Raised in a small glass jar

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What is Kombucha? (Preview only)

Defining kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented tea that has been around for thousands of years. When properly brewed it is a delicious, slightly fizzy and refreshing soft drink, best enjoyed chilled. Low in sugar, packed with probiotics, and full of organic acids, it's a particularly healthy drink.

There are just four ingredients in real kombucha: tea, water, sugar and a SCOBY. A SCOBY is a Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. It looks a little funny, but creates a stunningly unique flavour.

What are the health benefits of drinking kombucha?

Raw and unfiltered kombucha is full of live cultures which support gut health and aid digestion. On top of that, it contains powerful active ingredients that can lift your mental wellbeing.

By acting on the gut, kombucha has a direct line to your overall health. Your gut is at the centre of your wellbeing, connected to countless vital bodily processes. 80% of your immune cells live there, and it's where 90% of your serotonin is produced. That's before we get to the colonies of good bacteria that interact with our own cells.

The microbes that live in our guts make up a microbiome: a little ecosystem of their own. This biome is sensitive to change. To keep it healthy, it's important to manage what you're putting in.

All fermented products like kombucha produce living cultures and organic acids which improve our gut diversity and functionality. A healthy gut biome will improve your mood, help to promote a powerful immune system, and reduce inflammation.

The acetic acid in the drink is great for boosting energy and lowering blood sugar levels. There is also evidence that kombucha combats heart disease. Natural kombucha is packed with antioxidants. These neutralise free radicals, helping to preserve cell health throughout our bodies.

How is kombucha made?

Kombucha is made by fermenting sweet tea using a symbiotic culture of bacteria & yeast (SCOBY).  A SCOBY is the floppy thing you see in the image, and it organically develops in the right brewing conditions. You can start with black or green tea; we use a blend of three ancient varieties.

During fermentation, the yeast in the SCOBY eats up the sugar and converts it into alcohol. At the same time, bacteria in the SCOBY convert this alcohol into acetic acid. The SCOBY grows as it feeds.

This special kind of fermentation transforms the flavour, and fills kombucha with healthy active ingredients. After two weeks, the final product is ready. We drain the glass brewing jars, and save the SCOBY for the next batch of kombucha tea.

The final product contains a trace (>0.5%) of alcohol, a little caffeine and some tangy acetic acid. The taste of tea is there, but different. The friendly gut-friendly microbes continue to live on in the mixture. Kombucha is probiotic.

With fermentation complete, MOMO adds bubbles by lightly carbonating the mixture. Natural flavourings produce our six distinct tastes.

What are the different types?

In the UK market you can buy two distinct types of kombucha; chilled and ambient. Chilled kombucha is natural; ambient has been processed.

Natural kombucha is a living thing, and if you leave it at room temperature, the fermentation process will continue. To store it at ambient temperatures, it needs to be sterilised, filtered or pasteurised. This reduces or removes the live cultures. After sterilisation, sometimes brands add different live cultures that won't trigger fermentation. In all cases, this process lessens the health benefits.

Chilled kombucha is bottled at the source, as it is. Cooling it prevents further fermentation. The cultures live on, ready to share their health benefits with you. That's how we make it.

MOMO Kombucha is completely raw and unfiltered. Many brands filter their brew to create a clearer product. Momo has a slightly cloudy appearance, as all natural kombucha should.

For ultimate authenticity of flavour, we brew in small glass jars, rather than large industrial brewing vessels. We think it's the best way to make it. The flavours of MOMO Kombucha are the richest of any brand available.

What does kombucha taste like?

Kombucha has a complex tangy flavour that likes to defy language. The simplest answer is to try it.

The flavour palette of all good kombucha starts with its fundamental ingredient - tea. We use a blend of three teas, which combine to create a cleaner, zingier and earthier flavour than a typical breakfast tea. This is the initial flavour base.

After fermentation, the sour flavour of acetic acid punches through. The small amount of unfermented sugar leaves a hint of sweetness; how much depends on the flavour.

After fermentation is complete, MOMO adds bubbles by lightly carbonating the mixture. Natural, organic juices or the tea base produce our four core flavours. Each flavour is immediately recognisable.

It’s slightly sour, has a deep, broad palette, and a sweetness that depends on the variety.

Where did Kombucha come from?

Kombucha's origin goes way back. No one's quite sure how old it is, but most evidence suggests its at least 2000 years old.

Some suggest that it originated in north-east China around 200 BCE. From there, so the story goes, it spread east to Japan through the efforts of a fabled Korean physician named Kombu. Cha is Chinese for tea - and the rest is history.

Kombucha is a living thing, so the specific microbes in each batch vary. The main cultures are yeast and acetic acid bacteria. Many people draw comparisons with the tangy after-taste of cider vinegar; acetic acid is prominent in both.

Kombucha is traditionally brewed in small vessels. This allows you to test and taste different batches. We always brew in small glass jars, to produce the perfect bottle of kombucha every time.

What's a SCOBY made of?

Drinking a fermented beverage that's had a floppy jellyfish floating in it might seem a little strange. Frankly it is weird looking. And yet, millions of people drink it every day. How delicious must it be?

When you look at a SCOBY, take pleasure in its display of inter-species teamwork. A kombucha culture is a mixture of bacteria and yeast. We give this culture a food supply (a little sugar) and a medium to reproduce (the tea). They do the rest.

The kombucha bacteria and yeast are symbiotic - their interests match one another. The yeast likes to convert sugar into alcohol, but too much alcohol in the mixture would kill the yeast. The friendly bacteria love to feed on alcohol: they turn it into acetic acid, and the ferment thrives.

The SCOBY, or sometimes called a pellice, is the byproduct of this fermentation process. That’s why when drinking kombucha, it is natural for it to be slightly cloudy or contain a small pellicle floating in the liquid. Don’t worry, good brews have bits.