Kombucha: Types, Preparation and Health Benefits

Kombucha is a type of fermented tea that is made by adding a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, also known as a SCOBY, to sweetened tea. The SCOBY consumes the sugar in the tea and produces a variety of beneficial organic acids, probiotics, and other compounds.

Kombucha has been consumed for centuries and is believed to have originated in China. It has gained popularity in recent years as a health drink due to its potential health benefits, which include aiding digestion, boosting the immune system, and providing a source of antioxidants. Kombucha is often flavored with fruit or other natural ingredients and can be found in health food stores and some supermarkets.


Kombucha can be made with different types of tea and can be flavored in various ways. Here are some common types of kombucha:

  • Black tea kombucha: This is the most common type of kombucha, made with black tea and sugar.
  • Green tea kombucha: This type of kombucha is made with green tea instead of black tea. It has a milder flavor and is often less sour than black tea kombucha.
  • Herbal tea kombucha: Kombucha can also be made with herbal teas, such as mint, chamomile, or ginger tea. These teas can add unique flavors and health benefits to the kombucha.
  • Fruit-flavored kombucha: Kombucha can be flavored with fruit juices or purees, such as strawberry, raspberry, or mango. The fruit adds natural sweetness and flavor to the drink.
  • Spiced kombucha: Kombucha can also be flavored with spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, or cardamom. These spices add warmth and complexity to the drink.
  • Coffee kombucha: Some people make kombucha with coffee instead of tea. This type of kombucha has a bold, slightly bitter flavor and is often enjoyed with milk or cream.

Overall, the type of kombucha you choose to drink will depend on your personal taste preferences and the health benefits you’re looking for.

How is Kombucha Made?

Preparation of kombucha
An adult covering the jar with a cloth and securing

Kombucha is made through a process of fermentation, which involves adding a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) to sweetened tea. Here are the basic steps involved in making kombucha:

  1. Brew tea: Start by brewing a batch of tea using black tea, green tea, or a blend of the two. Use about 1 tea bag per cup of water, and let the tea steep for 10-15 minutes. Once the tea is brewed, remove the tea bags and add sugar to the hot tea, stirring until it dissolves. You’ll need about 1 cup of sugar per gallon of tea.
  2. Cool the tea: Once the sugar has dissolved, let the tea cool to room temperature. You don’t want to add the SCOBY to hot tea, as this can kill the beneficial bacteria and yeast.
  3. Add the SCOBY: Once the tea has cooled, transfer it to a glass jar or brewing vessel and add the SCOBY. The SCOBY will float on the surface of the tea.
  4. Ferment: Cover the jar with a cloth or coffee filter and secure it with a rubber band. This allows air to circulate while keeping out dust and insects. Place the jar in a warm, dark spot (70-80°F is ideal) and let it ferment for 7-10 days. During this time, the SCOBY will consume the sugar and produce organic acids, probiotics, and other beneficial compounds.
  5. Bottle and flavor: After 7-10 days, remove the SCOBY and reserve some of the liquid as a starter for your next batch of kombucha. Bottle the remaining liquid and flavor it with fruit juice, herbs, or other natural ingredients if desired.
  6. Carbonate: Leave the bottled kombucha at room temperature for another 1-3 days to allow it to carbonate. This process creates the fizzy texture that kombucha is known for.
  7. Refrigerate: Once the kombucha is carbonated to your liking, transfer it to the refrigerator to stop the fermentation process. It will keep for several weeks in the fridge and can be enjoyed chilled.

Health Benefits

Kombucha is often touted for its potential health benefits, although more research is needed to confirm many of these claims. Here are some of the reported health benefits of kombucha:

  • Probiotics: Kombucha is a rich source of probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that live in the gut and can improve digestion, boost the immune system, and promote overall health.
  • Antioxidants: Kombucha contains antioxidants, which are compounds that protect the body against damage from free radicals. This may help reduce inflammation and prevent chronic diseases.
  • Improved digestion: Kombucha may help improve digestion by promoting the growth of healthy gut bacteria and reducing inflammation in the gut.
  • Reduced risk of heart disease: Some studies suggest that kombucha may help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Improved mental health: There is some evidence to suggest that the probiotics in kombucha may have a positive effect on mental health, potentially reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Potential anti-cancer properties: Some studies have found that kombucha may have anti-cancer properties, although more research is needed to confirm this.

It’s important to note that while kombucha may have potential health benefits, it should not be considered a cure-all or a substitute for medical treatment. As with any new food or supplement, it’s best to talk to your doctor before adding kombucha to your diet.

What is the Best season to Enjoy Kombucha?

Kombucha can be enjoyed year-round, but it is especially popular during the summer months due to its refreshing and hydrating qualities. The tangy and slightly fizzy drink can help quench thirst on hot summer days and can be flavored with a variety of fruits and herbs for a delicious and healthy twist. That being said, kombucha can also be enjoyed during other seasons and can provide immune-boosting benefits during the cold and flu season. Ultimately, the best season for kombucha will depend on personal preference and individual health needs.


Kombucha is a fermented tea drink made from sweetened tea, yeast, and bacteria. The fermentation process produces a tangy, slightly fizzy drink that is often consumed for its potential health benefits, such as probiotics and antioxidants. Kombucha can be made with different types of tea and flavored in various ways, such as with fruit or spices. Some reported health benefits of kombucha include improved digestion, reduced inflammation, and potential anti-cancer properties, although more research is needed to confirm these claims. Kombucha is a great drink for summer and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, such as with fresh fruit or in a smoothie.