Tibicos, or water kefir, is a traditional fermented drink made with water and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts (SCOBY) held in a polysaccharide biofilm matrix created by the bacteria. It is sometimes consumed as an alternative to milk-based probiotic drinks or tea-cultured products such as kombucha. Water kefir is typically made as a probiotic homebrew beverage. The finished product, if bottled, will produce a carbonated beverage.
Tibicos cultures are found around the world, with no two being exactly the same; but typical tibicos have a mix of Lactobacillus , Streptococcus , Pediococcus and Leuconostoc bacteria, with yeasts from Saccharomyces , Candida , Kloeckera and possibly others. Lactobacillus brevis bacteria has been identified as the species responsible for the production of the dextran polysaccharide that forms the "grains."
As with milk kefir "grains", the microbes present in tibicos act in symbiosis to maintain a stable culture. Tibicos can do this in many different sugary liquids, feeding off the sugar to produce lactic acid, alcohol (ethanol), and carbon dioxide gas, which carbonates the drink.
The origin of tibicos grains is unknown.Tibicos grains form as hard granules on the pads of the Opuntia cactus found in Mexico. These granules then could be reconstituted in a sugar-water solution for propagating the tibicos grains. Another study found a similar tibicos culture made from bacteria cultured from known stocks with similar properties.
Tibicos are also known as tibi, water kefir grains, sugar kefir grains, Japanese water crystals and California bees, and in older literature as bébées, African bees, Australian bees, ginger bees, vinegar bees, bees, Japanese beer seeds, beer seeds, beer plant, ale nuts, eternity grains,and Balm of Gilead. Pidoux in 1898 also identified the sugary kefir grains with the ginger beer plant. Different ingredients or hygienic conditions might also change the bacteriological composition possibly leading to the different names found in scientific literature.
Tibicos are used to brew a variety of tepache known as tepache de tibicos.The ginger beer plant is also a form of tibicos. Kebler attests that they were used in Kentucky circa 1859 to brew a "home drink" and were referred to as "Japanese beer seeds."
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The basic preparation method is for tibicos to be added to a sugary liquid and fermented 24 to 48 hours. The water is kept at a room temperature range of 20–30 °C (70–85 °F). If the temperature is towards the upper end of this range, the fermentation period is shortened. A typical recipe might contain the tibicos culture, a citrus fruit, and water. Some ingredients will inhibit fermentation, such as chlorine in tap water or preservatives in dried fruit (sulfites). The fruits used are changed and mixed to create different flavors.
Additional precautions are taken to keep the cultures healthy. The use of reactive metals such as aluminium, copper, or zinc are minimized, since the acidity of the solution will draw these metals out, damaging the culture. Instead, plastic, lead-free ceramic, or glass containers are commonly used. It is recommended to culture grains in a glass jar and use clean plastic or wooden utensils when handling the grains.
Lactobacillus is a genus of Gram-positive, aerotolerant anaerobes or microaerophilic, rod-shaped, non-spore-forming bacteria. Until 2020, the genus Lactobacillus comprised over 260 phylogenetically, ecologically, and metabolically diverse species; a taxonomic revision of the genus assigned lactobacilli to 25 genera.
Ginger ale is a carbonated soft drink flavored with ginger. It is consumed on its own or used as a mixer, often with spirit-based drinks. There are two main types of ginger ale. The golden style is credited to the Irish doctor Thomas Joseph Cantrell. The dry style, a paler drink with a much milder ginger flavor, was created by Canadian John McLaughlin.
Kombucha is a fermented, lightly effervescent, sweetened black tea drink commonly consumed for its purported health benefits. Sometimes the beverage is called kombucha tea to distinguish it from the culture of bacteria and yeast. Juice, spices, fruit or other flavorings are often added.
Zymology, also known as zymurgy, is an applied science that studies the biochemical process of fermentation and its practical uses. Common topics include the selection of fermenting yeast and bacteria species and their use in brewing, wine making, fermenting milk, and the making of other fermented foods.
Traditional ginger beer is a sweetened and carbonated, usually non-alcoholic beverage. Historically it was produced by the natural fermentation of prepared ginger spice, yeast and sugar.
Probiotics are live microorganisms promoted with claims that they provide health benefits when consumed, generally by improving or restoring the gut flora. Probiotics are considered generally safe to consume, but may cause bacteria-host interactions and unwanted side effects in rare cases. There is some evidence that probiotics are beneficial for some conditions, but there is little evidence for many of the health benefits claimed for them.
Viili (Finnish) is a mesophilic fermented milk product found in the Nordic countries, particularly Finland. Viili is similar to yoghurt or kefir, but when left unmixed, its texture is malleable, or "long". The metabolism of the bacteria used in the fermentation also gives viili a slightly different taste.
Leuconostoc is a genus of gram-positive bacteria, placed within the family of Lactobacillaceae. They are generally avoid cocci often forming chains. Leuconostoc spp. are intrinsically resistant to vancomycin and are catalase-negative. All species within this genus are heterofermentative and are able to produce dextran from sucrose. They are generally slime-forming.
