Have you ever browsed the convenience store fridges and asked yourself, “what is Kombucha?” Well, this one’s for you! In this month’s blog post, we’re uncovering the mystery on everyone’s lips: what exactly is Kombucha?
You’ve probably seen it at your local cafe, grocery store or service station. Kombucha is a wildly popular soft drink alternative that even the biggest beverage companies have their eyes on. Lovingly known as ‘Booch’ amongst veteran hipsters and Gen Z alike, the drink has slowly but surely spread its wings from humble in-house brews to become popular enough to rival popular drinks like cola, ice tea and energy drinks.
Why is this interesting? After brands like Remedy Drinks and PS Organic entered the market, existing dominant manufacturers recognised consumers were increasingly loving the sparkling, healthy drink alternative.
So, let’s take a closer look.
WHAT IS KOMBUCHA MADE OF?
Kombucha in Australia is made of two key components: tea, and Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria Yeast, better known as SCOBY. The process of making Kombucha is both scientific and traditional, and is still often brewed at home by many today!
However, it is not the easiest or tidiest home project as you need to brew your Booch in a jar or container large enough to fit your SCOBY, which will eventually create a new SCOBY for you to continue your culture after it’s time to discard your original (most people recommend moving on to a new culture after four batches).
During the fermentation process, the Kombucha can then be bottled for drinking; however, to get infused flavours and fizz, it’s essential to add fruits, juice, and sugar to be broken down during a second fermentation process. The bacteria in your new brew will turn the sugars in these ingredients into probiotics and carbonation, enhancing the flavour to something you’d find on shelves today!
"Kombucha in Australia is made of two key components:
tea, and Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria Yeast, better known as SCOBY."
WHERE DOES KOMBUCHA COME FROM?
The practice of making Kombucha originated thousands of years ago in Ancient China, where the drink was commonly consumed for its detoxifying and energising properties. This origin is probably of little surprise since ‘Chá’ is the Chinese word for tea! As trade routes like the Silk Road grew and expanded, kombucha found its way to Russia and other eastern European areas.
Through various migrations and historical events like the World Wars, kombucha practices made their way across the rest of Europe, eventually reaching countries like Germany, France and North Africa by the 50s. So what about kombucha today?
In Australia, most of the kombucha you come across in a day-to-day setting is likely brewed nationally or even locally. Popular brands like Remedy and and PS Organic started out as humble home-brews and are still using cultures that have derived from their original home-brew SCOBY’s in Melbourne and South Australia, respectively. Cool, right?
WHAT DOES KOMBUCHA TASTE LIKE?
Unlike less appealing blends of probiotics and health drinks, Kombucha benefits from being brewed with a base of either green or black tea. During the fizzy fermentation process, it can be infused with all kinds of wonderfully natural and deliciously fruity flavours like berries, apple, citrus, ginger and more. The resulting taste is a tangy and fizzy reflection of whatever you’ve fermented it with.
Kombucha is a huge win for anyone who’s ever been thirsty for a sugary, artificial soft drink, iced tea, energy drink or juice because it’s a healthy, refreshing, and tasty alternative that’s readily available. Whether you’re a ‘Wild Berry,’ Ginger Lemon or Passionfruit lover, you’ll find a Kombucha to tickle your taste buds.
IS KOMBUCHA GOOD FOR GUT HEALTH?
Yes, Kombucha is good for you. Kombucha is more than just a health drink, fizzy drink, or flavoured beverage. In fact, it’s all three!
As more and more Aussie consumers become increasingly health conscious, it’s only natural to be curious about Kombucha’s health benefits. Why? Well, not only is the beverage an alternative that’s better for you than a can of soft drink, but it also has the added benefit of being insanely low in sugars and sometimes, naturally sugar-free.
The key ingredients that make kombucha a healthy beverage extend beyond the traditional antioxidants it gets from green or black tea. The fermentation process breaks down and converts added sugars into healthy acids and alcohol, which are then consumed by the useful bacteria and probiotics that grow within the drink. As a result, the drink is packed with super healthy ingredients and, in some varieties, activated bacteria for gut health benefits. Giving your thirsty, health-conscious customers even more reason to buy it.
"...packed with super healthy ingredients and, in some varieties, activated bacteria for gut health benefits."
IS KOMBUCHA GOOD FOR GUT HEALTH?
Kombucha is good for your gut health because it’s a fermented drink. Fermented foods like Kombucha, yoghurt, kimchi, tempeh, and sauerkraut are linked to improving gut health because they feed the good bacteria in your gut microbiome.
When influencers and doctors talk about improving your ‘gut health’, what they’re actually referring to is improving the conditions of your ‘gut microbiome’. Everything we eat, drink and snack on contributes to the overall health of the bacteria and organisms that live in our gut. A healthy gut is important for a comfortable digestive system, regulating your immune system, brain health (including mental health!), and controlling your blood sugar levels.
As a fermented drink, Kombucha includes loads of probiotics, friendly bacteria, and micro-organisms that help build up and restore your gut’s good bacteria. According to Nutrition Australia, fermented foods in all shapes and sizes are particularly important after a tummy bug or round of antibiotics, both of which usually compromise your gut bacteria.
SHOULD YOU STOCK KOMBUCHA?
It’s a strong YES from the Kelly’s Distributors team! Whether your customers are looking for healthier drink alternatives, you want to expand your range, or target a new customer demographic, you simply cannot go wrong with a bit of Booch.
At Kelly’s Distributors, we stock a wide range of brands and other health drinks. Kombucha is a functional and extremely popular beverage option that will make your customers love your guts!