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Travel Photo of the Day: Kombucha

Travel Photo of the Day: Kombucha

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Kombucha brewing has become a health-conscious trend in recent years


In addition to homebrewed-beer, another DIY beverage trend that has developed a following in the States recent years is kombucha.

Click here to see the Travel Photo of the Day Slideshow!

This hyped, fizzy, pungent tea has roots in East Asia, as well as a stint as a popular drink in 19th century Russia. There are different variations of the basic kombucha recipe (see the black berry infused tea above), which basically requires the use of a “mother.” This bit of fermented tea facilitates the growth of a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast that feed on sugars and give the beverage its iconic effervescence.

Drinkers oftentimes tout the health benefits of this brew, but according to Mayo Clinic, “there’s no scientific evidence to support…health claims.” On the other hand, there have been reports of “adverse effects” related to nonsterile brewing conditions. So, in short, know your kombucha’s origins before sipping.

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How to Make Your Own Kombucha at Home

Get the lowdown on exactly what kombucha is, why it's good for your health and how to make it at home (plus a list of everything you'll need to make it).

Kombucha has made a splash as a health-promoting beverage in the last decade. This fizzy probiotic fermented tea has quickly gone from niche to mainstream, showing up in grocery stores and on tap at restaurants and trendy bars. But kombucha is an age-old drink that&aposs easy to brew at home. Making kombucha is simple and only takes a few minutes of hands-on time. Best of all, the homemade brew is much cheaper than store-bought kombucha! Here&aposs all you need to know to make kombucha at home.

Get the full recipe: Homemade Kombucha

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a fizzy probiotic beverage that&aposs made by fermenting sweet tea using a kombucha culture called SCOBY: that&aposs an acronym for "symbiotic cultures of bacteria and yeast."

During the fermentation, the SCOBY eats the sugars, tannic acid and caffeine in the tea, transforming it into a lightly carbonated, tart beverage. The flavor is similar to a mild hard cider, though the drink is nonalcoholic (kombucha does contain trace amounts of alcohol, but only about 0.5% per serving). It&aposs also touted to have health benefits including improved digestion/gut health and elevated energy, but there haven&apost been enough studies done on humans to back up the claims.

What is SCOBY?

At first, it&aposs easy to be wary of the kombucha SCOBY: it&aposs a slimy, living culture that floats in the jar of kombucha during fermentation. However, there&aposs nothing to fear! The SCOBY is perfectly safe to touch, and it&aposs what makes the magic of kombucha possible. Take good care of your SCOBY, and you&aposll be brewing for years.

Here's What Happens When You Drink 2 Gallons of Kombucha a Day

The first thing GT Dave does every day is drink kombucha. This might seem like an exercise in branding for the founder and CEO of the world’s most successful kombucha company. But the 39-year-old Californian, who lives in Trousdale and grew up in Bel Air, is serious about GT’s Kombucha, the company that launched the probiotic beverage into the mainstream and made him a fortune.

“What I love about kombucha, when you consume it in the morning, is it kind of establishes a nice solid foundation for your stomach and gut and appetite for the rest of the day,” he says. This is just the beginning of the one-and-a-half-to-two gallons of fermented tea he drinks every day.

After his morning kombucha and meditation, GT Dave (Yes, this is his full name) makes a smoothie. He starts with a blended cold-pressed juice (he likes the spicy greens) from his Juicero—a $700 juicer popular among the Silicon Valley set—before he piles in coco kefir (young, raw coconut water rich in probiotics), chia seeds, spirulina, raw bee pollen, a frozen banana, blueberries or raspberries if he has some, Plant Fusion pea protein powder, and, depending on the season, whatever fruit he can find at the market. The day we spoke, it was Fuyu persimmons.

GT Dave's products include kombucha as well as a new line of coconut-based probiotic drinks.

Photo by Nitsa Citrine and Tasya van Ree

If this all sounds like a bit much, it’s not lost on GT, who, despite his success, is modest and self deprecating. “Yeah, it’s a lot!” he says, laughing. “I’ve nicknamed them my ten-dollar smoothies.”

