Skip Nav
Watermelon Rose Sangria Recipe
Summer
Vibrantly Sip Summer With a Watermelon Sangria
Ina Garten Shares How to Cut Corn on the Cob
Ina Garten
The Simple Trick Ina Garten Uses to Cut Corn on the Cob Without Making a Mess
Aldi Wine Advent Calendar Available in the US
ALDI
OMG, Aldi Is Bringing Its Wine Advent Calendar to the US This Year — Mark Your Calendars!

What Is Kombucha?

What Is Kombucha, Anyway?

Kombucha, once a product with a small but devoted following, has surged so much in popularity that it's largely left behind its crunchy reputation. No longer only available at health stores, it's now even stocked at some drugstores. But what is it exactly, and what's all the fuss?

The short answer: kombucha is a fermented, probiotic tea that's tart, lightly sweetened, and slightly effervescent.

The long answer: Whether homemade or store-bought, kombucha gets its characteristic tang and effervescence from a fermentation process somewhat similar to brewing vinegar. Tea, sweetener, a SCOBY (short for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), and flavor additives like fruit juice or ginger are combined and fermented in a process that lasts about 10 days.

ADVERTISEMENT

Though made with yeast, kombucha is only mildly alcoholic — most brews are no more than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume. The yeast component of the SCOBY works in concert with bacteria, with some of the sweetener converting into alcohol (from yeast activity) and some into acetic acid (from bacterial activity), resulting in a product that's not overwhelmingly alcoholic, tart, or sweet.

Despite a relatively recent surge in popularity, kombucha is believed to have been first made around the time that tea plants were first cultivated in ancient China. It spread to other regions of Asia, Eastern Europe, and Russia, where it's called tea kvass. Some consume it for its purported health benefits, while others enjoy it purely for its fizz and mouthwatering acidity. Available in a wide range of flavors and degrees of acidity, there's a bottle to please nearly any palate.

Photos: Nicole Perry; Instagram user beton93
From Our Partners
Ina Garten Shares How to Cut Corn on the Cob
How to Cook Zucchini Noodles
The Right Way to Cook Things
How to Frost Cupcakes Like a Rose
Gordon Ramsay's Scrambled Eggs Recipe With Pictures
How to Grill Hot Dogs
How to Freeze Bread
How to Reheat Rice
How to Grill Pizza
Spaghetti With Garlic, Olive Oil, and Chili Flakes
The Difference Between Sorbet, Sherbet, and Sherbert
Burning Question: Why Does Pineapple Irritate Your Mouth?
From Our Partners
Latest Recipes, Menus, Food & Wine
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds