Day 6 – Kombucha and its history!

So yesterday I posted about Jun, a similar fermented drink to Kombucha with a mysterious history, Though through research where there is a little more bread crumbs of Kombuchas origins its also quiet a mystery but is less of a mystery then Jun! But any-who lets get to it!! ūüôā

 

Kombucha aka “tea mushroom, or Manchurian mushroom” or its formal name¬†Medusomyces gisevii, is a variety of fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea drinks commonly intended as functional beverages for their raved health benefits.¬†Kombucha is produced by fermenting tea using a Scoby.

  • Symbiotic
  • Culture
  • Of
  • Bacteria and
  • Yeast

Actual contributing microbial populations in scoby cultures vary, but the yeast component generally includes  Saccharomyces cerevisiae and other species; and, the bacterial component almost always includes Gluconacetobacter to oxidize yeast-produced alcohols to Acetic and other acids

Many sources have linked drinking kombucha to health benefits, although presently, there is little or no scientific evidence addressing these claims. But thousands swear by the drink.

There are rare documented cases of serious adverse effects, including fatalities, related to kombucha drinking, possibly arising from contamination during home preparation. Since the mostly unclear benefits of kombucha drinking do not outweigh the known risks, it is not recommended for therapeutic use. Kombucha tea made with less sugar may be unappealing.

The exact origins of kombucha are not known. It is said to have originated in what is now Manchuria, and was traditionally used primarily in that region, Russia, and eastern Europe. Kombucha is home-brewed globally!!

Biologically

A kombucha scoby¬†similar to¬†Mother of vinegar, containing one or more species each of bacteria and yeasts, which form a¬†¬†zoogleal mat¬†¬†known as a “mother.”¬†The cultures may contain one or more of the¬†yeasts¬†Saccharomyces cerevisiae,¬†Brettanomyces bruxellensis,¬†Candida stellata,¬†Schizosaccharomyces pombe,¬†and¬†Zygosaccharomyces bailii.¬†

 

The bacterial component of kombucha comprises several species, almost always including Gluconacetobacter xylinus (G. xylinus, formerly Acetobacter xylinum), which ferments alcohols produced by the yeasts into acetic and other acids, increasing the acidity and limiting ethanol content.

The population of bacteria and yeasts found to produce acetic acid has been reported to increase for the first 4 days of fermentation, decreasing thereafter.

G. xylinus¬†has been shown to produce microbial¬†cellulose, and is reportedly responsible for most or all of the physical structure of the “mother”, which may have been selectively encouraged over time for firmer (denser) and more robust cultures by brewers.

The mixed, presumably symbiotic culture has been further described as being lichenous, in accord with the reported presence of the known lichenous natural product usnic acid, though as of 2015, no report appears indicating the standard cyanobacterial species of lichens in association with kombucha fungal components.

History

The exact origins of kombucha are not known, although Manchuria is commonly cited as a likely place of origin.  It may have originated as recently as 200 years ago or as long as 2000 years ago. The drink is reported to have been consumed in east Russia at least as early as 1900, and from there entered Europe.  In 1913, kombucha was first mentioned in German literature. Its consumption increased in the United States during the early 21st century.  Having an alcohol content of about 0.5%, kombucha is a federally regulated beverage in the United States, a factor that affected its commercial development in 2015.

Etymology

The word¬†kombucha¬†is of uncertain¬†etymology, but may be a case of a misapplied¬†loanword¬†from Japanese.¬†In Japanese, the term¬†kombucha¬†(śėÜŚłÉŤĆ∂, “kelp tea”)¬†refers to a completely different beverage, the¬†kelp tea, made from dried and powdered¬†kombu¬†(an edible¬†kelp¬†from the¬†Laminariaceae family). The term for the fermented tea in Japanese, is¬†kŇćcha kinoko¬†(ÁīÖŤĆ∂„ā≠„Éé„ā≥, “fungus tea”).¬†The¬†American Heritage Dictionary¬†suggests that it is probably from the “Japanese¬†kombucha, tea made from¬†kombu¬†(the Japanese word for¬†kelp¬†perhaps being used by English speakers to designate fermented tea due to confusion or because the thick gelatinous film produced by the¬†kombucha culture¬†was thought to resemble seaweed).¬†Writings about the beverage in Japanese generally take the point of view that the Japanese word ‘kombucha’ was mistakenly applied in English to what Japanese call “kocha kinoko.”

Kombucha has about 80 other names worldwide.¬†A 1965 mycological study called kombucha “tea fungus” and listed other names: “teeschwamm, Japanese or Indonesian tea fungus, kombucha, wunderpilz, hongo, cajnij, fungus japonicus, and teekwass”.¬†Some further spellings and synonyms include combucha and tschambucco, haipao, kargasok tea, kwassan, Manchurian fungus or mushroom, spumonto, as well as the misnomers¬†champagne¬†of life, and¬†chai¬†from the sea.

 

Hope your guys found this informative, have a great day!

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