Why Is Kombucha So Popular?

August 11, 2021

Kombucha is a naturally fizzy drink that provides an energy boost and purportedly brings a bounty of health benefits to those who make a regular habit of drinking it. It is typically described as having a tart, slightly sweet taste. The practice of making kombucha, which involves fermenting the tea with the help of a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY), started in China and quickly spread to surrounding nations. When the yeast eats the sugar, CO2 is produced, resulting in bubbles. The resulting drink is full of flavor and fizz.

To be considered true kombucha, the base of the kombucha must be a black or green tea. White tea can also be used, but the brews are typically more successful with fully oxidized tea leaves. Successful brews can also use a combination of teas. Fruits and other flavorings can be added during the brewing process, but oils (such as bergamot oil) should be avoided. Although the teas used to produce kombucha are usually high in caffeine content, kombucha drinks do not have an excess amount of caffeine. Due to the fermentation process, caffeine levels in kombucha are about ⅓ of the tea used to brew it. 

The popularity of kombucha has surged in recent years all over the United States. Several years ago, finding kombucha in your typical suburban grocery store would be a difficult task. However, kombucha has been surging in popularity all over the United State, and varieties of the drink now line the shelves of supermarket health drink sections. The 2018 meme “kombucha girl” and the drink’s early reception among fans of craft breweries likely helped jumpstart the widespread success of kombucha. The idea of fermented tea might have earned you some wrinkled noses a few years ago, but these days kombucha’s reputation for deliciousness is undeniable — and it’s a reputation that keeps spreading. The market interest in kombucha has grown by around 25% every year since 2016! 

Why does the popularity of kombucha keep growing, exactly? Recently there has been a shift in consumer interest towards healthy products. There are some big claims out there about the health benefits of drinking kombucha. Research suggests that drinking kombucha may manage symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes, prevent cancer, and reduce risk of heart problems. Kombucha is also a great source of probiotics and antioxidants. Drinking it can improve digestion and improve overall gut health. Even if we look beyond all of these health benefits, there is one thing about kombucha that stands out as inarguably true: kombucha is healthier than soda pop. This particular fact is one of the central reasons kombucha has climbed in popularity so rapidly. It has all the fizz and flavor of soda, but it dumps the harsh chemicals and has half the calories. More and more, people are turning to kombucha as a healthy alternative to soda.

Additionally, consumer interest has been veering more towards supporting local businesses, putting local kombucha breweries in the spotlight. Instead of large corporate entities, most kombucha breweries are small businesses. For these small businesses, making kombucha is mainly a project of passion. Making kombucha is a delicate process, and commercial kombucha must meet the requirements of stringent state and national regulations. For example, the fermentation process means that there’s a tiny bit of alcohol in every batch of kombucha (usually no more than 1%). However, the alcohol levels in commercial kombucha cannot be greater than .05%. In North Carolina, Tribucha is one of the leading kombucha brewers. Boasting a high-quality product and environmentally friendly approach to brewing and canning, it’s no surprise Tribucha is one of the top brands of canned kombucha. 

If you find out that you have a taste for kombucha, the next step is to try and brew your own! Making homemade kombucha is remarkably simple, and it’s a relaxing project to take on over the span of a few weeks. Best of all, you can pick your favorite tea as the base. There is a lot of overlap with the kombucha-brewing community and the craft beer community. For people who are interested in craft brewing, but prefer a non-alcoholic approach, brewing kombucha is the perfect alternative! You can even add ingredients like hops to give it that pine-like, earthy flavor that typically comes from a good, flavorful craft beer. Of course, a SCOBY will be required for the fermenting process. Once you have acquired your SCOBY (typically preserved in some starter tea), all you need is a large glass container (such as a jar), a cheesecloth, and your favorite tea. There are plenty of starter kits that provide all of the essentials for your next kombucha-brewing project. The great staff at Tin Roof Teas can help you identify which teas would be most compatible with your desired kombucha brew. 

Not ready to brew your own but still want to try it? One of our favorite kombuchas is Tribucha. Founded right here in the Triangle, their lineup of flavors is top notch!

Ready to join the kombucha craze? We’re sure you’ll fall in love at first sip.