We used to drink a lot of store-bought Kombucha.
Kombucha was a fermented tea and sugar drink which contains bacteria and yeast.
Similar to the making of alcoholic beverages, fermentation of sugars yielded alcohol and carbon dioxide.
The amount of alcohol in Kombucha was very low (about 1%), however, some brands in the market still had warning labels on them.
Kombucha had its origin traced back to China before 1910.
There were many other health benefits from drinking kombucha such as easing joint pain and high blood pressure etc. but there were not enough evidence to substantiate these claims.
We drank it for the good “bugs” that would aid in digestion.
Since I could not have dairy all the time, and other yogurt had not been the best tasting (I had tried coconut, soy and almond milk yogurt), kombucha was a good alternative.
DH liked the Bucha since it was sweeter, more added flavor with very low alcohol content.
I liked Synergy better as it was less sweet.
The kobucha flavor was more prominent and the company offered one high (black wrapping around the top) and one low alcohol version of their products.
Kombucha, however, were very expensive at the store.
I only bought them when they were on sale and it was still $3 a bottle for 16 oz.
I decided to look into brewing kombucha myself to reduce cost, and started research on home-brew kombucha.
I was looking into getting the “mother”, which was the bacteria/yeast mass for brewing, and a continuous system for brewing (similar to a water cooler with sprout to release brewed kombucha rather than batch by batch with lots of “mother” handling).
However, there was plenty concerns and warnings about keeping the brew within its desirable temperature range (74F to 84F) to discourage other harmful bacteria growth.
This desirable temperature range was really high for us in the NW.
My house was constantly heating at 68F.
I would have to purchase a heating mat for the brewing system – additional expense.
Furthermore, I could not quite figure out what I was going to do with the new mother from every new batch.
It could not be stored too long, and there were limited people I could give them away; I supposed I could sell them — but all seemed to be a hassle.
Then, when I went home to Hong Kong, my aunt introduced me to water kefir.
Similar idea to Kombucha, kefir were grains of bacteria and yeasts, and also provided probiotic benefits to human when we consumed it.
Some folks called the water kefir drink “the healthy soda”.
It was slightly bubbly tingling in the mouth, low in sugar, with a hint of tartness, alcohol and yeastiness.
There were milk-based kefir products at places such as Whole Foods in their dairy aisle.
The milk kefir and water kefir were different strains of bacteria and yeasts; and water kefir was attractive to me because it required no dairy.
All I need was sugar and water!
<…to be continued…>