Consumers are being bombarded with shelves full of 'Kombucha' products in cafes, restaurants and supermarkets ... however, there is a catch!
Firstly, Kombucha is a raw, living, bacteria rich fermented product. This presents a couple of issues - one, is that it is extremely shelf unstable. And two, it is very hard to mass produce authentic real kombucha.
Being fermented and alive, real Kombucha is naturally carbonated (fizzy). Over time it continues to ferment and produces more carbon dioxide, which means it gets fizzier and fizzier - even explosive. Depending on the balance of Bacteria:Yeast in the original Kombucha SCOBY culture, there is an element of alcohol, or, the potential for alcohol. As the product ferments further, the potential for increased alcohol can rise. For mass production, mass distribution on a raw, living, and ever-changing product introduces a real nightmare for regulation, control and consistency.
In regards the second point - to manufacture real, authentic kombucha is actually very difficult to achieve on a large commercial scale. We brew in small batches, using oak barrels with a traditional method. A method where the outcome is to produce a culture rich, healthy brew to support your gut microbiome. This is never going to happen with a commercial manufacturer that is focussing on producing and distributing large volumes of tasty drinks to turn large profits.
To us, Kombucha is merely a tool (one of many) to feed your gut microbiome with enriching precursors and acids allowing you to take control and optimise your personal wellbeing and health.
Our goal is to produce a vehicle, a system and a method that helps you achieve optimised health & vitality. We're in the market of producing an active product, alongside support and advice, that allows you to feel better and live a better life through self-prescribed, natural, functional foods.
We noticed some time back, that most Kombucha brands actually have very little understanding about gut health, or the microbiome. There's nothing wrong with producing a tasty, flavoured, fizzy drink to compete in the soda/flavoured drinks market ... it just isn't what we started OMBucha to achieve. We've no interest in producing an alternative to your favourite cola or sugar loaded energy drink. We started our mission to raise the awareness of how the human gut influences mental, physical and emotional well being. We wanted to produce a product that actually has a real world impact on your microbes and thus your wellness.
The world of your personal gut bacteria, and how your microbiome communicates and interacts with your brain and body is truly fascinating. Nowadays, we know that over 1,000 different types of microbes are active in the human intestines. Bacteria and microbes co-exist on, in and within our body and have a massive influence over our health, wellness, mood and both physical & emotional state. Your gut is the foundational cornerstone of long term health - with the root of many illnesses and diseases actually starting in the gut.
In order to mass produce true authentic Kombucha, you're banging your head against a brick wall. You're trying to achieve something that is actually not possible. Every Kombucha brand knows this. And behind the scenes, commercial kombucha brands are using techniques to overcome these challenges - creating mass produced, shelf stable, carbonated drinks in order to win over your taste buds and draw you in with branding/marketing techniques that appeal to your sense of taste.
Let us tell you something ... outside of OMBucha, we have and continue to work in the sports nutrition, nutrition and online marketing industries. OMBucha is a hobby - a passion. Our knowledge from working with some of the largest nutritional food companies in the world has given us insights to the good, the bad and the ugly of the commercial marketing world, which includes that of the growing commercial sector for Kombucha.
Sure, we can adulterate our product and flavour it. Sure we can put it in a can. Sure we can make it more shelf stable. Sure we can add CBD, and botanicals and all kinds of cool stuff - none of it is a problem. HOWEVER, be aware, that when you introduce any of these adulterants and mass production factors - you are consistently moving away from optimal, unadulterated, effective nutrition.
Since we started our Kombucha with a mission to improve health, vitality and wellness we have zero intention of moving away from that goal. From our own understanding of nutrition, and gut health as it stands today, we have no desire to adulterate our Kombucha, which is a tool that we use ourselves to improve our gut microbiome and thus improve our health.
"Let Food Be They Medicine, and Medicine Be They Food" - you've heard it before and we'll post it over and over again, because we strongly believe in this from the core of our being.
For us here at OMBucha we produce what we believe is a raw, living, active culture in an activated food that has a real world impact on your health & wellbeing. To introduce factors that take us away from the purest form of natural medicine by adding in tactics, techniques and flavours in order to mass produce a commercial profit spinning product takes us further and further away from our values and beliefs.
In that regard, although we appreciate and enjoy the ever growing list of flavoured, fizzy drinks masquerading as 'Kombucha' on the market for what they stand for in a commercial aspect, it's simply not something we have any interest in involving ourselves in. You can read more about how real Kombucha can positively impact your gut microbiome here.
*Kombucha will continue to mature and will eventually become Kombucha vinegar which has a multitude of uses of its own: use it in salad dressings, skin moisturiser, as a hair tonic, or as a marinade.
