Kombucha Knowledge

Everything you need to know about the fermented tea drink "Kombucha"

Kombucha is more than just a fermented tea.

In major cities like New York, Sydney and LA, the fermented tea drink, which originally comes from East Asia, has long been part of the daily diet. Why? Because kombucha tea is said to have healing and vitalizing effects. We'll explain what kombucha is, where kombucha tea comes from, what effect kombucha has on your body and much more.


Kombucha Knowledge

What is Kombucha?

What is kombucha ? When made correctly, kombucha is a delicious, refreshing drink that fits perfectly into a healthy lifestyle. Many people are also familiar with the term kombucha tea and this already contains a large part of the explanation: Kombucha is a fermented tea drink. In order to ferment the tea infusion, a yeast and bacteria culture is required, which is also known as a SCOBY or tea fungus . Like all fermented foods, kombucha is also known for its probiotic effect . In many countries, kombucha is a real lifestyle drink because it not only tastes good but is also functional. This trend is slowly catching on in Germany too.

In addition to classic kombucha, there is also hard kombucha and jun kombucha . While classic kombucha uses sugar for fermentation, jun kombucha uses honey as a nutrient for the microorganisms. Classic kombucha and jun kombucha are usually alcohol-free (you can find out more here ). Hard kombucha, on the other hand, is the alcoholic version with at least 3.5% vol.

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Quality differences in Kombucha

Kombucha is like wine: there is the really good one, the mediocre one and then the one that is way down on the shelf.

Really good kombucha is traditionally fermented , is not pasteurized or filtered, contains only natural ingredients, little sugar and no sweeteners. It is usually produced by small manufacturers who specialize only in kombucha. Really good kombucha is often significantly more expensive than the standard version due to the long fermentation times , a lot of manual work and the use of high-quality ingredients , but you get a real quality product .

In the middle price and quality segment , traditional fermentation is sometimes used, but kombucha concentrates are often used to speed up the production process. The products are often heavily filtered to increase shelf life and flavorings are used to intensify the taste at lower costs. If the kombucha is particularly cheap, you can assume that it was produced industrially. When making cheap kombucha, tea is usually simply mixed with a kombucha concentrate and not fermented any further. To compensate for the lack of the characteristic kombucha taste, these products are usually heavily sweetened or covered with flavorings. In addition, they are almost always pasteurized and filtered and therefore no longer contain any living microorganisms .

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Kombucha Effect

Kombucha has always been said to have healing properties . This is mainly due to the amino acids, probiotic microorganisms and B vitamins that are formed through traditional fermentation. The acids and probiotic microorganisms in the fermented tea have a positive effect on the intestinal flora and since the book “Gut with Charm” we all know how important a healthy intestine is. People who regularly drink unpasteurized , i.e. live, kombucha report that their digestion is better, their skin becomes more refined and that they suffer from cravings less often. Kombucha can also relieve a hangover and has a positive effect on regeneration after exercise .

If you want to drink kombucha because of its health benefits , you should make sure that the sugar content is as low as possible and that the kombucha has not been pasteurized . Both aspects are important to us when producing FIRST8 Kombucha in order to produce a functional drink and not just another soft drink. You can find out here how to tell whether your kombucha still contains valuable microorganisms when you buy it.

Kombucha Knowledge

This is what you should pay attention to when buying kombucha.

Kombucha has been available for many years in health food stores and, more recently, in organic shops and supermarkets. However, there are a few things to consider when buying kombucha if you want to be sure that you are getting a functional probiotic drink and not a soft drink version of kombucha. It is best to take a closer look at the list of ingredients, nutritional values ​​and storage conditions when buying kombucha. Kombucha that you can buy in supermarkets is often heavily sugared, flavored or contains artificial sweeteners. What really matters when buying kombucha, however, is whether the kombucha is really raw, i.e. alive. 90% of purchased kombucha is pasteurized or filtered and no longer contains the living microorganisms that make the drink so special. If the kombucha is not in the refrigerated section, this is a first sign that the kombucha is pasteurized or filtered. Even if it is in the refrigerator, you should look carefully to see if there are any indications that it must be stored in a cool place. Sometimes you read that the kombucha has never been heated. But that does not mean that it is not filtered. If you want to be sure that you are getting a living drink when buying kombucha, check whether it has to be stored in the refrigerator: If the label says that the kombucha has to be stored in a cool place, i.e. at less than 7°C, it is almost certainly not pasteurized or filtered and the valuable microorganisms are still alive. Our FIRST8 kombucha is not filtered or pasteurized because we want to offer you a functional drink that can support you in your healthy diet.

