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All about kombucha

Tea is our favourite beverage. Hot, iced, or frozen in a TeaPop, you brew it, we'll drink it. Lately we've taken to researching kombucha at the DeeBee's offices.

Kombucha is fermented tea. We know: if a food is fermenting, you're probably more comfortable composting it than ingesting it; but fermented foods like kombucha and sauerkraut are not only safe to eat, they're packed with probiotics that support digestion  and they're tasty, too! While some folks think Kombucha is a new health trend, it is in an ancestral food that's been brewing for thousands of years, now making a comeback in mainstream media.

Here's how kombucha works: it begins with a sweetened tea. Now, if you're like us, and you aren't a fan of refined sugar, you can sweeten your tea with honey or a 100% juice, which also imparts flavour. Whatever the sweetener you add, it's for the culture to eat, not you; sugar is only added because it's the easiest ingredient for the culture to ferment. Without sugar, there is no fermentation; and without fermentation, there are no probiotics! After fermentation, the brew contains virtually no sugar (think 12 grams per eight ounces).

So, what's the culture, you ask? The tea is fermented with what's known as the "SCOBY." The SCOBY (which actually stands for "symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast") looks a little like phlegm (ew, we know!), but it transforms your everyday tea into a fizzy, tart, delightful (and healthful!) drink. The fermentation takes about 710 days, but you can save yourself the intricacies of fermenting your own kombucha and try flavours from your local grocer. But watch for sugars and juices added after the fermentation, or you could be in for an insulin high!

The health benefits of kombucha are endless. First and foremost, it is a probiotic, which supports digestion and, ahem, regularity. Kombucha also supports detoxification. While fermented tea isn't scientifically supported with the dozens of studies written about other health foods, everyday kombucha drinkers claim increased immunity and decreased sugar cravings, too. So why not be courageous and try something new in the world of tea today? You just may be courageous enough to drink the SCOBY, too.