Kombucha Ingredients: What You Need to Know
Kombucha Ingredients Aren’t the Same
Kombucha is kombucha, right? Not exactly. While kombucha is a fermented tea beverage, how it’s made and what’s in each brew varies significantly from brand to brand. Whether you have specific food allergies, are cautious about what you put into your body, or are simply curious about what’s in kombucha, read on.
There are a few common ingredients in most kombuchas: tea leaves, bacteria, yeast, and sugar. While this may not sound like a tasty concoction, the phenomenon of fermentation that occurs when these kombucha ingredients are combined is astounding. Like other fermented beverages, such as beer and wine, kombucha gets its unique flavor from the fermentation process. Take one of the kombucha ingredient variables out of the equation and the brew falls apart.
Related: How to Choose the Best Kombucha
While these are the foundational kombucha ingredients, brewers flavor their kombuchas using a variety of other ingredients. That’s where the kombucha brands begin to distinguish themselves. Some add “good” bacteria, sweeteners, and artificial flavorings after the fermentation process. Brew Dr. Kombucha, on the other hand, steeps our brew with organic fruits, herbs, spices and/or flowers and allows natural probiotic colonies to develop. We think nature does a darned good job all on its own.
Kombuchas with Additives
We all know the difference between real foods and artificial foods. While the trend seems to be shifting towards more natural foods and ingredients, there are still plenty of pre-packaged foods that contain artificial ingredients. These can be as simple as food colorings and as complex as additives we can hardly pronounce.
Kombuchas may not be the worst offenders, but some of the most well-known kombuchas contain ingredients like “blueberry flavor”, stevia leaf extract, fruit juices, and added probiotics that are not a natural byproduct of the fermentation process. These types of probiotics are added because the manufacturer “cooks” the live probiotics to kill off any bad bacteria that may be present in the brew. Raw kombucha, considered the healthiest way to brew kombucha, is never overheated to kill bacteria. In this way, consumers get only live, active cultures that are naturally produced during the fermentation process.
Related: Raw Kombucha vs Kombucha with Juice
While fruit juices do add flavor, they’re not a traditional way to flavor kombucha. The brews most true to ancient kombucha preparation use whole fruits instead of their juices and they are infused as part of the brewing process, not after fermentation as an additive. This step may be a bit more costly for the manufacturer but delivers a deeper, more robust flavor. It’s much like the difference between eating a raw apple and drinking its juice.
A Sampling of Brew Dr. Kombucha Ingredients
We are proud of the organic ingredients in each of our brews. In fact, we encourage consumers to pick up one of our brews and compare labels with any other commercial kombucha. Here’s what you may find listed on the back of one of our bottles:
- Organic jasmine green tea
- Organic sencha green tea
- Organic lavender
- Organic Rose
- Organic peppermint
- Organic lemon balk
- Organic verbena
- Organic elderberry
- Organic blueberries
- Organic ginger
- Organic basil
- 100% raw, live kombucha culture from yeast and bacteria
Here’s what you won’t find:
- Added sweeteners, like stevia, aspartame, or juice concentrates
- Added cultures not produced naturally during fermentation
- Fruit juices
- Non-organic ingredients
The next time you have the opportunity to choose your kombucha, make sure it lives up to the kombucha name. Check for added ingredients and sweeteners. Verify it’s 100% raw and organic. Only then will you know you’re putting the best into your body. And hey, your body deserves the best. That’s why we do what we do.