Beverage Blog

Kombucha – a versatile and healthy beverage alternative

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Kombucha is thought to have originated in Norther China (formerly Manchuria) circa 220 B.C. and was prized for its healing properties and then reportedly taken to Japan in the times of Emperor Inkyo then to Europe and the rest of the world during the early 20th century.

Kombucha, also known as Mushroom Tea, Manchurian Tea or Tea Fungus is made by brewing and fermenting Green Tea with Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast or SCOBY (Latin: Medusomyces gisevii[). This living culture are said to be Probiotic and is one of the main reasons for the popularity of the drink and it is widely classed as a “functional beverage”.

Example of SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast)

After brewing and fermenting for some weeks, the raw Kombucha is slightly effervescent (a result of the fermentation process) has a vinegar smell and slightly bitter taste, it is then flavoured with natural flavours and sweetened either with sugar alternatives (No Sugar) or sugar. Kombucha sweetened with sugar generally requires refrigeration to slow down fermentation, whereas Kombucha made with sugar alternatives is able to remain shelf stable at room temperature.

Real brewed Kombucha that is raw and not pasteurized or filtered contains living cultures that are beneficial for gut health, this is one of the possible benefits of Kombucha drink, along with other claimed benefits such as containing anti-oxidants, the benefits of Green Tea and natural anti-biotics, along with many unproven claims relating to blood pressure, reducing blood pressure and diabetes, it should be noted that these claims are unfounded, but what can be proven is the Kombucha contains live cultures.

Ginger & Lime Kombucha bound for Japan

Kombucha is an extremely versatile drink and there are many benefits to consuming a no sugar beverage with pro-biotics compared to sugar filled and artificially flavoured soft drinks and sodas. Kombucha also makes a fantastic mixer for alcohol, and there is a growing market in the USA for “’Hard Kombucha” or high alcohol Kombucha.

A part of the fermentation and brewing process of real Kombucha produces a small amount of alcohol (less than 0.5% to be classed as non-alcoholic for commercial purposes), however, for hard kombucha, the fermentation process is allowed to go on for longer, producing an alcoholic drink, non-alcohol or virgin Kombucha can also be used as a mixer for other alcohol such as Vodka or White Rum.

The global Kombucha market is estimated to be $USD 1.8 billion as at 2019 and it is forecast to grow to $USD 10 billion. Kombucha sales are highest in USA, Europe and Australia, with strong growth potential for the Asian markets. We currently export Kombucha to Japan, and we have seen significant growth over the past 2 years of exporting to this market.

Consumers tend to be female skewed aged 18 – 60 with middle to high income consumers who are more likely to live in cities as opposed to rural.

Jiva Kombucha Swing Top Lid

We export a wide range of Kombucha from Australian manufacturers, and we are about to release our own brand of Kombucha to launch in the European and Asian markets, stay tuned for more news on this exciting launch. In the meantime, if you need more information on Kombucha or the brands we export, please contact us for more information and access to quality Kombucha, made in Australia – Naturally!

Some of the brands of Kombucha we export:

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