FAQ

Tea (Carmelia sinensis) plant.
  1. What Do Extremely Alive Wellness Tonics Contain?
  2. What Is Kombucha?
  3. Where Does Kombucha Come From?
  4. What Are Kombucha’s Health Benefits?
  5. How Is Kombucha Made?
  6. How Do I Brew My Own Kombucha?
  7. Where Do I Get a SCOBY?

What Do Extremely Alive Wellness Tonics Contain?

Extremely Alive Wellness Tonics are made with aged kombucha vinegar made with Beautiful Water, organic tea and organic sugar. The fermentation process leads to the breaking down of sugars into acids and alcohol and the microbial production of compounds such as pyridoxine, vitamin B12, folic acid and biotin, and the biological enrichment of polyphenols and other compounds naturally present in the tea. The final brew contains a complex mixture of organic acids, ethanol, tea polyphenols, fibre, lysine and other amino acids, along with water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C, and B-vitamins, folic acid and essential elements such as copper, iron, manganese, nickel, zinc, as well as carbon dioxide, antibiotic substances and hydrolytic enzymes [1-3].

The kombucha vinegar used for Extremely Alive Wellness Tonics has been left to ferment to the point where all the sugar and alcohol have been consumed and turned into organic acids. The aged vinegar is then imbued with a range of leaves, fruits, flowers, roots and fungi, which infuse the brew with their own unique phytochemical properties. This process leaves a stable, highly acidic vinegar that is sugar and alcohol-free, yet still contain living microbes and a potent mix of phytochemicals and bioactive compounds that are ready to resume fermentation when given the right conditions.

What Is Kombucha?

Kombucha is sweetened tea fermented with a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) to produce a tart, acidic, naturally carbonated and slightly alcoholic beverage. Kombucha is traditionally made with black or green tea from the plant Camelia sinensis sweetened with sugar and is distinct from kefir, which is made using either water, milk or coconut, or jun, which is green tea fermented with honey.

The natural complexity of kombucha made with a primary ferment of black or green tea can be enhanced by adding different combinations of juices, spices, fruits and medicinal herbs to a secondary ferment. The fermentation process can also be adjusted according to taste, pH, effervescence, sugar and alcohol content and the medicinal properties of different brews can be adjusted using specific herbs to imbue the final brew with desirable flavours and therapeutic properties. These properties also vary with the quality of water and starter-culture used, as well as the temperature and timing of fermentation.

There are many informative online do-it-yourself guides and resources on kombucha such as kombuchakamp.com, as well as many scientific reviews that include general reviews [1, 3, 6-8], reviews of its production [9], chemical constituents, microbiological composition [1, 10-12], biological effects and health benefits [5, 13].

Where Does Kombucha Come From?

Kombucha is said to have arisen in a tea growing region of ancient Manchuria, when it was discovered sweet tea can be fermented at room temperature to create a slightly alcoholic, naturally effervescent beverage that preserves well and makes the drinker feel wonderful.

With its complex mixture of sweet and tart flavours, natural fizziness and numerous health benefits, ‘Manchurian tea’ or ‘kombucha’ was touted as the “Tea of Immortality” and “Elixir of Life”. Kombucha is said to have travelled the silk road with the armies of Genghis Khan and then spread throughout Russia and Europe. Brewing then became the domain of ‘ale wives’, who used their knowledge of herbs, cooking and the art of fermentation to brew beer along with a range of medicinal potions and fermented drinks with the power to intoxicate and heal.

While the war on ‘witches’ and ‘witchcraft’ in the middle ages led to traditional brewing knowledge and medicinal lore being lost, the practice of using living microbial cultures and herbs to enhance and preserve foods was retained through the arts of pickling, brewing and fermentation. These practices led to the symbiotic evolution of herbs, humans and microbes and the passing of microbial cultures across generations that continues today with kombucha and other living products.

What Are Kombucha’s Health Benefits?

Kombucha’s reputation for improving general and gastrointestinal health, strengthening the immune system, and preventing a broad-spectrum of metabolic and infective disorders, has led to it be the world’s fastest growing functional beverage [4].

The health effects of kombucha which include assisting detoxification, antioxidation, energy metabolism and immunity [14], have been scientifically studied using in vitro and in vivo research involving rats, mice, rabbits, ducks, dogs, pigs, cattle, broiler chickens, and human peripheral blood lymphocytes [5]. This research suggests kombucha promotes health and recovery by improving liver, gastrointestinal and immune function, inhibiting the development and progression of cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative diseases, normalising blood sugar and central nervous system function [15] and reducing inflammation and having a favourable effect on the skin, hair and nails [3].

While controlled clinical trials of kombucha in humans are yet to be done, an uncontrolled human trial found that daily consumption of 60 mL of kombucha for 90 days was associated with normalized blood sugar values in 24 subjects with non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, [5]. It seems that the medical industry aren’t willing to invest in clinical studies of a medicinal product that is not patent-protected and can be cheaply produced almost anywhere.

How Is Kombucha Made?

Kombucha is made from a base brew of tea, water, sugar and a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast), which contains yeast that anaerobically consumes sugar to produce alcohol and acid-loving bacteria that aerobically consumes alcohol to produce glucuronic, gluconic and acetic acids. The bacteria also produce a cellulose biofilm called a pellicle or ‘tea mushroom’ that restricts air to the yeast. This keeps the yeast metabolising anaerobically, while allowing the bacteria to float on top and maintain aerobic metabolism with access to air.

