
In the botanical sense, Scoby is a lichen made of a whitish-beige substance composed of yeast and bacteria. This substance is held together by cellulose. The yeasts and bacteria exist in a symbiotic relationship and benefit each other. The yeasts produce alcohol, which in turn bacteria feed on, which then produce valuable organic acids from alcohol and oxygen.
Kombucha mushrooms are in most cases round like a pancake and its consistency is somewhat slippery. Its surface can be smooth, but also very uneven. During the fermentation process, holes or small bulges may appear in the Scoby - this is quite normal! Depending on the liquid content, the Kombucha tea fungus is more or less glassy in its composition.
The following ingredients are found in varying amounts in kombucha:
- Bacterial species
- Yeast strains
- Vitamins such as folic acid, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, D, E, K
- minerals and trace elements, such as iron, magnesium, calcium, copper, zinc
- healthy acids, such as lactic acid, acetic acid, citric acid, natural carbonic acid
- 14 different amino acids
- secondary plant substances, such as polyphenols and isoflavonoids, which have an antioxidant effect
- Alcohol (between 0.1 and 0.4 g - roughly equivalent to the amount found in orange juice or non-alcoholic beer)
- Caffeine or tea-in (if you use black or green tea)
Behind-the-scenes look: How does the scoby mushroom work?
Nutrients and ingredients
The Kombucha tea fungus first spreads out in a surface-like manner on the surface of the so-called nutrient solution. The yeasts feed on the sugar used in kombucha production. They turn it into carbonic acid and alcohol. The bacteria in turn form various acids from the alcohol and the ingredients of the tea, e.g. acetic acid and lactic acid - hence the sour taste. The acidity ensures that germs do not colonise.
The Scoby grows and thrives
It wants to get hold of as much oxygen as possible. This causes the underlying tea fungus culture to thicken or a new Scoby to form. The Scoby continues to form new layers close together, becoming thicker and thicker. In some cases, the Scoby sinks to the bottom of the fermentation vessel. A new tea fungus then forms on the surface and the Scoby at the bottom of the vessel stops growing.
The healthy end result - kombucha mushroom tea!
Simply put, kombucha is a fermented tea beverage. With the help of a kombucha culture, various sweetened teas e.g. green tea, black tea are fermented.
Mushroom tea offers a delicious naturally carbonated, sweet and sour tasting alternative to sodas or other soft drinks. All without unnecessary sugar and artificial additives. The fermentation process can produce various vitamins and organic acids and many other important nutrients.
Possible effects of Kombucha
Without making a cure promise, kombucha is said to be able to help with the ailments listed below:
- Acne and neurodermatitis
- High blood pressure
Let the mushroom sprout: Grow your own Kombucha culture
To create your own kombucha culture, the most important ingredient you need is an unpasteurized "raw" kombucha. Because without the many microorganisms still alive, it will be difficult to grow your own kombucha mushroom.
You can either buy Kombucha starter kits on the internet or know someone who makes Kombucha themselves and give you a Scoby.
With a few ingredients, all of which should preferably be organically grown, you can safely make your own kombucha mushroom at home . With water, tea, sugar and a starter kit (mushroom with preparation liquid) or alternatively without mushroom with unpasteurized Kombucha (e.g. Raw Original from KOMBUCHERY LINK), the kombucha mushroom takes between 7 and 21 days to develop, depending on the conditions.
Once upon a time... A short history of the tea fungus
Where Kombucha comes from
Some of the Western world is still a bit of a stranger to kombucha tea, but in other parts of the world, the potion with the unfamiliar name and its many effects has long been no secret. It is generally agreed that Kombucha has its origins in East Asia, Japan or China.
A Chinese legend
Among other legends, this one says that kombucha came into being when the emperor Qin Shi Huangdi set his mind on attaining immortality around 247 - 221 BC and commissioned an alchemist to brew a drink that would give him eternal life. The alchemist gave him kombucha. A few years after he got used to kombucha, he switched to pills and died. - Well, if only he'd stuck with kombucha.
Kombucha, the name
Kombucha could be derived from a Japanese algae tea"Kombu" - algae + "Cha" - tea = "Kombucha". Over centuries, a small mistake might have crept in and the tea today doesn't have much to do with our Kombucha of today.
Remaining Kombucha mushroom? 4 alternative use ideas
It's not just as a healthy drink that you can use your Scoby. Also for your beauty only the best and some inspirations for exciting recipes with Kombucha cultures you don't want to use for tea anymore you can find here.
1. refreshing recipe for summer: Sweet Beet (for 2 servings):
- 4 cm of peeled and chopped ginger.
- 300 ml natural kombucha
- 100 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
- 100 ml carrot juice
- 100 ml beetroot juice
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Here's how to mix it:
Blend all ingredients in a blender for about 15 seconds and your kombucha summer drink is ready.
