What Is Kombucha?
Kombucha may not roll off your tongue, but it’s becoming a household name for more and more people. You may have seen kombucha at a grocery store, convenient store, cafe or friend’s fridge and wondered what it was. You’ve come to the right place! We are all about kombucha and it’s our mission to spread the word on this wondrous beverage so everyone can see what they’ve been missing.
It’s Fermented Tea
Kombucha may have a fancy name, but it’s actually just tea – taken to a different level. All kombucha begins with tea leaves and water. But tea can be fermented similarly as beer, wine, pickled products, and even yogurt. All that’s needed is certain bacteria and yeast (often referred to as SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), and a little sugar to feed the SCOBY.
Once the brew sits at the right temperature in the right conditions, the magic happens. The once simple tea is now a fermented beverage that has its own unique flavor profile and contains live, active cultures. Manufacturers may include botanicals, fruits, spices and herbs during the brewing process to impart a wide range of flavors to the fermented tea. Some add these ingredients and/or others after the brewing process. Either way, the resulting kombucha resembles little of its humble beginnings.
It’s Unlike Anything You’ve Ever Tasted
The fermentation process gives kombucha a slightly fizzy, effervescent quality. Kombucha may even taste slightly carbonated, although much less so than the average soda or carbonated water. It’s much subtler than that.
Kombucha often has a hint of vinegar flavor as well, a tartness that is unmistakable. It makes your whole mouth pop with its tanginess. Some manufacturers tone down the vinegar with sweeteners, while others use their botanicals and fruits to do the job. What results is often a mildly sweet, mildly vinegary, mildly fizzy concoction that people can’t seem to get enough of.
It May Have Health Benefits
The live, active cultures that form during fermentation may be microscopic, but they are the subject of massive debate. Proponents claim these live cultures have all kinds of health benefits, from healing the gut to smoothing the skin. Even the Cleveland Clinic believes fermented foods, such as kombucha, nourish the body with vitamins and enzymes which positively impact the gut biome.
Skeptics aren’t so sure. They recognize the potential benefits, but caution that the science still isn’t definitive as researchers are trying to figure out how or if the colonies of bacteria formed in the fermentation process (of any foods and beverages) can live in the human digestive tract and if they provide any value to the body.
What’s The Difference between Brands?
Kombucha is all made using tea leaves and water, but not all manufacturers spend much time on those tea leaves. At Brew Dr., we start with the same loose-tea organic teas we serve in our Townsend’s Teahouses. See, we began as a tea company and then realized we could use our amazing teas as the base for kombucha. No other kombucha brand can say the same.
Beyond the tea, the ingredients differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. We use only dried herbs, spices, roots and whole fruits to flavor our kombuchas and we steep those ingredients in the tea while we brew. We believe this gives our kombuchas a richer, deeper flavor. Our kombucha is also “raw,” meaning we don’t heat our kombucha and kill off the bacteria.
Related: Process of Making Brew Dr. Kombucha
Some other manufacturers add fruit juices and concentrates, extra sugar or artificial sweeteners, and other flavorings to their kombuchas after the brewing process. They may also heat their kombucha to pasteurize it, however, this also kills the live cultures. Because most consumers like those live cultures, brands may then add probiotics to their kombuchas. Interestingly, a study found that supplemented probiotics contain only a fraction of the colony-forming units of “good” bacteria than those found naturally in fermented foods.
Where to Start
If you’ve never tried kombucha before, you’re in for a nice surprise. There are countless flavors from which to choose. Some of our top sellers? Try Brew Dr. Clear MindKombucha. Clear Mind is bright and soft, a perfect blend of rosemary, mint, sage and green tea. With warmer weather finally on the horizon, our Mint Lemonade is refreshing and not overly sweet, with hints of spearmint and peppermint for that extra zing. In the mood for something floral? Give our Happiness kombucha a try. We combined our white tea with pink rose petals for a wonderfully light brew that is, well, happiness in a bottle!
A final note: kombucha is awesome straight from the bottle or can, but it can also elevate your cocktails and other recipes. Kombucha is so versatile, you can use them as mixers in beverages, something special in a smoothie, or a secret ingredient in baked goods, dressings and marinades.
We have a variety of recipes on our blog site for you to explore, so check them out. While you’re there, read through more of our blogs to learn everything you ever wanted to know (or didn’t know to ask) about kombucha! Welcome to the wonderful world of kombucha!