A few years ago, you could only find it at health food stores, but now, kombucha is just about every major grocer. And wow, in such the variety! Kombucha is clearly all the rage right now, but do you know exactly what it is?
What is kombucha?
Whereas it may seem new to most, kombucha has been around for quite some time – over 2,000 years to be more precise. Kombucha is a fermented drink traditionally made from black or green tea, sugar and a little guy called a SCOBY (a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). A SCOBY “aka The Mother Culture”, which looks a bit like a meaty, floating mushroom, is what turns everything into beloved kombucha: a delightfully fizzy beverage packed with probiotics as well as B vitamins, enzymes, and organic acids. (1) You can also find flavored and herbal versions that still pack the same nutritive punch!
Why is kombucha good for me?
Kombucha has a multitude of health benefits for your heart, brain and gut. Dubbed, the “Immortal Health Elixir” in Ancient China, this beloved beverage can improve resistance against cancer, prevent cardiovascular diseases, promote digestive functions, stimulate the immune system, reduce inflammatory problems, and can have many other benefits. (2) As of late, it has also been used as an at-home remedy for acne, fatigue, hypertension, headaches, and constipation.
Kombucha contains a large number of healthy bacteria, known as probiotics, that develop during the fermentation process. (3) These bacteria line your digestive tract and support your immune system as they absorb nutrients and fight infection and illness. Since 80 percent of your immune system is located in your gut, and the digestive system is the second largest part of your neurological system, it’s no surprise that the gut is considered the “second brain.” Drinking it every day can help you to maintain peak immune health, which trickles down into an impressive number of benefits for your overall health.
Not all ‘booch is created equal
Before you give it a go with kombucha of all kinds, there are a few important points to consider:
Sugar Content In order to make kombucha, you need sugar because that’s what feeds the SCOBY and helps with the fermentation process. Naturally, as the beverage ferments, sugar is “eaten” by the SCOBY, leaving only trace amounts behind. However, there are some brews whose sugar content is higher than others. Most brews contain between 4-6 grams per 8 ounce serving but some can reach higher than 8 grams. Yikes!
Alcohol Content Alcohol is a natural by-product of fermentation and for a while, there has been some uncertainty about kombucha’s alcohol content. In 2010, Whole Foods pulled some brands off their shelves because there was concern that the product continued to ferment after being bottled, thus, producing more alcohol than stated. The recipes and labels were updated since then and now, most store kombucha generally contains less than 0.5% ABV (alcohol by volume). Have you ever come across fine print which states “you must be over 21 years of age to purchase”? This means that particular ‘booch has the possibility of containing more than 0.5% ABV (sometimes up to 3%).
Pasteurization Some say that pasteurization makes kombucha “healthier” for you. That is definitely not the case. Pasteurization (which is the process of heating foods to a temperature of <100°C to eliminate pathogens and extend shelf life) kills the live and active cultures that make kombucha, well, kombucha.
Introducing Townshend’s Brew Dr.
We are happy to have Townshend’s Brew Dr. as our latest and greatest addition to our kegerator program! Every batch of Brew Dr. is crafted from the beginning. They start high-quality organic teas and add only organic botanicals (dried herbs, roots and fruits). It’s a no shortcuts, whole ingredients approach that Brew Dr. has stayed true to from the beginning. The resulting flavors are clean and balanced – neither overwhelmingly vinegary nor cloyingly sweet. And as no juices or other flavors are added, Brew Dr. is an honest and authentic 100% raw kombucha with only naturally occurring live and active cultures.
All of Brew Dr.’s flavors are USDA Certified Organic. In fact, every ingredient in their entire brewery is certified organic. And you may already know this, but part of organic certification in the US is verification of non-GMO ingredients. So anytime you see the USDA Organic symbol on a product, you can rest assured it is 100% GMO free. And, there are no gluten-risk ingredients at use in their brewery which makes each ‘booch gluten-free.
And about that alcohol, Brew Dr. utilizes a method of non-heat distillation to remove alcohol without harming the live and active cultures that make raw kombucha so beneficial. Then, their in-house distillery, called Townshend’s Distillery, makes unique and tasty spirits from the alcohol that they remove from Brew Dr. Kombucha, making it the world’s first and only tea distillery. Learn more about Townshend’s Brew Dr., their mission and commitment to sustainability on their site.