Organic vs. Conventional Kombucha: Making the Best Choice for Your Health

Organic kombucha producers are finding ways to benefit the consumer and greater community. Read on for a breakdown of organic vs. conventional kombucha.

If you've already started the kombucha lifestyle, you've made a step toward harnessing the positive energy of fermented foods. The more it's studied, the more we see that kombucha provides a real boost of health benefits that anyone can take advantage of. With minimal caffeine, endless taste variety, and a range of ways to enjoy it, kombucha has become a go-to beverage for both the health-conscious and the more casual drinker.

Taking it a step further, organic kombuchas offer an even better path forward, with sustainable production leading to a host of additional benefits. For anyone looking for the purest possible nutritional experience, organic options create a whirlwind of possibilities. Read on for a breakdown of organic vs. conventional kombucha and how producers are finding ways to benefit both consumers and the greater community.

Organic vs. Conventional Kombucha: A Quick Timeline

If you've ever heard of World Kombucha Day, you might wonder why Feb. 21 was chosen as the day to celebrate booch. The digits 2-2-1 (for Feb. 21) take on major significance for kombucha aficionados; the first recorded kombucha recipe dates to 221 BCE during the Qin Dynasty. Ancient caravans carried kombucha along the Silk Road and other routes for centuries, embedding it in cultures all over Asia and Europe.

Today's organic producers start with the same goal as our ancient ancestors: finding superior natural ingredients to create the best possible kombucha. Old-world inhabitants needed a break from the mainstay beverages of the day, which mostly included beer, wine, and questionable water supplies. Today, organic kombuchas provide an oasis in a world addicted to caffeine and chemicals, offering a unique beverage that delivers a nutritional boost when consumers need it the most.

While organic kombucha producers have made a full investment in sustainable production using the very best ingredients, conventional kombuchas still have plenty of advocates for a reason. Though there are differences between organic vs. conventional kombucha, both are indicative of the food revolution that has ignited around the globe. As consumers balance the upsides of organic and non-organic foods and beverages, kombucha's rise in popularity has made it an important element of the conversation.

Why Organic Foods are Taking Off

Busy people tend to cut corners in their diet, which can lead to a nutritional glut in exchange for expediency. This means we're often eating foods that offer minimal nutritional benefits while ensuring that we ingest more than we bargained for. Even the most careful produce rinser can't completely rid themselves of chemicals and unwanted bacteria.

This backdrop has led many to seek purer forms of production. The demand for organic foods really exploded from 2010 to 2020, leading to 50% more organic food production by the end of the decade. Three in four organic shoppers now choose to do so for health reasons, whether to trim unwanted chemicals or take in 100% of the nutrients.

Related: 7 Kombucha Side Effects You Didn't Know About

This has led to a complete lifestyle change for many, as discerning consumers hope to establish much better control of their nutritional intake. That's also why organic kombuchas are increasing in popularity. Because most kombucha drinkers are already on the health-conscious side, there is a significant overlap with organic meat/produce consumers. Organic kombuchas have become a natural next step for many who already include as many organic ingredients in their daily lives as possible.

What Does Organic Mean?

Organic can have a vague meaning in general terms, but it also refers to very specific standards that are enforced by the USDA. The USDA organic system is split into three main camps:

  • Made with Organic—70% of the ingredients are considered organic
  • A rigorous 95% standard has been met, with many products approaching 100%
  • 100 Percent Organic

For each product, the USDA closely evaluates all levels of the creation process by looking for harmful production methods. Synthetic fertilizers, irradiation, and sewage sludge are all on the bad list, among others. The goal is to cause less damage to the environment while creating healthier foods for consumers.

For organic kombucha, this means that a very high percentage of ingredients are considered organic by the USDA—except for any bacteria cultures; these good types of bacteria are deemed essential to the health benefits of kombucha.

Sustainability and Environmental Factors

Intertwining with the health benefits, sustainability efforts are front and center with organic food production. Consumers broadly want better production systems that benefit the larger community, preserving local ecologies and limiting pollution. Because food production has such an outsized environmental impact, many see our farms and food centers as the keys to reaching our environmental goals.

The Health Case for Organic

Consumers have been ahead of the medical field when it comes to the health benefits of organic foods. While the environmental eye-opening of the 1970s and 80s ultimately led to more conscientious consumers, the medical research world is just starting to pinpoint the health upsides of going organic. Some of the benefits researchers have demonstrated include:

  • An increase in vitamins and mineralsVitamin C, magnesium, and iron are some of the main areas where consumers are benefitting.
  • Fewer bacteria—kombucha drinkers are used to the helpful types of bacteria, but researchers are focusing on the traditional bad kind. Controlling bacteria is also a primary function of the FDA.
  • A series of promising data on common health issuesstudies have shown reductions in birth defects, infertility, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, allergies, and more. Much research is still needed, but early indications are extremely positive.

Nutritionists have also pinpointed a few areas where organic buyers can maximize the health impact. Buying produce that is in season, eating a wide variety of different foods, and carefully scrubbing produce are all recommended by food specialists.

Kombucha and Organic Production are Natural Partners

Like converting to organic foods, drinking organic kombucha is part of a lifestyle. Consumers focus on sustainable nutritional choices that can benefit their mind and body in any number of ways. The result is a purer relationship with food that eliminates many of the shortcuts we take on a regular basis.

