Kombucha, kefir, kimchi - we can’t seem to get enough of fermented products. Rich with probiotics and good bacteria that promote microbiome diversity and improve your immunity, fermented food and drinks are an easy and delicious way to boost your health.
Here, we take a deep dive into kombucha: the slightly sour, slightly sparkling beverage that’s swept the planet, fostering a global industry worth about USD$1.36 billion in 2019. While the drink may be considered trendy, kombucha is thought to date all the way back to 221BCE, inspiring the date of World Kombucha Day on the 21st of February. The recipe uncovered from that era, which is believed to have originated from northern China and Korea, was for what they called the Tea of Immortality, emphasising the brew’s essential health benefits.
But how is it made, and what is it made of? Starting with a mix of sugar and tea (often black or green), the concoction is fermented with a ‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast’ called SCOBY - a thick, gelatinous film that’s left to float atop the liquid, imparting the tang, effervescence, and health benefits characteristic of kombucha. Through this fermentation process, a minimal amount of alcohol is also produced (less than one per cent). Afterwards, the blend is then flavoured with an array of fruit, juices, and/or spices, opening a world of delicious possibilities.
Due to its popularity, many fans of the fizzy drink now brew their own kombucha at home. However, the process requires a lot of patience, as well as a considerable amount of trial and error to ensure you don’t end up with a bottle of vinegar or some other unpalatable potion. If you want ‘booch’ that’s flavourful, delicious, and ready to enjoy, check out these nine kombucha brands and find out where to get them.