Kombucha is a fermented tea that is often drunk for medicinal purposes. There is limited scientific information supporting any health benefit and few studies are being conducted. Kombucha is available commercially and can be made at home by fermenting tea using a visible, solid mass of yeast and bacteria which forms the kombucha culture which is often referred to as the "mushroom" or the "mother".
Kombucha contains multiple species of yeast and bacteria, as well as the organic acids, active enzymes, amino acids, and polyphenols produced by those microbes.
For the home brewer, there is no way to know the quantities of each of the components unless a sample is sent to a laboratory. Finished kombucha may contain some of the following components, depending on the source and diversity of the culture:
- Acetic acid, which is mildly antibacterial
- Butyric acid
- Gluconic acid
- Lactic acid
- Malic acid
- Oxalic acid
- Usnic acid
- Ethyl alcohol
Recently Whole Foods worked with their kombucha suppliers to coordinate a voluntary removal of all kombucha drinks they sell. The motivation was a concern around slightly elevated alcohol levels in kombucha drinks. Damnit! I have gone to every health food store around, and alas - no kombucha to be found, anywhere. I'm going to scour the internet later and see if I can find anyone selling their stash!