Kombucha…what is it?

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Kombucha: you’ve heard of it, you’ve seen it, but do you know what it actually is?

If you’ve ever found yourself wandering through the beverage isle of Trader Joe’s, or dining at a trendy brunch place with your health-obsessed friend, you’ve more than likely come into contact with this well, interesting beverage.

Though a big trend on the shelves of grocery stores today, it’s surprising that kombucha has actually been around for thousands of years. But what is it, and what can it actually do for you? VALLEY is here to clear up any kombucha confusion you may be having.

So … what is it?

Kombucha is a fermented black or green tea commonly intended as a health beverage. Generally, kombucha is made up of three parts: tea, sugar (from various sources such as honey or cane sugar, or a fruit base), bacteria and yeast.

Yes, since it’s fermented it does contain traces of alcohol— as little as 0.5%. But fear not if you’re under 21, it’s still legal for you to purchase and consume.

The bacteria and yeast act as an amazing probiotic for the body, containing various beneficial vitamins and acids for the body. Also known as “mushroom tea”, healthy bacteria thrives within the “SCOBY”, or symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. Though an odd combination of ingredients, this naturally carbonated beverage is full of amazing health benefits for the body.

Photo by Mitchell Valentin

What are the health benefits?

After going through the fermentation process, kombucha is packed with various beneficial ingredients: vinegar, lactic acids, enzymes, probiotics and vitamins. Some of its benefits include:

  • A rich source of probiotics helping with digestion, inflammation within the body and even weight loss
  • Acts as a calorie burner, similarly to green tea
  • Bursting with antioxidants
  • Cleanser and detoxifier for the body
  • Immune support
  • Energy increaser (a healthier alternatives to caffeinated beverages)
What are some brands of kombucha?

Though typically purchased already made and sold in glass bottles, tea bags can also be purchased. Yogi Tea sells boxes of tea bags for a reasonable price if you’re looking for quantity. Other brands such as Synergy, Kombrewcha, Kevita and Brew Dr. Kombucha provide you with an already prepared beverage, typically found in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store.

Where can I find some in the State College area?

Kombucha is surprisingly easy to find within the State College area. Major chains such as Target, Walmart and Trader Joe’s keep it stocked on their shelves. Since it’s a fermented beverage, kombucha can also be found at various breweries and cafés. Since it has grown in popularity recently, it is easier to find than ever.

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