Kombucha is a beverage made of fermented back or green tea. Commercial Kombucha beverages have become increasingly popular with time and are easily available in many places. There are a number of microorganisms involved in the process of fermentation including different kinds of bacteria and yeast. As a result, the probiotic drink has a vinegar or mild sour flavor with an effervescence. There are a number of reported health benefits of drinking Kombucha beverages, however, there is conflicting research to back this claim.
History of Kombucha
Kombucha originally comes from Northeast China, it was discovered in around 220 B.C and was initially praised for its healing properties. The name of the beverage is derived from the name of a Korean physician, Dr. Kombu who brought the fermented tea to Japan as a cure for Emperor Inkyo. The tea was later brought to Europe because of the expansions in trade routes in the early 20th century. The beverage most notably appeared in Germany and Russia. Kombucha lost its popularity during World War II because of a shortage of tea supplies and sugar, the beverage regained its popularity in 1960s in Switzerland, comparing its health benefits to those of yogurt.
An influential player in domestic beverages!
Kombucha was once labelled as the most liberal product in America. After which, it experienced a surge of sales and soon became an influential player in the economy of domestic beverages. The history of the fermented beverage, however, is a bit complicated in terms of alcohol regulation and the perception of media. Despite it, the beverage is becoming a preference of consumers due to its health benefits, and big businesses are taking note of the preference and health benefits.
Kombucha’s journey of becoming an artisanal beverage
How did a beverage that was considered as unappetizing because of how it was brewed become such a cult favorite? Still rising, it even became an important part of PepsiCo’s brand portfolio in 2016. The long history of the beverage needs to be seen with a critical lens to understand its growing market and current state.
How is the drink made?
As mentioned earlier, Kombucha is a sweetened and fermented tea made out of either green or black tea. The beverage is classified as a functional beverage, which means that it is a non-alcoholic beverage containing nutrients, vitamins and amino acids associated with health benefits. The method of making Kombucha can be different, however, it generally involves a process of double fermentation. It is placed in a sweetened mixture of tea and left to ferment for 1 to 3 weeks at room temperature; later it is bottles 1 to 2 weeks to release carbon-dioxide, encouraging carbonation. After the entire process, it is placed in a refrigerated environment, slowing the process of carbonation and fermentation. A lack of awareness regarding this fermentation process led people to believe that the contents of the beverage are alcoholic.