Kombucha is a unique phenomenon in the drinks industry because you can make it yourself and essentially brew your own fermented, naturally carbonated, slightly alcoholic beverages at home, simply by obtaining a SCOBY and feeding it sweet tea. A primary ferment can be further modified with a secondary fermentation process that includes medicinal fruits, flowers, leaves, roots and fungi to produce medicinal tonics with a multitude of flavours and desirable biological properties. Perhaps the best thing about kombucha is that it is alive and generative so you can keep nurturing a kombucha SCOBY and giving it away and infect your friends and family with good health without ever depleting your own supply.

How Do I Brew My Own Kombucha?

Kombucha is very easy to brew. All you need is a SCOBY that you can keep in a warm well-ventilated area and feed sweet tea. A SCOBY is easy to look after. The ideal temperature for brewing kombucha is a comfortable room temperature of around 22-23 degrees, however SCOBYs will tolerate temperatures up to 38 degrees Celsius and it can be kept dormant for long periods by placing them in the fridge or cool place and allowing the sugars to be fully consumed. The fermentation process an then be restarted by rewarming the SCOBY and feeing it more sugar and tea.

Where Do I Get a SCOBY?

Each 40ml jar of Extremely Alive Wellness Tonic contains a living concoction of bacteria and yeast that can be used as a starter culture and fed with sweet tea to produce your own kombucha. You can also order packs of medicinal herbs or add your own herbal blends to the secondary ferment and brew your own tonics. Perhaps the best way to get a SCOBY is to be given one by a friend who can tell you it’s history and microbial geneology. In this way you will know more about the living culture and have a greater connection with your own brew, as well as having a story to tell when you give some SCOBY to others.

Bacteria and yeast are everywhere and it is possible to create your own wild-ferment and SCOBYs can be bought online or obtained from a quality commercial kombucha containing a living brew. To tell if a kombucha is alive, simply leave it in a warm ventilated place for a few days to see if it forms a SCOBY. If it does, you can then feed it with sweet tea, increasing its volume by 5 to 8 times on each occasion and keep growing it forever.

References

Included are all references highlighted throughout the FAQ.

  1. Jayabalan, R., et al., A Review on Kombucha Tea—Microbiology, Composition, Fermentation, Beneficial Effects, Toxicity, and Tea Fungus. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 2014. 13(4): p. 538-550.
  2. Miranda, B., et al., Titration and HPLC Characterization of Kombucha Fermentation: A Laboratory Experiment in Food Analysis. Journal of Chemical Education, 2016. 93(10): p. 1770-1775.
  3. Kaczmarczyk, D. and S. Lochyński, Products of biotransformation of tea infusion – Properties and application. Polish Journal of Natural Sciences, 2014. 29(4): p. 381- 392.
  4. Troitino, C. Kombucha 101: demystifying the past, present and future of the fermented tea drink. 2018.
  5. Kapp, J.M. and W. Sumner, Kombucha: a systematic review of the empirical evidenceof human health benefit. Ann Epidemiol, 2019. 30: p. 66-70.
  6. Villarreal-Soto, S.A., et al., Understanding Kombucha Tea Fermentation: A Review. J Food Sci, 2018. 83(3): p. 580-588.
  7. Chandrakala, S.K., R.O. Lobo, and F.O. Dias, 16 – Kombucha (Bio-Tea): An Elixir for Life?, in Nutrients in Beverages, A.M. Grumezescu and A.M. Holban, Editors. 2019, Academic Press. p. 591-616.
  8. Sinir, G.Ö., C.E. Tamer, and S. Suna, 10 – Kombucha Tea: A Promising Fermented Functional Beverage, in Fermented Beverages, A.M. Grumezescu and A.M. Holban, Editors. 2019, Woodhead Publishing. p. 401-432.
  9. Emiljanowicz, K.E. and E. Malinowska-Pańczyk, Kombucha from alternative raw materials – The review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 2019: p. 1-10.
  10. Ivanišová, E., et al., The evaluation of chemical, antioxidant, antimicrobial and sensory properties of kombucha tea beverage. J Food Sci Technol, 2020. 57(5): p. 1840-1846.
  11. Jakubczyk, K., et al., Chemical Profile and Antioxidant Activity of the Kombucha Beverage Derived from White, Green, Black and Red Tea. Antioxidants (Basel), 2020. 9(5).
  12. Jayabalan, R., S. Marimuthu, and K. Swaminathan, Changes in content of organic acids and tea polyphenols during kombucha tea fermentation. Food Chem., 2007. 102: p. 392.
  13. Ernst, E., Kombucha: a systematic review of the clinical evidence. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd, 2003. 10(2): p. 85-7.
  14. Vīna, I., et al., Current evidence on physiological activity and expected health effects of kombucha fermented beverage. J Med Food, 2014. 17(2): p. 179-88.
  15. Baschali, A., et al., Traditional low-alcoholic and non-alcoholic fermented beverages consumed in European countries: a neglected food group. Nutr Res Rev, 2017. 30(1): p. 1-24.