What is kombucha? Simply put, kombucha is fermented tea. However, it has a history of being different things to different people. Some drink it for its purported gut health properties, one legend speaking of a Chinese emperor who called it ‘the elixir of life’ (read our Where does kombucha come from article for more on that story). Others simply enjoy the natural, complex taste that an unflavoured kombucha offers.
What is kombucha to us? Well, at REAL Kombucha, we ferment a premium, sparkling tea that many of the UK’s top chefs and sommeliers favour for their non-alcoholic food pairing. We have won awards for what some have called our “kombucha wine”. As such, we see kombucha as the perfect non-alcoholic alternative to a sparkling wine, offering anyone who is cutting down on their alcohol consumption an adult drink that remains low in sugar and calories without compromising on taste.
We’ve got loads of information all over our website on what kombucha is, including articles on the health benefits of kombucha, what a scoby is, why we think kombucha is best unflavoured, and where you can buy kombucha in the UK. But for a simple answer, read on.
What is kombucha?
Kombucha is fermented tea. It is a combined yeast and bacterial fermentation that results in a drink that is slightly tart (that’s the flavour of the beneficial acids and vinegars), has a very small trace of alcohol (left over from the yeast fermentation – officially non-alcoholic; not enough to congregate in your blood stream) and only a small amount of remaining sugars (which means it’s not going to sit heavily on your waistline).
What does kombucha taste like?
Some people compare kombucha to a light cider. Others flavour it to their own specific tastes. At REAL Kombucha, we have been commended for fermenting a kombucha that tastes like a wine, with floral and fruity notes that complement the natural acidity you might look for in something more traditional. This means it works well in food pairing. As Rémi Cousin, Head Sommelier at London’s Le Gavroche, said of our award-winning Royal Flush, “It is clean, complex and has great length. It can both highlight the freshness of the dish and bring a little subtlety.”
How is kombucha brewed?
Making kombucha is relatively easy: at its most simple, you add your scoby culture to a pot of warm sweetened tea and leave it for a couple of weeks to ferment. It’s actually quite similar to brewing beer or wine. The trick to making great kombucha, however, is to carefully and tightly manage every stage of the process to get an extraordinary flavour. At REAL Kombucha we have taken this to greater depths and levels of sophistication, fermenting our drinks at our bespoke kombucha brewery in the Chiltern Hills.
Why don’t you flavour REAL Kombucha?
While it’s true that many kombucha companies add flavouring to their drinks, it’s not something we choose to do. We’ve found that, by using exquisite loose leaf teas and a really refined fermentation process, there’s simply no need to add anything to what is already a classy and delicious drink.
Fermenting different teas has shown that a variety of subtle flavours already exist in the brews, so we initially put 150 different teas through their paces to see which leaves really works. What we’ve ended up with is a selection of flavours that suit different drinking occasions, none of which contain anything other than fermented tea. That means no unnecessarily added sugars, no weird medicinal tastes, and absolutely nothing unnatural. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Where can I buy kombucha in the UK?
If you arrived on this page asking, “What is kombucha?”, we recommend trying it for yourself to find out. You can buy our kombucha in restaurants, bars and hotels across the UK, and you can now buy it in some of the UK’s major supermarkets. Alternatively, and perhaps most conveniently, you can buy REAL Kombucha online, simply by clicking the button below.