Keeping it Raw, Why We Don’t Pasteurize Our Kombucha


Keeping it Raw, Why We Don’t Pasteurize Our Kombucha

The definition of kombucha is as follows:

kom·bu·cha– Kombucha is a traditionally fermented beverage that is most commonly consumed raw, meaning unpasteurized, to protect the probiotics and nutrients in a living form from being damaged.

While the process of making kombucha dates back well over 2,000+ years, it’s recent popularity has created many producers of different levels of authenticity. We’ve always been open and transparent of our process as you can see in our media coverage & social media. True kombucha is made with a simple essential process:

  1. Brew tea (we prefer organic however many teas can be used and that is one major reason for different flavor profiles).
  2. Add sugar to feed fermentation (we use organic, raw, fair trade sugar for example).
  3. Once the tea is below 95 degrees, add starter tea + SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria & Yeast).
  4. Ferment in an open container with fabric to allow airflow.
  5. Transfer to sealed vessel & add herbs & fruits.
  6. Chill between 33 – 40 degrees until consumed.

This process takes approximately one to three weeks (varies due to many factors) from start to finish. It is critical for the presence of probiotics (good bacteria), antioxidants, vitamins and amino acids. The end result is a raw, (ours happens to also be low sugar), probiotic, carbonated healthy beverage.

Why is this important?

This process results in raw kombucha, and therefore biologically active. The fermentation process continues as long as bacteria and yeast have sugars to feed on.  Yeast are temperature sensitive, and cold temperatures keep them less active.

We pride ourselves in sticking to the original orgins and maintaining a healthy, raw, product as we grow. Keeping kombucha cold, It is an important means to ensure the quality remains consistent and compliant. If you see kombucha in a non refrigerated environment, that is a strong indicator that it is not raw and true to the definition of kombucha. Kombucha that is not raw does not follow the natural process and therefore has been altered to mimic the taste and health benefits of kombucha. It’s important to note that the process is not the same, the cost is not the same, the benefits are not the same and most importantly the profits are not the same. Raw kombucha requires time, equipment, expertise and is an artisanal craft beverage. It’s much easier (and cheaper) make something taste like kombucha with probiotics added at the end than to slowly ferment and monitor a traditional raw batch of bucha, let alone the distribution costs to keep the product cold from second fermentation to end user.

All kombucha is not equal.

We wish it was as easy as reading the label, but unfortunately it is not. A few signs to look for are on the ingredients. Label regulations require ingredients to be listed in descending order with the first being most predominate and the last being the smallest component.

  • If you see “100% Raw Live Kombucha” as the first ingredient- you are in luck! It’s hard to argue with that.
  • If you see “Live Probiotic Drink” then it’s not “Raw Kombucha”.
  • If you see a “Live Probiotic Culture” as the last ingredient, this indicates they are added after production. Using the word “live” is under scrutiny in this use as well. Unless it is raw & live during the whole process. While we pride ourselves on using the old world process and sourcing the best ingredients available, each brewer has their own environment that they work out of.
  • Look for the Bootleg Bucha label, you’ll know you are always getting live, raw kombucha.

Thanks for keeping it real, we’re doing our best to keep kombucha the same. Find 100% Raw, Live, Kombucha near you.

PS. Order online and we ship across USA.

About the Author

Todd subscriber

Todd has been drinking kombucha since 2011 to overcome digestive issues. A frequent traveler, he's always on the lookout for new flavors of local kombucha. After a trip to Portland, OR in 2013, he fell in love with kombucha on tap in co-ops, bars and coffee shops and decided to bring it back to Buffalo. After a chance conversation with Jeff & Heather, the rest is history (or will be soon).

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