Organic kombucha is a great way to seize the full potential of the organic lifestyle. Many of us struggle to diversify our diet, especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables. Kombucha offers a path forward, allowing drinkers to skip from blueberries to mangos and strawberries from day to day. They also combine very well with organic fruits and veggies to create delicious, nutrient-packed kombucha smoothies. Many of the top kombuchas are even produced without artificial sweeteners, helping consumers cut out as much artificiality as possible.

Beyond the health and lifestyle boost, organic kombuchas are manufactured with the community in mind, leading producers to use fewer pollutants in the process. This careful approach has a positive impact on the soil and groundwater, ultimately benefiting everyone on the planet. 

Organic kombuchas also tap the same sustainable practices as other organic foods, leading to less deforestation due to methods like crop rotation. Although any food or beverage can benefit from going organic, kombucha is a perfect fit.

Down to the Tea Leaves

Organic kombuchas pull together a carefully chosen set of ingredients that includes the most important element—the tea leaves. The top kombucha producers spend a lot of time and effort looking for the best leaves, which deliver many of the best health benefits. The antioxidants of teas (especially green tea) have been linked to many health improvements, including lowering the risk of certain cancers and diabetes.

Related: Kick Up Your Americano With Kombucha

Top-tier kombuchas boast organic tea leaves as a foundation, which helps to maximize the upsides of every bottle of kombucha. Although drinking kombucha on its own is only a starting point, it can be a reliable partner for anyone hoping to change their nutritional habits. Because different teas have different health benefits, it's best to research your favorite kombuchas and find the option that best aligns with your goals.  

How Conventional Kombuchas Fit In

When it comes to organic vs. conventional kombuchas, you might be wondering whether the conventional route offers any benefits. Organic kombuchas do have an edge when it comes to offering more authenticity and health benefits, but conventional kombuchas still provide a path to lifestyle improvement. 

A lot of kombuchas at least meet the "Made with Organic'' materials qualification, creating a close-to-organic experience even if they don't reach the higher standards. Many of these are also made using more eco-sensitive production techniques, which helps the broader community even if the environmental impact is less impressive than organic ‘booches.

But the biggest difference might be found in the tale of two tea leaves. While kombuchas made with organic tea will have no pesticide or chemical presence, kombuchas that use non-organic teas have much less control. Ultimately, non-organic leaves can dampen the impact of other organic materials and prevent consumers from experiencing all the advantages of kombucha. This can even interfere with the kombucha fermentation, which is the key to unlocking gut-health benefits.

Making the Best Choice for Your Health

Everyone must find their own personal balance in the grocery store, with so many choices that it can be difficult to land on the healthiest options. The good news is that it's never been easier to find organic foods, including kombucha. Organic kombuchas have now become fixtures in most grocery stores, with stands showcasing a variety of flavors. Along with the rise of grocery delivery, many organic kombuchas can find their way to your front door with only a few clicks.

One way that the kombucha lifestyle can offer benefits is by slowing down the consumer. Unlike many sodas and alcoholic beverages, kombuchas are meant to be savored. While enjoying the flavor is the goal, slowing down also helps the brain register fulfillment. Sipping kombucha and taking your time with a snack or meal can have a profound impact on your body, helping you consume fewer calories and focus on nutritional goals.

Combining organic foods and organic kombucha is also an excellent way to jumpstart a more active lifestyle. Both increase the level of antioxidants and overall nutrition in your body and give you an edge before and after exercising. Much like organic fruits, organic kombucha is a superb post-workout option that helps your body recover and stay hydrated. Although it might not be feasible to switch to an entirely organic diet, your body will thank you for making the effort.

Trends in Organic Production

The push toward organic shows a clear sign that consumers are taking environmental challenges seriously. The process can certainly feel slow at times, but supporting organic food production is one of the best ways for the average consumer to make a difference. The more consumers lean toward organic, the easier it is for farms to justify the commitment to changing tactics.

And switching farming tactics can be a game-changer. One study estimated just how much of an impact small and mid-sized farms can have as they switch over to organic production. If 10,000 mid-sized farms make the transition, it would capture enough carbon to counterbalance more than a million cars on the road. Kombucha makers who rely on organic methods are already paying it forward when it comes to sustainability and turning the tide of environmental damage.

There is also plenty of room for improvement. A recent estimate showed that a little more than 4% of food in the U.S. is considered organic, suggesting that kombucha is well ahead of the trendline. It's difficult to get a firm number, but a majority of kombucha producers are certified organic. As we pivot into a world where organic food production is the norm, organic kombucha drinkers are already tasting the future.

Kombucha is All About the Ingredients

By reaching for an organic kombucha, you're showing the same type of commitment as the top kombucha producers. Sustainability, superior nutrition, and lifestyle improvements are all part of the equation. Organic kombucha makers understand how important it is for consumers to find their way to the best possible ingredients, as this can create a snowball effect that goes beyond the contents of a 14-ounce bottle.

At Brew Dr., our 100% raw kombucha showcases the very best that organic kombucha has to offer. Utilizing fair trade teas as our essential building blocks, we are focused on finding outstanding flavors you can feel good about enjoying. Alongside the sustainability revolution, our facilities use 100% renewable energy and we've established carbon offsets that have been making a difference for years. Take a look at our eclectic group of flavors to see why organic kombucha is the way to go. 

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