The majority of kombucha sold on the market, like OMBucha™ is raw, and therefore biologically active. The fermentation process continues as long as bacteria and yeast have sugars to feed on. Yeast is temperature sensitive, and cold temperatures keep them less active.
Trace amounts of ethanol are naturally produced by the fermentation process. Keeping kombucha cold is an important means to ensure the quality remains consistent and compliant.
If exposed to warm or hot temperatures, the fermentation continues rapidly and the carbon dioxide will build up quickly. The results could be anywhere from an excess carbonation upon opening to an exploding or broken bottle. It is important to keep commercial kombucha refrigerated at all times to prevent any mishaps. Good thing it is so delicious, leaving it in the bottle almost never happens!
Over time the sugar diminishes as the tea conditions as the yeast continue to digest the sugar. In OMBucha the sugar will settle at around 4g/100ml when fully conditioned. With kombucha, sugar is a necessary evil but the good components vastly outweigh the relatively small amount of sugar in a glass and are doing you far more good than harm.
Sugar is the critical food that is utilised in the fermentation process to produce all the delicious health promoting vital elements of a good kombucha, which you can learn more about here - sugar a necessary evil...
This is the reason the commercial kombucha’s are pasteurised, negating the many health benefits one can derive from the probiotic content in the drink (the heat during pasteurisation literally kills the health promoting probiotics found in the kombucha). Add to that, force carbonation, artificial preservatives, added sugar, flavours & sweeteners and you’ll find that the mass-produced, mainstream, high-street kombucha products are actually far removed from the health promoting, nourishing, vitality giving goodness delivered by a true home-brewed craft kombucha like OMBucha™
IS OMBucha Kombucha Gluten Free?Yes, 100%, our SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts) is entirely gluten free, and all of our ingredients are gluten free. We have 100% confidence that not only is our authentic Kombucha tea gluten free, but it is also hugely beneficial for anyone who has eliminated gluten from their diet. The plethora of amazing probiotics in our OMBucha Kombucha are so good to repopulate, and manage, an optimal healthy gut bacteria microbiome. A happy, healthy gut (often termed the 'second brain') is absolutely essential for optimal health and functioning of body, mind and hormones. You can discover more about our ingredients and our manufacturing process here - all about the simplicity of our recipe!
Because Kombucha is incredibly rich in prebiotics (which feed bacteria, sometimes the bad alongside the good), precaution is taken with its inclusion to a low FODMAP diet for SIBO sufferers.
You may be able to drink Kombucha in moderation with SIBO, but the debate is certainly open as to how much you can/should consume of the Elixir of Life.
Our opinion on this matter is to take pre-emptive measures and play it safe, keeping things in moderation. Kombucha may/may not fit into your diet if you’re suffering from SIBO, and you should always consult your physician before transitioning your diet to self-medicating a serious condition.
Read the full article here: SIBO and Kombucha
Kombucha contains trace amounts of alcohol, a natural byproduct of the fermentation process that preserves the brew and protects it from harmful microorganisms. The trace amounts of alcohol are similar to what you’d find in unpasteurized fruit juice. Kombucha is considered halal because it is non-inebriating and the ethanol serves as a preservative.
There are, however, types of kombucha with higher amounts of alcohol which are deemed alcoholic beverages for consumption by an adult 21+ consumer including hybrid drinks like kombucha beer.
- healthy liver function
- removing toxins
- destroying free radicals
- anti-microbial/anti-fungal properties
A kombucha SCOBY’s food source is sweetened black tea. When you place a SCOBY into the prepared tea, it begins to consume the sugars and form another SCOBY, often referred to as a baby.
The other symbiotic relationship, therefore, exists between the SCOBY and the sweet tea. The SCOBY needs the tea to survive and kombucha cannot be made without the SCOBY. This process can take as little as a week, if it is warmer, and up to a month in cooler temperatures.
The by-products of this process are organic acids, a multiplication of the bacteria and yeasts within the sweetened tea, carbon dioxide (which is how kombucha becomes carbonated), a trace of alcohol, and B vitamins. Exactly what we need for a healthy balanced gut.
Fermentation and fermenting tea is an ancient process, you can learn more about kombucha fermented tea and why ferment tea here.
Health Benefits of drinking KombuchaRead the full article here on why craft OMBucha is great for your gut and health.
Improves Digestion Kombucha promotes healthy digestion. Attributing to the process of fermentation with a live colony of bacteria and yeast, it works as a probiotic by helping in sustaining the gut health and provides relief from various abdominal disorders including chronic constipation and diarrhea symptoms. The digestive enzymes present in it enhance the effects of glucuronic acid and aid in the breakdown of proteins and saccharides thereby, making the digestive system more efficient.
