The busi­ness of booch

The kombucha craze is catch­ing on. We meet some lo­cal mak­ers and find out how to get brew­ing

Nadia - - CONTENTS -

You’ve prob­a­bly heard of kombucha. Over re­cent years this an­cient Chi­nese bev­er­age has gone from a niche health prod­uct to a main­stream drink found in su­per­mar­kets, bars and cafes. But what is it and why should you drink it?

“Kombucha is a drink made from fer­mented tea and su­gar,” says Auck­land di­eti­tian Ka­t­rina Pace, who has an in­ter­est in fer­mented foods. To ini­ti­ate the fer­men­ta­tion process, tea and su­gar is brewed in a jar with a cul­ture called a ‘scoby’ (sym­bi­otic cul­ture of bac­te­ria and yeast). If you ig­nore the scoby’s brown, jel­ly­fish-like ap­pear­ance, the final prod­uct tastes great – tangy, not too sweet and a re­fresh­ing al­ter­na­tive to al­co­hol.

With the grow­ing in­ter­est in gut health for mood and en­ergy, this pro­bi­otic drink is set to keep grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity. Al­though there is no pub­lished data from hu­man clin­i­cal tri­als, lab bench tests and an­i­mal stud­ies show the drink may have antimicrobial, an­tiox­i­dant, anti-can­cer and anti-di­a­betic prop­er­ties. Ka­t­rina be­lieves it is a good ad­di­tion to a healthy diet and makes kombucha and jun (a green tea and honey vari­a­tion) her­self.

“It con­tains ben­e­fi­cial bac­te­ria and yeasts that can change the amount and type of bac­te­ria we grow in our bod­ies,” she says. “We’re learn­ing more and more about how our gut bac­te­ria can in­flu­ence so many as­pects of our health – from how much en­ergy we har­vest from the pro­tein, fat and car­bo­hy­drates we eat, to whether we get au­toim­mune dis­eases, anx­i­ety or de­pres­sion.”

We talked to some lo­cal kombucha mak­ers to hear how they caught the ‘booch’ bug.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.