GT’s origin story is well known: When his mother was diagnosed with cancer in 1995, the disease didn’t spread nearly as fast as doctors expected. It was, as he says, because of the “pungent tea” her husband had been homebrewing. So a teenage GT—short for George Thomas—took his father’s hobby a step further and started brewing and bottling kombucha in his parents’ kitchen then selling it to health-food stores across L.A. Now his company brews 29 flavors and over one million bottles a year out of a 100,000-square-foot campus in Vernon, southeast of downtown L.A. You can find GT’s Kombucha at Whole Foods and other grocery stores, not to mention gas stations, airports, and gyms.

Kombucha aficionados will tell you that the drink can stave off cancer, boost your immune system, and help detox your system. The truth is, there’s no scientific evidence proving its health benefits or curative properties. But kombucha is rich in probiotics, which have been shown to improve gut health.

The gym, he says, is one of his “two non-negotiables” for every workday: the other is tasting new batches of kombucha coming off the line.

After breakfast, GT heads to the Equinox on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. That part is not surprising. What’s unusual—and, again, GT will be the first to tell you how quirky he is—is that he showers before going to the gym.

“I do it because, to be completely candid, it's a little distracting to smell yourself while you're working out,” he says. “If you start to feel that there's body odor coming on it can be, at least for me, somewhat distracting. I like to start my workout with not only a fresh smell but also a fresh body so that all my perspiration is clean and not funky.”

GT never likes to get complacent with his fitness: ”Your body can easily fall into a routine, and you'll notice that you're no longer breaking through that invisible ceiling,” he says. So he’s always switching up his workout of choice: kickboxing, circuit training, body-weight exercises, weekend hikes through Runyon Canyon.

And he never misses a workout. He has the discipline of a Marine. One hour at the Equinox on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. Every morning. (He rarely travels for work.) It is, he says, one of his “two non-negotiables” for every workday: the other is tasting new batches of kombucha coming off the line.

“I don't really like to eat with people,” he says. “You're almost eating air when you’re talking and eating at the same time. It can create indigestion.”

He spends his afternoons running all over the Vernon campus. On the factory floor, GT tastes both the raw kombucha—straight from the fermentation tank—and the finished product.

“I see the products we make as a lot like my children,” he says, before pausing for a very long time. “It's like the father coming home and just wanting to kiss the son or daughter on the forehead before he goes to bed. You just want to see them, otherwise you feel like you're an absentee parent.”

GT favors bland, calorie-dense lunches—oatmeal, bran cereals—that keep his palate clean for kombucha. And he outright refuses to take lunch meetings.

GT Dave outside his Trousdale home.

Photo by Nitsa Citrine and Tasya van Ree

“I don't really like to eat with people,” he says. “You're almost eating air when you’re talking and eating at the same time. It can create indigestion.”

For dinner, GT likes to order from The Springs or Café Gratitude. He prefers dark leafy greens and colorful vegetables and avoids grains at all costs—the heaviest thing he’ll have after lunch is yams—because he doesn’t like to go to bed with a full stomach.

And, no, GT doesn’t drink (though his kombucha does have trace amounts of alcohol). “I don't have anything against alcohol,” he says. “It's just that I'm somebody who really loves and appreciates clarity. Like a clear mind and clear eyes and all of that.” But, since you’re asking, he does recommend using his kombucha as a mixer if you’re looking for what GT’s friends tell him is a “clear buzz.” Cranberry is good with vodka or gin, he says, and GT’s Gingerberry makes an excellent Moscow Mule.

No nightcaps for GT Dave. He often works late—he’s known to pass some of the people working the graveyard shift at GT HQ—but he never sacrifices sleep. “When my workload is volatile, I always get eight hours of sleep,” he says. And when the sun rises at his Trousdale home the next morning, there is another fresh glass of kombucha, ready to get the day started right.

What are the health benefits of kombucha?

Kombucha is a sweet, fizzy fermented tea. Many people use it as a health drink, but does it really have any health benefits?

Kombucha contains probiotic, or friendly, bacteria. These microorganisms are known to boost a person’s health.

