For most eager to understand what is kombucha I will say that kombucha is a naturally carbonated drink with mythological features, millenial history and bright future!
The brief history of the drink begins like this:
My first touch with kombucha was in 2007. I was invited to head a small at that time food and innovative medicine firm. Then, in the portfolio of the company, I saw this strange drink in several flavors.
The company imported it for 1-2 years on the Bulgarian market and sold it with no great success. Soon I was convinced that the market is not ready for kombucha and closed this topic. This was a closed page for the company, until a community of people who wanted to live healthier or at least bother to choose what they eat and drink started to develop before my eyes few years later.
Then I realized that it was time for kombucha. It took me several months to find, summarize and analyze the scant information about that drink. Veiled in mystery and mysticism, this theme charmed me completely. The year was 2011. I ordered a culture from a certified manufacturer abroad.
I started to make kombucha at home in a 5-liter jar from my aunt Any’s pharmacy (снимка на буркана). Not long after I had a few jars with different types of kombucha. My wife and child (he was six years old then) were my first fans and critics. Of course, we could not drink so much kombucha and soon neighbors, friends and colleagues were drinking it on a regular basis.
We started to exchange ideas on what taste they like most. They were my first focus groups for which I am very grateful. Unexpectedly for myself, I saw how the kombucha theme is particularly interesting for most people. Believe me, during these first few years, I rarely met a person who had heard a word about it, not to mention for what it was used for…
Nevertheless, I could see the shine in their eyes when I told them about the beverage and even more when they had the opportunity to enjoy its mystique taste. So, in December 2012, with the help of many friends, colleagues, and finance from the company whose sales director I was, we bottled the first kombucha produced in Bulgaria under the brand name Kombucha Life.
And now I’ll tell you something in brief – for those of you who do not know what kombucha is.
Kombucha comes from ancient times. The first materials about it were found about 2000 years ago in China. There are several names under which it is known, but the most popular are “Kombucha”, “Kombuha” or “Tea kvass”. Nobody knows how this symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts has been born, but it is a gift from the nature – the same as lactic acid bacteria that ferment yoghurt and cheese.
In fact, kombucha belongs to the fermented beverages because it is a fermented, naturally carbonated drink. It is obtained from the fermentation of sweetened tea (usually green or black) with the kombucha culture. The name of this culture is SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast). The drink is sweet and sour, natural carbonated, slightly turbid, rich in enzymes, probiotics, acetic and lactic acid bacteria, yeast, B-group vitamins and vitamin C. More and more people became aware of the benefits of fermented foods and beverages, because through them we naturally obtain active substances that are important for the digestion and overall health of the gastrointestinal tract.
It may look strange, but kombucha appears on the Old Continent relatively late – in the early 20th century. Russian scientists studied some parts of Asian Russia because they observed that among the population there cancer was extremely rare. Examining the living and being of the locals, they found that in every home there was a pot with a strange “sponge” that resembles a jelly-like disc and a drink that local people worships.
It is the Russians who made the first official studies on the beverage in 1914-1916 and found that despite its sour taste, the drink had an alkalizing effect and perhaps its regular intake can alkalize the tissues and thus prevent or reduce the risk of cancer. During the Second World War, the sponge reaches Germany, where, in the 1950s, numerous studies were conducted and the beverage was recorded in the German Pharmacopoeia with the following benefits: tissue alkalization, improved function of glands with internal secretion and powerful digestive effect.
Kombucha has many health benefits – I will tell you about them separately, but they all are in the direction of the above-mentioned three areas. If you read somewhere that it helps with hair loss, do not believe it. I have drunk tons of kombucha and my hair has not grown, but it is the most powerful anti-hangover remedy I’ve ever used. Imagine – it is stronger than cabbage juice (another fermented drink!) and you can drink it in public places without the risk of someone asking you to leave the room.
After the 1950s, there was a complete silence around kombucha. Then, in the 1990s, a German immigrated to the United States, carrying his own “sponge”. This story may be a legend, but if that German exists we all should be grateful to him because he is the reason we currently have this drink and its benefits. Last but not least this is one of the best fast growing business segment