Before exploring this distinction, let's remind ourselves that kombucha is fermented tea. To make it, a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) is added to sweetened tea which drives the fermentation process, resulting in a soft drink that is low in sugar and naturally full of live cultures (bacteria and yeast).
Gut health legend Tim Spector describes these live cultures as “super microbes” which are essential for supporting a healthy gut.
Typically, authentically produced kombucha, like most authentically made fermented products, needs to be stored in the fridge. That is because it is full of live cultures and if left out of the fridge will continue to ferment.
However, many kombuchas are now ambient, meaning they do not need to be refrigerated. Typically, these have been pasteurised, sterile filtered (where all the bacteria & yeast is removed) or brewed from concentrate.
Here we will explore the health and taste impacts of filtered or pasteurised kombucha.
Filtering fermented kombucha to remove the bacteria and yeast reduces the benefits for the gut microbiome and results in a clearer product with much less depth of flavour. Pasteurisation is a heat treatment process that involves heating (essentially cooking) the kombucha to a specific temperature for a set period of time, killing all the yeast and bacteria. This will extend the shelf life of the product but will have a significant impact on the taste and remove all the probiotics.
Unlike most commercial kombuchas, MOMO is made the homemade way and is raw and completely unfiltered. Unfiltered kombucha like ours will be a little hazy (you can see the live cultures suspended in the liquid) and has a much fuller depth of flavour from all the delicious healthy bacteria and living cultures. They will also aid digestion and boost gut health.
While some ambient kombuchas will add lab made cultures after either filtering or pasteurising, we strongly advocate choosing a chilled, naturally fermented kombucha to boost gut diversity and for a fuller depth of flavour.