Because of this, there is some evidence to suggest that kombucha has a range of health benefits, including benefits for gut health, mental health, infection risk, and liver health. That said, more research is necessary to confirm these benefits.

This article will explore the scientific evidence behind some of the possible health benefits of kombucha.

Kombucha is a sweet, fizzy drink made from bacteria, yeast, sugar, and tea. It is usually a yellow-orange color and has a slightly sour taste.

To make kombucha, a person can ferment sweetened green or black tea with a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). During the fermentation process, the yeast in the SCOBY breaks down the sugar in the tea and releases friendly probiotic bacteria.

Kombucha becomes carbonated after fermentation, which is why the drink is fizzy.

In recent years, people have started using kombucha as a healthful alternative to conventional fizzy drinks and sodas.

Some studies suggest that probiotic bacteria, such as those in kombucha, have various health benefits.

The sections below will look at these potential health benefits and what the research currently says.

Gut health

Some research suggests that kombucha, like other fermented foods, is rich in probiotics. Probiotic bacteria are similar to the friendly bacteria that are present in the gut.

Eating a diet that contains probiotics may help improve a person’s overall gut health. Probiotics may work by helping the body maintain a healthy community of microorganisms.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, there is some evidence to suggest that probiotics could help with the following:

It is important to remember that these benefits are mostly related to probiotic supplements, not foods and beverages that contain probiotics.

More research into how kombucha improves gut health is necessary, but the association between the two suggests that it may support the digestive system.

There is a clear link between gut health and immune system function. Research suggests that having a healthy balance of gut bacteria can promote immune health.

Consuming a healthful diet high in probiotic-rich foods and beverages may help improve gut health.

Infection risk

When kombucha ferments, the process produces a type of acid called acetic acid, which is also present in vinegar. Research suggests that acetic acid has antimicrobial properties.

Other studies suggest that kombucha is an antimicrobial, which means that it may be able to kill microbes and help fight a range of bacteria.

This suggests that it may help prevent infections by killing the bacteria that cause them before the body absorbs them.

However, research has not confirmed this effect in humans.

Mental health

Drinking probiotic-rich kombucha could help promote positive mental health. Indeed, according to some sources, there may be a link between probiotics and depression.

There are strong links between depression and inflammation, so the anti-inflammatory effect of kombucha may help alleviate some symptoms of depression.

A 2017 review looked at a number of existing studies and concluded that there is strong evidence to suggest that probiotic supplements may help relieve depression. That said, further research is necessary to prove how effective they are for this purpose.

However, although some research suggests that consuming probiotic-rich foods and beverages may benefit mental health, no studies have yet shown that drinking kombucha specifically can help boost mood, improve depressive symptoms, or benefit any other aspect of mental health.

Heart disease

Having elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels may increase the risk of heart disease.

A 2015 study suggests that kombucha could help reduce the levels of cholesterol linked to heart disease in rats, and other research suggests that probiotic supplements could help reduce cardiovascular disease risk.

It is important to note that effects in rats do not necessarily reflect the effects in humans. More research is necessary to confirm whether or not kombucha can reduce the risk of heart disease in humans.

Diet, exercise, weight, lifestyle habits, and inflammation also influence cholesterol levels and heart disease risk.

Liver health

Kombucha contains antioxidants that help fight molecules in the body that can damage cells.

Some research, including a study from 2014 , suggests that consuming antioxidant-rich kombucha may help protect against drug-induced liver damage in animals.

This suggests that kombucha may play a role in promoting liver health and reducing liver inflammation.

However, there is currently no evidence suggesting that drinking kombucha benefits liver health in humans.

Type 2 diabetes management

There is also some evidence to suggest that kombucha may also be helpful in managing type 2 diabetes, though only in animal studies.

For example, a 2012 study found that kombucha helped manage blood sugar levels in rats with diabetes.

That said, there is currently no evidence to suggest that kombucha is effective for reducing blood sugar levels in humans.

What is more, most kombucha drinks are high in added sugar, which can increase blood sugar levels. Drinking sweetened beverages such as kombucha can worsen blood sugar control in people with diabetes.