Kombucha possesses antibiotic properties i.e. bacteriocidal and bacteriostatic which works against a range of pathogens and is used for therapeutic purposes in human as well as veterinary treatments.
Detoxifies the Body Kombucha may have a remarkable ability to detoxify the body. It contains a powerful detoxifier glucuronic acid which binds the toxins by entering the liver and eliminates them out of the body via kidneys.
Antioxidant Agent Kombucha contains profuse amounts of organic acids like glucuronic acid and powerful antioxidants which may help in shielding the body from oxidative damage. The antioxidants present in it look out for the oxygen free radicals and neutralize their effects thereby, repairing and protecting the body from diseases and inflammations.
Liver Support Another suggested healing action purported by kombucha is its hepatic-protective effects. A research study conducted on kombucha has shown that its tea helps in restoring the levels of glutathione and is remarkably effectual in reducing the induced hepatotoxicity. A comparative study conducted on black tea, kombucha tea, and enzyme-processed black tea has proven the efficacy and superiority of kombucha tea in providing hepatic protection against the toxicity attributing to its antioxidant power as compared to the latter.
Possible Anti-microbial Effects Kombucha tea has anti-microbial properties which may prove effective against a variety of pathogens. An investigative research has revealed that apart from acetic acid, it contains other anti-microbial components which even at neutral values of pH provide protection against a range of microorganisms including Staphylococcus aureaus, Staphylococcus epidermis, Escherichia Coli, Salmonella enteriditis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Listeria monocytogens, and Helicobacter pylori
The specific bacteria and yeast strains in the kombucha are what make it act the way it does, and what produces the fizz and flavor of kombucha. Not all kombucha cultures will contain the exact same strains, but these are some that have been recorded in studies:
Acetobacter  is an aerobic (requiring oxygen) bacteria strain that produces acetic acid and gluconic acid. It is always found in kombucha. Acetobacter strains also build the scoby mushroom. Acetobacter xylinoides and acetobacter ketogenum are two strains that you might find in kombucha.
Saccharomyces  includes a number of yeast strains that produce alcohol and are the most common types of yeast found in kombucha. They can be aerobic or anaerobic (requires an oxygen-free environment). They include Saccharomycodes ludwigii, Saccharomycodes apiculatus, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Zygosaccharomyes, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Brettanomyces  is another type of yeast strain, either aerobic or anaerobic, that are commonly found in kombucha and produce alcohol or acetic acid.
Lactobacillus : A type of aerobic bacteria that is sometimes, but not always, found in kombucha. It produces lactic acid and slime.
Pediococcus : These anaerobic bacteria produce lactic acid and slime. They are sometimes, but not always, found in kombucha.
Gluconacetobacter kombuchae  is an anaerobic bacteria that is unique to kombucha. It feeds on nitrogen that is found in tea and produces acetic acid and gluconic acid, as well as building the scoby.
Zygosaccharomyces kombuchaensis  is a yeast strain that is unique to kombucha. It produces alcohol and carbonation as well as contributing to the mushroom body.
Glucuronic acid The body's most important detoxifier. When toxins enter the liver this acid binds them to it and flushes them out through the kidneys. Once bound by glucuronic acid toxins cannot escape. A product of the oxidation process of glucose, glucuronic acid is one of the more significant constituents of Kombucha. As a detoxifying agent it's one of the few agents that can cope with pollution from the products of the petroleum industry, including all the plastics, herbicides, pesticides and resins. It kidnaps the phenols in the liver, which are then eliminated easily by the kidneys. Kombucha can be very helpful for allergy sufferers. Another by-product of glucuronic acid are the glucosamines, the structures associated with cartilage, collagen and the fluids which lubricate the joints. It is this function that makes Kombucha so effective against arthritis.
Glucuronolactone, glucuronic acid is involved in the metabolism of detoxification in the liver whose glucuronyl rest of the body is linked to a group of foreign compounds or any of the metabolites in the body so that they become soluble in water and are excreted in the urine. Glucuronic acid should be distinguished from gluconic acid because it is linear and the gluconic acid is formed by oxidation of the different carbon glucose atom.
Lactic Acid Essential for the digestive system. Assist blood circulation, helps prevent bowel decay and constipation. Aids in balancing acids and alkaline in the body and believed to help in the prevention of cancer by helping to regulate blood pH levels.
Acetic Acid A powerful preservative and it inhibits harmful bacteria.
Usnic Acid A natural antibiotic that can be effective against many viruses.
Oxalic Acid An effective preservative and encourages the intercellular production of energy.
