Kombucha is perceived to be a recent beverage trend but in fact, it has been around for over 2,000 years in Asia. In 2019, MTL COOL explored the rise of Kombucha products as we expected the category to grow. Three years later, it is still a growing category and we reached out to some of our favorite brands, Lao Kombucha and Y Kombucha to learn more about this product and the continued maturation of the category. Here is what they had to say…
What is Kombucha?
Jonathan Cloutier CEO and co-founder of Lao Kombucha: Kombucha is a slightly sweetened beverage from the acetic fermentation of an infusion of tea leaves (Camellia sinensis, Latin name).
Gardy Fury CEO Founder of Y Kombucha describes the product as a living organic beverage since fermentation creates active microorganisms.
What are the health benefits?
Y Kombucha: As more of 60% of the canadian population suffers from digestive problems according to the numbers CDHF, the most recent studies have mostly focused on the effect of Kombucha on digestive health. It can therefore be said without a doubt that microorganisms, called microbiota, are allies at this level.
Lao Kombucha: Based on texts from traditional Chinese medicine, we list 7 health benefits of kombucha
- Antioxidants produced during fermentation helps prevent cancer.
- The tea, which is very popular in Chinese medicine, strengthens the immune system.
- The tons of probiotics created during the process revitalize and provide oxygen to the body.
- The glucuronic acid eliminates the accumulated toxins, which means it’s a natural detoxifier.
- The organic acids produced during the process revitalize and oxygenate the body.
- The Glucosamine in the kombucha lubricates joints and prevent wear.
- Kombucha helps eliminate fats and prevent it from building up again.
- The best way to see the benefits on your own health is to try it !
If it’s a health drink, why does it have sugar in it?
Lao Kombucha: Sugar is an essential ingredient for fermentation. It acts as food so that the yeast can transform the nutrients of the tea. Therefore, it’s the sugar that makes kombucha a healthy drink. The final sugar level in each bottle varies with each brand. At Lao, we reduce to a minimum to have an interesting taste and texture, around 10g of sugar per 350ml bottle, which is very reasonable.
Y Kombucha: Kombucha has a moderate and well balanced sweet taste. With its slogan: “Y liquid equilibrium”, like a tightrope walker, Y Kombucha plays its role well by walking on the thin line combining both health and good taste.
Does Kombucha contain caffeine?
Lao Kombucha: Kombucha is frequently credited of providing a mental awakening, but that doesn’t have to be due to the theine in it. Much of the caffein produced by the tea infusion is digested in the fermentation process. Ultimately, there is an average of 6 mg of theine per 250 ml or the equivalent of decaffeinated coffee. The mental awakening is therefore linked to the organic acids obtained in kombucha, which are responsible for encouraging the body improve its oxygenation and revitalization.
Y Kombucha: Caffeine or theine are synonyms because they are actually the same molecule. Kombucha tea, once fermented, does not give the effect of a boost like that of an exciting for example a coffee but rather provides an effect of vitality.
Does the fermentation keep happening once the bottle sealed?
Lao Kombucha: Usually, kombucha is unpasteurized. This means the kombucha is still active and that all the micro-organisms are still alive there. This is why kombucha should be refrigerated so that the fermentation process is slowed down.
Y Kombucha: Yes because Kombucha is alive. Other products on the market are usually pasteurized. The difference is that pasteurization is a technique that kills microorganisms in order to preserve food longer. Fermentation is based on the interaction between all micro-organisms, so even once bottled the drink remains alive and active.
How should we preserve our Kombucha once open?
Lao Kombucha: It should always be kept refrigerated. Otherwise, the fermentation process will start again. If your bottle is opened and closed several times, it may become less bubbly over time, as carbon dioxide escapes with each opening.
Y Kombucha: It’s best to keep it refrigerated. At room temperature bacteria and yeasts consume the sugars of the product and the taste changes. Over time, kombucha transforms like a wine or beer, it matures. It becomes more candied and rounder in the mouth. It all depends on the tastes of consumers.
Is all Kombucha the same?
Lao Kombucha: Absolutely not! Many factors can have an impact on the taste and quality of kombucha. The type of teas, types of flavouring, the fermentation time, the environment and even the quality of the ingredients used. At Lao, we consistently find ourselves making people who were reluctant to kombucha rediscover it and be blown away by the taste and the flavour range of our products.
At Y Kombucha, in our case, we use organic sencha green tea and filtered water that are then fermented for several days. Kombucha is a symbiosis of bacteria and yeast. “Y” is a symbol of balance; it is a healthy product without depriving yourself of good taste.
Can you make Kombucha cocktail?
Lao Kombucha: Kombucha is the best base for instant cocktails! Just add alcohol to a kombucha to make an impeccable and easy cocktail. Be curious and let your instincts guides you with the alcohols you already have at home!
Y Kombucha: it mixes very well with alcohol! It is also a good alternative for a mocktail! In 2020, the company joined forces with the Jean Lapointe Foundation to invite people to swap their alcoholic beverage for fermented tea while donating $0.50 per bottle to the cause throughout the month of February!
What is your favorite recipe?
A elegantly simple and festive recipe. We suggest you take Parés Baltà sparkling wine, from a family vineyard since 1790 and biodynamic, mixed with our elderberry and elderflower kombucha.
50% Parés Baltà Cava Brut sparkling wine
50% of Lao Kombucha Rosé
For other classic recipes, visit our website at www.laokombucha.com in the cocktails section.
Y Kombucha : The flavors of the Y are so complete that you can take them as is and add the alcohol of your choice. We advise it with an excellent Gin, preferably Quebec, or for a mojito.
Y : Mint-Chlorophyll
1 or 2 oz of White rhum
For other classic recipes, visit our website at www.ykombucha.com in the cocktails section.
Is there any misconception about Kombucha that you would like to set straight?
Lao Kombucha: A popular belief says that kombucha is a certain mushroom that would ferment tea. This belief comes from the mass that forms on kombucha brews during fermentation. This mass bears the real name of: SCOBY, for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. It is formed to maintain the correct level of oxygen throughout the fermentation process.
Y Kombucha: If you find that kombucha in general “tastes like S”, it’s because you haven’t tasted Y yet. In our elixirs, no aromas, no “herbal teas or juices with flavor of…”, nor preservatives. Let the essential ingredients go into the manufacture of Y! Health does not mean depriving yourself!
Is there anything else you would like to say about Kombucha?
At Lao, we elevate kombucha to the world of sommelier. The experience of enjoying a pleasant drink shouldn’t end with wine and beer. Kombucha comes from manufacturing processes similar to these, but its potential is currently underestimated. So dare to embark on the adventure of tea tasting from an unusual perspective. In addition, for the full Lao experience, you will find our glass suggestion for tasting behind each of our bottles.
At Y Kombucha, we offer the most delectable kombucha on the market and we are proud to have expanded the category by being the 1st kombucha brand to be an official partner of the Bell Centre and the Formula 1 Grand Prix Canada! Even the Montreal Canadiens have trained with our Ys…! Word of Y!
The watchword: sim-pli-ci-tY ! We create it from real fruits and organic ingredients. We let them macerate to extract their quintessence.
Y is based in Montreal and is a Quebec company that actively participates in the local economy. We have magnificent resources in Quebec and we are happy to promote them on a global scale. Among our delicious and unique flavours, 3 come from our region: The blackcurrant of Du capitaine de l’Île d’Orléans, the blueberries from Mistassini and our legendary and extremely rare hops from the surroundings of Montréal
Mainly sold in supermarkets, expect to see more and more Kombucha in sports centers, cafes, bars and restaurants especially with the growth of alternative alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.