To make this beverage at home, people can make their own SCOBY by heating up and mixing together water, sugar, black or green tea, and premade kombucha.

Once the SCOBY is ready, let it sit in sweetened tea, at room temperature, for a week or more. Attach a cloth over the top of the jar with elastic, instead of a lid, to allow the SCOBY to breathe.

The kombucha will be ready to consume in 6–12 days based on a person’s taste preference the longer it sits, the less sweet it will become.

Friday Is National Tequila Day &mdash Here Are 13 Cocktail Recipes to Celebrate

Raise a glass to National Tequila Day with these cocktail recipes.

July 24 is National Tequila Day, and while you might not be able to visit the small town in Jalisco, Mexico, for which the spirit is named, you can mix up a delicious tequila cocktail at home and dream of your next vacation. Tequila, made from blue agave, has been distilled and enjoyed in Mexico for hundreds of years, and it has become increasingly popular in the United States in the past two decades.

In fact, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, 𠇊mericans cannot get enough of Mexico’s native spirit.” Since 2002, tequila has become even more popular in the United States, with volumes growing 180 percent in the last 18 years.

There are three popular types of tequila: blanco, which is clear and unaged, reposado, which is aged between two and 12 months and usually has a gold color, and a༞jo, which is aged one to three years. There’s also extra a༞jo, which is aged over three years, and joven tequila, which typically combines different types of tequila or flavorings to get its gold color. Whatever you have in your cabinet or on your bar cart, we’ve got you covered.

We’ve rounded up classic tequila cocktail recipes, as well as inventive, new drinks from newcomers to the tequila market, including Teremana Tequila, founded by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Cincoro Tequila, created by Michael Jordan and four other NBA team owners.

Of course, we also have tequila cocktails from brands who have been creating the spirit for hundreds of years, including Hacienda Corralejo. Ray Ramos, director of Hacienda Corralejo, says, "Tequila is one of Mexico’s biggest assets — culturally and beyond. For nearly 250 years, the distillation methods of Hacienda Corralejo have been preserved, refined, and developed by our local community into a tradition of tequila.”

Here are 13 tequila cocktails to make this National Tequila Day. And, as always, enjoy responsibly!

Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add sugar, and stir until sugar completely dissolves. Turn off heat. Add tea bags, and allow mixture to come to room temperature (add ice to speed this process if you're in a hurry).

Pour kombucha into a 1-gallon-sized jar. Add room-temperature tea do not add hot tea, as it will kill the good bacteria. Add cool water to fill jar to the top, just where the mouth starts to narrow. Cover jar with two coffee filters or a double layer of paper towels, and secure with a rubber band. Place jar in a place, at room temperature, where it won't get jostled and it's out of direct sunlight it does not need to go in a dark place, just out of direct sun.

It will probably take 2 to 4 weeks for your SCOBY to form. You can lift the covering to see what's happening—just try not to slosh the liquid at all. At first, nothing will happen then, after a few days, you'll see some bubbles forming on the surface. Then you'll see more and more bubbles, and maybe a thin, clear jellyfish-looking blob on the surface. Once the blob covers the surface, is opaque, and is roughly ¼-inch thick, you have a viable SCOBY.

  • 3 1/2 quarts water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 bags black tea
  • 2 bags green tea
  • 1 cup starter tea (prepared Kombucha)
  • 1 gallon jar
  • 5 (16-ounce) glass airtight bottles
  • 1 clean plastic bottle
  • 6 tablespoons cherry juice
  • 12 basil leaves

In a large saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Add black and green tea bags, and remove from heat. Let steep 15 minutes. Remove tea bags, and let sit until cool, about 30 minutes.

Pour cooled tea into gallon jar. Add starter tea and SCOBY. Cover jar with paper towels, and seal with rubber band.

Set aside, covered, for 7 days at 70°F out of direct sunlight.

Pour tea into 5 glass bottles and 1 plastic bottle through a funnel. Add 1 tablespoon cherry juice and 2 basil leaves per bottle. Seal and set aside at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. When the plastic bottle feels tight to the touch, the kombucha is ready to be consumed.