Lactobacillales are an order of gram-positive, low-GC, acid-tolerant, generally nonsporulating, nonrespiring, either rod-shaped (bacilli) or spherical (cocci) bacteria that share common metabolic and physiological characteristics. These bacteria, usually found in decomposing plants and milk products, produce lactic acid as the major metabolic end product of carbohydrate fermentation, giving them the common name lactic acid bacteria (LAB).
Tepache is a fermented beverage made from the peel and the rind of pineapples, and is sweetened either with piloncillo or brown sugar, seasoned with powdered cinnamon, and served cold. Though tepache is fermented for several days, the resulting drink does not contain much alcohol. In Mexican culinary practice, the alcoholic content of tepache may be increased with a small amount of beer.
In food processing, fermentation is the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohol or organic acids using microorganisms—yeasts or bacteria—under anaerobic (oxygen-free) conditions. Fermentation usually implies that the action of microorganisms is desired. The science of fermentation is known as zymology or zymurgy.
Food microbiology is the study of the microorganisms that inhabit, create, or contaminate food. This includes the study of microorganisms causing food spoilage; pathogens that may cause disease ; microbes used to produce fermented foods such as cheese, yogurt, bread, beer, and wine; and microbes with other useful roles, such as producing probiotics.
Levilactobacillus brevis is a gram-positive, rod shaped species of lactic acid bacteria which is heterofermentative, creating CO2, lactic acid and acetic acid or ethanol during fermentation. L. brevis is the type species of the genus Levilactobacillus (previously L. brevis group), which comprises 24 species (http://www.lactobacillus.ualberta.ca/, http://www.lactobacillus.uantwerpen.be/). It can be found in many different environments, such as fermented foods, and as normal microbiota. L.brevis is found in food such as sauerkraut and pickles. It is also one of the most common causes of beer spoilage. Ingestion has been shown to improve human immune function, and it has been patented several times. Normal gut microbiota L.brevis is found in human intestines, vagina, and feces.
SCOBY is the commonly used acronym for "symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast", and is formed after the completion of a unique symbiotic fermentation process of lactic acid bacteria (LAB), acetic acid bacteria (AAB), and yeast to form several sour foods and beverages such as kombucha and kimchi. Beer and wine also undergo fermentation with yeast, but the lactic acid bacteria and acetic acid bacteria components unique to SCOBY are usually viewed as a source of spoilage rather than a desired addition. Both LAB and AAB enter on the surface of barley and malt in beer fermentation and grapes in wine fermentation; LAB lower the pH of the beer while AAB take the ethanol produced from the yeast and oxidize it further into vinegar, resulting in a sour taste and smell. AAB are also responsible for the formation of the cellulose SCOBY.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink similar to a thin yogurt or ayran that is made from kefir grains, a specific type of mesophilic symbiotic culture. The drink originated in the North Caucasus, in particular the Elbrus region along the upper mountainous sections of Circassia, Karachay and Balkaria, from where it came to Russia, and from there it spread to Europe and the United States, where it is prepared by inoculating the milk of cows, goats, or sheep with kefir grains.
Qū, qú, qūniè, jiǔqū, or jiǔmǔ is a type of East Asian dried fermentation starter grown on a solid medium and used in the production of traditional Chinese alcoholic beverages. The Chinese character 曲/麹 is romanised as qū in pinyin, chhu or chu in other transcription systems. The literal translation of jiǔqū is "liquor ferment", although "liquor mold" or "liquor starter" are adequate descriptions.
Microbial food cultures are live bacteria, yeasts or moulds used in food production. Microbial food cultures carry out the fermentation process in foodstuffs. Used by humans since the Neolithic period fermentation helps to preserve perishable foods and to improve their nutritional and organoleptic qualities. As of 1995, fermented food represented between one quarter and one third of food consumed in Central Europe. More than 260 different species of microbial food culture are identified and described for their beneficial use in fermented food products globally, showing the importance of their use.
Symbiotic fermentation is a form of fermentation in which multiple organisms interact in symbiosis in order to produce the desired product. For example, a yeast may produce ethanol, which is then consumed by an acetic acid bacterium. Described early on as the fermentation of sugars following saccharification in a mixed fermentation process.
Colonche is an alcoholic red coloured drink from Mexico prepared with tuna, the fruits of "nopal", especially with tuna cardona, the fruits of Opuntia streptacantha.
Jun, or Xun, is a fermented drink similar to kombucha, differing only in that its base ingredients are green tea and honey instead of black tea and cane sugar. Jun is brewed by fermenting green tea with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). Fruits, sweeteners, spices, and other flavor enhancers are also commonly added to make the taste of the beverage more appealing. Jun is not as popular as kombucha or other similar fermented drinks, so the commercial market for it is much smaller. Because there are not many companies selling it, and the brewing process is rather simple, many consumers of Jun choose to make it themselves. Many health benefits have been credited to Jun and fermented drinks in general, but these are unproven. Any health effects stemming directly from Jun as a whole have not been researched or conclusively substantiated, but some of Jun's main ingredients have been shown to individually have positive effects on the human body. Though Jun bears similarities to other fermented drinks like kombucha, water kefir, and kvass, it has enough differences to be considered a distinct drink.