If you’re visiting the Genie Drinks website, you could be wondering exactly what kombucha is. You might have heard that it’s healthy, it has a sharp taste, and perhaps you've seen pictures of some funky-looking home-brews, but we want to help demystify this wonderful drink and give you all the info you need.
What is kombucha?
Kombucha is an ancient, fermented tea-based drink. It is brewed using either black or green tea and fermented for a few weeks before being stabilised. You can then either drink it as it is or add flavouring.
Original kombuchas are just that, the fermented tea, and have a very tart, acidic flavour. Here at Genie, we’ve combined ours with natural extracts such as organic ginger, citrus, and natural juices. We prefer this because it takes the edge off the sour taste without adding any sugars, sweeteners, or anything artificial.
How is kombucha made?
Kombucha is pretty easy to make, anyone can make it at home! All you need is water, sugar, a SCOBY, and some loose-leaf tea. Check out our previous post about ‘How to brew kombucha at home’ if you fancy having a go.
The SCOBY is the key here: a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. And yes, that is the funky-looking thing you see sitting on the top of homemade booch on Instagram. You can use black or green tea; at Genie we prefer black as it gives a rounded and less vinegary taste. Then anything you choose to flavour it with (or not)!
The only sugar you add is used to feed the yeast in the SCOBY so it can start to ferment the tea, it’s not used to sweeten it. The fermentation takes about two weeks (at Genie we ferment for three weeks) in a warm environment and then it’s good to go.
Is kombucha alcoholic?
Kombucha can be alcoholic. Due to the fermentation process, trace amounts of alcohol are produced. This is controlled by our brewers here at Genie and is less than 0.3%, but it can vary if you make it at home. You can also buy ‘Hard Kombucha’ which is refermented specifically to increase the alcohol content.
Does kombucha contain caffeine?
Yes! Although kombucha doesn’t contain as much caffeine as your normal cup of black or green tea, it does contain some. The caffeine is naturally reduced during the fermentation process, Genie contains a small amount of caffeine. It’s perfect for an afternoon pick me up, although if you’re 100% caffeine-free then you might notice more of a buzz.
Where does kombucha come from?
Kombucha is said to have originated in China in 220 BC. In 414 AD it was taken to Japan and used to cure the digestive problems of Emperor Inkyo. Then, as trade routes opened up, it made its way to Russia and then onto the rest of Europe during the 20th century.
Kombucha re-emerged for the masses in the 1990s when the now-famous GT Dave was gifted a SCOBY and started brewing it for his family at home. Dave's kombucha eventually found its way onto the shelves of a health store in LA - the starting point of many global trends!
… Sometime later, Alex and Bill started out on their mission to make delicious and healthy soft drinks and began brewing Genies in Alex’s kitchen in London.
Should you try it?
Yes, definitely! All three of our Genie kombuchas have won awards for their great taste, and we work with nutritionist Eli Sarre to make sure our drinks are genuinely healthy, with no added sugar and 100% natural ingredients. We recommend starting with a Genie mixed case to discover your favourite flavour.