Malic Acid Helps detoxify the liver.
Gluconic Acid Produced by the bacteria, it can break down to caprylic acid is of great benefit to sufferers of candidiasis and other yeast infections such as thrush.
Butyric acid Produced by the yeast, protects human cellular membranes and combined with Gluconic acid strengthens the walls of the gut to combat yeast infections like candida.
Kombucha also contains a variety of other nutrients, particularly various acids and esters that give the drink its characteristic tang and fizz. Included in these components is gluconic acid, which is the primary difference between the makeup of kombucha and the makeup of apple cider vinegar.
Flavonoids Flavonoids are part of a large class of chemicals called polyphenols that occur naturally in plants. Flavonoids, which are found in a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as in tea and red wine, are thought to boost health in part by combating oxidation. That's why they're called antioxidants. Antioxidants help the body's cells resist damage by free radicals. Tea has one of the highest total flavonoid contents of all plants at 15% of the leaf by dry weight and is the major source of flavonoids in the UK diet, providing approximately 80% of dietary flavonoids for the population as a whole. So don't stop drinking your tea!
The actual bacteria, sugar, and acid content of kombucha depend on many factors, including the initial culture, the type of tea used, the type of sugar used, the strength of the tea, the type of water, the brewing time, the culturing temperature, and more. Due to the nature of kombucha, it is not possible to state an exact microbial composition for Kombucha. 
While different SCOBYs may vary in their exact makeup, what is common to all kombuchas is gluconic acid, acetic acid, and fructose. 
1. Ai Leng Teoha,, Gillian Heard, Julian Cox.(2044). Yeast ecology of Kombucha fermentation. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 95(2), 119-126. doi:10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2003.12.020
2. Jayabalan, R., Malini, K., Sathishkumar, M., Swaminathan, K., & Yun, S. E. (2010). Biochemical characteristics of tea fungus produced during kombucha fermentation. Food Science and Biotechnology, 19(3), 843-847.
3. Kurtzman, C. P., Robnett, C. J. and Basehoar-Powers, E. (2001), Zygosaccharomyces kombuchaensis, a new ascosporogenous yeast from ‘Kombucha tea’. FEMS Yeast Research, 1: 133–138. doi: 10.1111/j.1567-1364.2001.tb00024.x
What strains of bacteria & yeasts are present in Kombucha?The yeasts and bacteria commonly identified as Acetobacter xylinum (bacteria) and Saccharomyces (yeast) have been considered the key players in Kombucha Mushroom Tea ferments. However, as research into kombucha continues and as recently as Feb 2007 specific strains of both bacteria and yeasts have been identified. Similarly to milk‐derived kefir, the exact microbial composition of kombucha cannot be given because it varies. It depends on the source of the inoculum for the tea fermentation.
All kombucha cultures should contain the bacteria species: Acetobacter or Gluconobacter, these bacteria are responsible for producing Gluconic and Acetic acid which make Kombucha uniquely kombucha.
A typical Kombucha ferment may included the following strains (not always):
- Bacterium gluconicum
- Bacterium xylinum
- Acetobacter xylinum
- Acetobacter xylinoides
- Acetobacter Ketogenum
- Saccharomycodes ludwigii
- Saccharomycodes apiculatus
- Schizosaccharomyces pombe
- Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Acids and others:
- Acetic acid
- Acetoacetic acid
- Benzoic acid
- propenyl ester
- Butanoic acid
- Citric acid
- Decanoic acid
- Ethyl Acetate
- d-Gluconic acid
- Hexanoic acid
- Itaconic acid
- 2-Keto-gluconic acid
- 5-Keto-gluconic acid
- 2-Keto-3-deoxy-gluconic Lactic acid
- Nicotinic acid
- Pantothenic acid
- Phenethyl Alcohol
- Phenol, 4-ethyl
- 6-Phospho gluconate
- Propionic acid
- Octanoic acid
- Oxalic acid
- d-Saccharic acid
- (Glucaric acid)
- Succinic acid
- Thiamin - plus 40 other acid esters in trace amount.
Chemical composition of kombucha teaChemical analysis of kombucha showed the presence of various organic acids, such as acetic, gluconic, glucuronic, citric, L‐lactic, malic, tartaric, malonic, oxalic, succinic, pyruvic, usnic; also sugars, such as sucrose, glucose, and fructose; the vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, and C; 14 amino acids, biogenic amines, purines, pigments, lipids, proteins, some hydrolytic enzymes, ethanol, antibiotically active matter, carbon dioxide, phenol, as well as some tea polyphenols, minerals, anions, DSL, as well as insufficiently known products of yeast and bacterial metabolites.
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