When I introduce newbies to the wonderful world of kombucha I always get asked
"what is that floating in my bottle?" I smile and answer
"It's all the good stuff and shows you the booch is a genuine 'living' drink".
"Is it safe to drink??"
" Yes of course, or if you don't like the look of it, you can filter it out".
See, we don't believe in pasteurising our kombucha or using such a fine filter that would remove kombucha cultures or high heat to kill off all the good stuff;
well, because what would be the point? There are a lot of different ways some brewers will choose to get their product to be more shelf stable, mitigating any bursting bottles from an over active secondary fermentation (scary but it does happen!) and making a beverage more appealing to the wider consumer. The aficionados will usually be on the look out for kombucha that is crammed full of the good stuff, lower sugar, punchy and characteristically tart with a natural soft fizz. Just keep it well chilled and don't shake it up, it helps with the overzealous bubbly ones like Ginger, unless you're a fan of booch eruptions *wink*. It also keeps the kombucha for longer without it changing too much. After all, it is a 'living' drink.
Filtering out culture, in my opinion, is the same as pasteurising
Much like drinking beer, whisky or wine, kombucha is an acquired taste and it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, pun intended. So some brewers introduce methods or use additives to make it more appealing. Filtering out culture, in my opinion, is the same as pasteurising. Adding artificial sweeteners so it stays low in sugar but is sweeter on the palate. Adding finings to make the liquid super clear and not something that looks like mulligatawny soup.
Some brewers talk about the acetic acids, which are a by-product of the SCOBY, being the only benefit of kombucha. However, there are so many different types of bacteria in kombucha that produce different types of beneficial acids, it all depends on the culture itself, the environment it's been bred in and the conditions it's been exposed to. With the help of technology, brewers are able to determine the 'DNA' of their SCOBY. This is something that's on the agenda for us purely out of curiosity, but won't be for a while or as the finances go.
If you watch television and happened to tune in to This Morning on ITV on 4th August 2020, then you would've seen Eamonn Holmes' reaction to Liz Earle showing off her kombucha SCOBYs! They don't look particularly appetising and it's so weird looking that it could easily put anyone off drinking kombucha altogether. If you get over the initial aversion to the floating ooglies, kombucha is a wonderful beverage that is starting to replace soda / soft drinks but it's still relatively new competition in this category.
Our kombucha starts and remains as traditionally intended
We keep things simple. We don't use a low micron filter, we don't pasteurise and we don't add any unnecessary chemicals or sweeteners. Our kombucha starts and remains as traditionally intended, vegan friendly, and contains all the good stuff in every sip. So if you're going to buy it, make sure it's the genuine article, otherwise, what's the point?
Happy booching everyone, keep safe and hope you enjoy the festivities as best as you can.
Kombucha Shack Team