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Kombucha mushroom, tea mushroom, SCOBY

A mushroom with many names. And it's actually not a mushroom at all - at least not in the botanical sense. The kombucha mushroom, also called tea mushroom, is a symbiosis of bacteria and yeast. Hence its English name: SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). Nothing works without the kombucha mushroom. It is the heart, the mother of kombucha. The yeast and bacteria in the kombucha mushroom perform true miracles: they make this wonderful drink from sugar and tea. If you have a tea mushroom, you can easily make your own kombucha at home. You can buy a kombucha mushroom in our online shop or at our stand at the Munich Viktualienmarkt .

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Make your own kombucha

To make kombucha, you need a starter culture made of yeast and bacteria, also known as a tea fungus or SCOBY . The starter culture is added to a tea infusion sweetened with sucrose. Over time, the microorganisms from the starter culture process the sugar and multiply. During this process, B vitamins, enzymes and organic acids are formed. The longer the fermentation lasts, the lower the sugar content and the higher the proportion of healthy yeast and bacteria. We have put together a detailed kombucha recipe with lots of tips. Here you can find out how to make kombucha yourself. You can find all the utensils you need in our online shop .

If you are wondering whether you can make kombucha without sugar, you will find an answer here .

Kombucha Knowledge

Kombucha flavor

Have you ever heard this sentence: "I don't like kombucha"? We can only answer: "I don't think so!". Kombucha is a drink as versatile as wine and comes in countless flavor nuances. However, some flavor characteristics are characteristic of every kombucha: Kombucha always has a slightly sour, sometimes slightly bitter note. Depending on the residual sugar, kombucha tastes more or less sweet. Kombucha can also be carbonated. Some kombucha teas literally bubble over, while others have a delicate bubble. Kombucha is ideal as a non-alcoholic accompaniment to food, as the fermentation creates a real taste experience that classic soft drinks are far from. Kombucha is often found in different flavors. These types of kombucha, such as ginger kombucha or mint kombucha, are usually made with a second fermentation. So it is not possible to say in general terms what kombucha tastes like. As with wine, there are many different facets and by enriching it with fruits and herbs, the spectrum of flavours is even broadened.

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Kombucha during pregnancy

Whether kombucha should be drunk during pregnancy or breastfeeding depends on the type of kombucha. You often read that kombucha should not be drunk during pregnancy. This is especially true for homemade kombucha, as it often contains a high alcohol content of over 1.2%. This should be avoided during pregnancy.

The alcohol content of FIRST8 Kombucha is around 0.3% vol, which is considered "alcohol-free". Even juices, such as apple juice or grape juice, can contain up to 1% vol due to natural fermentation. The same applies to products such as yogurt, kefir, yeast dough products or raw sauerkraut. All of these products undergo natural fermentation, which produces alcohol levels of up to 1.2%. The legal requirement is that a level of up to 1.2% vol does not have to be declared. So we often don't even know that we are consuming alcoholic products.

The decision whether to consume foods with less than 1.2% in moderation during pregnancy is an individual decision on which there is no clear scientific opinion.

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Alcohol content Kombucha

Store-bought kombucha is usually alcohol-free. There is also alcoholic kombucha, which is called hard kombucha and has over 4% ABV.

The alcohol content of homemade kombucha can reach up to 2.5% vol. It depends on how long you ferment, the dimensions of your fermentation vessel and how much sugar you use. A high sugar content leads to more alcohol in the kombucha. The depth of the vessel also affects the alcohol content of your kombucha. The deeper it is, the more alcohol can form in the kombucha. If you want to be sure that you are consuming an alcohol-free kombucha, we recommend that you buy kombucha. The alcohol content of purchased kombucha must be declared if it is over 1.2%. FIRST8 Kombucha has less than 0.5% vol alcohol and is therefore considered alcohol-free.

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Kombucha without sugar?

Kombucha without sugar - is that even possible? Yes and no! To make any kombucha you first need sucrose, i.e. sugar. This can be added in the form of raw cane sugar, beet sugar, honey or other forms of sucrose. If you let the kombucha tea ferment for a very long time - the duration depends on the amount of the batch - at some point all the sugar will be processed by the yeast and bacteria. That's great, but it's also the case that the kombucha will then only taste of vinegar. So if you want a drinkable kombucha without sugar, you have to mix this kombucha vinegar with fresh tea again. The tea-kombucha-vinegar mixture is then not fermented any further, as you would need real sugar for that. To give the whole thing a pleasant taste, you can add sweeteners such as xylitol or stevia. Fermentation will not work with sugar substitutes or sweeteners. It can be assumed that sugar-free kombucha contains fewer living cultures than kombucha with some residual sugar.

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Lose weight with Kombucha

If you are watching your weight or even want to lose weight, kombucha is a great alternative to all sugary soft drinks. However, you should make sure that the kombucha contains little sugar (<5g/100ml) so that you do not consume too many calories from the sugar. It is also important that the kombucha does not contain any sweeteners. Sweeteners often lead to cravings. To support your intestinal health, which is an important basis for losing weight, you should choose live kombucha that has not been filtered or pasteurized.