Chef's Notes

* Estimating carbohydrates, sugar numbers, and calories for homemade kombucha is tricky. The final numbers depend on how long you ferment and the "activity level" of your SCOBY. The longer you ferment, the more tart the kombucha will be and the lower the sugar number. You could ferment kombucha until there is no sugar remaining, but your kombucha would taste like vinegar. If you prefer to ferment until the kombucha is rather tangy, it'll have less remaining sugar than if you prefer to ferment shorter to keep it sweeter. A lower sugar level lowers the calories and the carbohydrates. The only way to accurately state how much sugar is in each batch is to have it lab tested. A typical commercial version contains 60 calories, 14g carb, and 4g sugars per 16-ounce bottle.

Kombucha Mold Identification

Here are some photos of moldy Kombucha cultures.

Kombucha mold may grow if the brew is under-acidified or too cold. Major case of Kombucha Mold – yech! Those blue circles of mold are the problem, while the white circles of SCOBY growth are normal. Powdery tan mold covers much of a new SCOBY – mold is always DRY! White fuzzy dry mold is easy to spot.

What do you notice about these pics? What color is the mold? Where is the mold located? What texture is the mold?

Almost all Kombucha mold is:

      • blue, black, green, or white/tan & very dry and/or fuzzy
      • locatedon top of the culture – not under it nor embedded in a layer
      • looksexactly like the type you have seen your whole life on foods

      Protective pH

      One of the Kombucha culture’s most important defense mechanisms is its low pH. The average pH of properly fermented Kombucha tea is 3.2-2.5. The high acidity prevents other potentially harmful microorganisms from colonizing the culture. In fact, the bacteria and yeast work so well together, that they kill other harmful bacteria on contact. Although making Kombucha at home seems daunting, it is actually quite safe.

      TIP! Use a pH meter to monitor your brew’s progress.

      However, pH will not indicate that your brew is ready to drink as it will often reach the desired pH within the first 3 days of brewing. Therefore, you need to use your taste buds to tell you when your brew is ready. Remember, the longer it ferments, the more sugar is converted and the tarter the flavor. Bottle conditioning will mellow the flavor.

      Kombucha Mamma Sez: “Although Kombucha’s pH is low, once it hits the body’s digestive system, it has an alkalizing effect, like vinegar & lemon juice.”

      • What You’ll Need: Active SCOBY, water, sugar, tea, distilled white vinegar or starter tea, glass jar, cover, and warm spot out of direct sunlight.
      • Instructions: Dissolve sugar in water, steep tea, let it cool, remove tea bags, add vinegar or starter tea, and SCOBY, cover, and culture for 7-30 days at room temperature (68-85°F) out of direct sunlight. Retain tea and SCOBY for the next batch. Repeat.
      • Fermentation Temperature & Time: 70-80º F is the ideal culturing temperature. Warmer temperatures speed up fermentation, cooler temperatures slow it down. The longer you let your kombucha culture the less sweet and more vinegary it will become.
      • Signs of Fermentation: Flavor becomes less sweet more vinegary, SCOBY thickens, stringy brown yeast particle present, haze or new baby SCOBY at top of the liquid, tea has lightened in color.
      • Bottling & Flavoring: Flavor finished kombucha or bottle it to give is extra carbonation. HOW-TO VIDEO:Flavoring & Bottling Kombucha Tea.
      • Continuous Brew Kombucha: A more advanced brewing method for making larger batches - learn more!
      • Troubleshooting: Try our Kombucha Troubleshooting FAQ for answers to most common issues.
      • Storing Kombucha: Learn how to make SCOBY Hotel to store kombucha or take brewing breaks.

      Now that you know exactly how to make kombucha, it's time to gather everything you need and the best place to do that is here with Cultures for Health!

      We have everything you need to start brewing kombucha at home today including, SCOBYs, tools, and our personal favorite - the Kombucha Starter Kit.

      This kit has everything you need to brew kombucha at home all in a convenient all-in-one package.

      Watch the video: Dagens mand Daniel When you say nothing at all


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  2. Dhruv

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  3. Rutger

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  4. Yehoash

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