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Here’s how kombucha went from being a trend to a staple health drink

By now you would’ve heard of the funky tasting tea that carries ample health benefits and is garnering converts one pour at a time. Kombucha may have arrived on the F&B landscape as yet another fad (remember turmeric lattes and charcoal everything?) but it has held its sway through the years as a popular diet, much like the avocado.

So what is it about Kombucha that made it go from hipster to hypermarket? With the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal, Lady Gaga, Madonna, and Orlando Bloom swearing by this fermented tea, here is all you need to know about this super drink and where to find it.

Kombucha with ginger and lime.

The Tea of Immortality

Roots as old as 2,000 years, Kombucha is said to have first appeared in China as the ‘Tea of Immortality’. Frequently sipped in Korea, Japan, and China. It travelled to Russia, eastern Europe, and Germany during the trade route expansion of the early 1900s. The modern age revival of the fermented tea came about in the 60s, with a Swiss study claiming it possesses the same health benefits as yoghurt. The second wave was in the 80s-90s in the United States when people started drinking Kombucha believing it to help combat diseases such as AIDS and cancer. While such medicinal properties remain unproven for humans, positive health results from lab tests on rats popularised the fizzy tea again at the turn of the millennium. And since then it has battled scepticism and a regulation crisis for its alcohol content — a stipulated less than 0.5 percent now — to become the much-liked drink it is today.

Constructing Kombucha

A base of either green or black tea, Kombucha is made by steeping tea in hot water with sugar. Once cooled, either a bit of white vinegar or leftover Kombucha is added to the sweetened tea. Finally, the SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) is added and the concoction is left to ferment for anywhere between 7-30 days. The final product is a fizzy, pungent drink brimming with probiotics, amino acids, and antioxidants. While the jury is still out on its prowess to counter serious ailments, regular drinkers claim that everyday consumption promises good gut health, better skin, cholesterol regulation, and improved blood pressure and diabetes.

The SCOBY being put into the sweetened tea.

With a plethora of options and exotic flavours at your disposal, it’s hard to miss Kombucha. Whether you like it or believe in its health benefits or not, the beverage is making its impact felt and is here to stay. It is certainly a great alternative to regular sodas anyway, so there’s no better time to take that sip than now.

All images: Courtesy Shutterstock

This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India.

Megha Uppal
Senior Associate Editor
An innate love for travel and food has translated into many a trips since childhood for Megha; it also fed her curiosity to know about local cultures. When not writing, she is on the lookout for three things: A great dark chocolate dessert, a beautiful pool where she can practice her backstroke, and art that she can save up for.
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