If you’ve ever looked at bottles of kombucha, you may notice some labels say that the kombucha is pasteurized, while others say they are raw and organic. Do you know the difference? You may not be able to taste the difference, but they are most definitely not the same and it’s important to read up.
Let’s break down how raw kombucha is made. We’ll start there because raw kombucha is the most traditional way to brew kombucha and dates back thousands of years. In the distant past, foods and beverages were often fermented for preservation as well as believed health benefits.
In basic kombucha fermentation, specific yeast and bacteria (also known as SCOBY, or “symbiotic culture of yeast and bacteria), sugar, and tea are combined and left to culture at a specific temperature. The sugar feeds the yeast and bacteria and the byproducts of alcohol and carbon dioxide are released. The colonies of bacteria remain alive during and after fermentation, delivering what many believe provide health benefits. Much like the probiotics in yogurt, keefer, and sauerkraut, the beneficial bacteria thrive in kombucha and are precisely why many people drink it regularly.
The kombucha is considered raw because it is never heated beyond that specific temperature, allowing the variety of bacteria to multiply. Once the kombucha is bottled and refrigerated, the fermentation process stops and those colonies no longer multiply but remain in a happy existence. They can be safely consumed.
Pasteurizing kombucha, on the other hand, radically alters the traditional kombucha brewing process. Instead of keeping the brew below a certain temperature threshold so as not to harm the naturally-occurring bacteria, the brew is deliberately heated to kill all bacteria. For commercial producers of pasteurized kombucha, the belief is that it is better to kill off any potential pathogens that may have contaminated the brew than to keep the beneficial bacteria alive and well.
The only problem with this approach is that most kombucha lovers choose to drink kombucha because of these colonies of beneficial bacteria. If the kombucha is made in properly sanitized conditions using the right process, the risk for harmful bacteria to contaminate the brew is nearly none. Many of these pro-pasteurization manufacturers add probiotics to supplement their kombuchas with beneficial bacteria, but they are not naturally-occurring, nor are they as numerous or diverse as those that are left to develop sans heat. It’s not natural and it’s not the way we do things at Brew Dr.
At Brew Dr. Kombucha, we like to keep things raw and organic, just like kombucha was originally intended. We take incredible measures to ensure our kombuchas are created in an environment that poses no harm for pathogens to contaminate our brews. We also keep our brews at a precise temperature to keep the beneficial bacteria safe and sound.
Organic is important to us, too. We care about everything we leave out of our kombucha as much as what we put into it. If we go to so much effort to brew our kombucha for the precise time, temperature, and environment, why would we ever be okay with synthetic pesticides or fertilizers on the tea leaves or botanicals in our kombucha? We wouldn’t! Even the sugar we use to feed the bacteria is organic.
Organic is more about what isn’t in our brews than what is. Every ingredient in our kombucha is certified organic so you can have peace of mind you’re getting the very best in every sip and nothing else. We believe in our no-shortcuts approach and wouldn’t do things any different!
So, the next time you are choosing between different brands of kombucha, look for organic, raw kombucha. Better yet, just grab a bottle or two of Brew Dr. Kombucha. We have flavors to satisfy every craving and use only the highest-quality organic teas and botanicals that come from our parent company, Brew Dr. Tea. Every bottle (and can) is packed with naturally-occurring, beneficial bacteria you can feel good about putting into your body. Cheers!