2. kombucha as dressing for your salad
The Scoby now doubles as the vinegar mother for your homemade kombucha vinegar. The longer the kombucha ferments, the more acid is created. The added sugar will ferment more and more over time. So to make vinegar from your kombucha it simply needs to ferment much longer. We recommend fermenting a kombucha for 4 weeks first. To do this, you can add one tablespoon of sugar at a time at intervals of 2 weeks over a period of 6 weeks.
In between you can of course always taste with a small spoon whether the vinegar fits for you taste. This may sound like an eternally long time, but you will be gifted with a mild vinegar from your own production. Perfect for salads and other fresh dishes.
3. kombucha face mask - make your complexion glow with kombucha
Here's what you need for 2 applications:
- 100 g Scoby
- 15 ml Kombucha (raw, unflavored)
- 15 ml coconut oil
How it's done:
First, grind the Scoby and half of the kombucha in a blender. Then slowly add the coconut oil and blend until creamy. Before applying the face mask we recommend to clean the face thoroughly with water. Now the mask can be applied evenly to the face. After an application time of approx. 10 to 20 minutes you can carefully rinse off the mask and then pat your face dry.
Attention! Make sure that the mask does not get into your eyes, as this could sting.
4. kombucha foot bath
Take care of your stressed feet with Kombucha. All you need is a bathtub or a small bowl and you're ready to go!
What you need:
- 250 ml of very sour kombucha or alternatively 150 ml of kombucha vinegar.
- 1 cup Epsom Salt or alternatively other mineral salt
- Eucalyptus oil or other natural essential oil of your choice
How to make it:
Simply add both ingredients to warm water in a bathtub and soak your feet in it for 10 minutes. Afterwards, your skin will feel super soft.
Kombucha mushroom "Scoby" - don't be afraid of bacteria!
In total, there are over 30 trillion bacteria living in us from over 1000 species of bacteria - that's more bacteria than we have cells in our bodies. It's fascinating the impact the microbiome has on our overall health: In addition to typical digestive problems, other ailments, as mentioned above, can also have their source here. It is therefore all the more important to pay attention to the health of one's own microbiome! The kombucha mushroom Scoby can support this decisively. So don't hesitate any longer and grow your own Scoby at home. Here's to your health!
FAQs about the tea mushroom
How is a kombucha mushroom created?
The kombucha mushroom substance is held together by cellulose, in which yeasts and bacteria exist in a symbiotic relationship and benefit each other. The yeasts produce alcohol, which in turn bacteria feed on, which then produce valuable organic acids from alcohol and oxygen.
How can you store the Kombucha tea fungus?
A Scoby Hotel is a large glass jar filled with preparation liquid. The liquid used for the preparation is ready-made kombucha. There the Scoby is protected against harmful germs. With a correspondingly low pH value, your Scoby can be stored in this liquid for months or even years with a clear conscience.
Can you eat the Kombucha mushroom?
Yes, in theory, you can eat the kombucha mushroom. Some recommend it for vegans as a substitute for sushi. However, since it's not exactly a palate pleaser on its own, it's a good idea to incorporate parts of the scoby or kombucha into delicious recipes, such as smoothies, pancakes, and even as a face or hair mask. You can find the recipes on our blog.
Can you freeze the Scoby mushroom?
You can freeze the Scoby, but it's a pain to reactivate it afterwards. Therefore we recommend to keep it in a big jar, covered with a cloth and safely stored in liquid in a so called Scoby Hotel. There it can be stored for up to several years.
How does Kombucha taste?
Most people find the fermented tea drink sweet and sour, somewhat tart. Depending on the processing or second fermentation, in which the Kombucha can be flavored with juice, herbs or fruits, it tastes very refreshing, fruity and with ginger even pleasantly spicy.
Why is Kombucha healthy?
Through fermentation, kombucha contains many strains of bacteria that have a very positive effect on intestinal health and thus on the immune system. And not only that. Kombucha is a true immune booster and in addition to the bacteria, it also contains enzymes, vitamins, minerals and trace elements, as well as various amino acids, secondary plant compounds such as polyphenols and isoflavonoids, which have an antioxidant effect.
When should Kombucha be drunk?
In the morning, a small glass about half an hour before breakfast is optimal to give your intestines or immune system an activating basis for the day. Later in the day, you can enjoy kombucha at any time - whether independently of meals or with it, the healthy nutrients of kombucha always have a positive effect.
How much kombucha should you drink?
Kombucha is like any other food: you shouldn't overdo it with your consumption. Start with a small glass a day and see how the kombucha agrees with you. After a few days, you can drink more. There is no maximum amount that you should consider that would lead to side effects.
Thanks for reading!