Although some of us might be hearing this word for the first time, this fermented, non-alcoholic, tea-based, beverage existed since the 200 BC and its market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 24.43% within the years of 2019-2028.
Kombucha is a unique beverage made from fermentation of sweetened black or green tea with a fermentation starter SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) at room temperature for 1-3 weeks. A cascade of biochemical reactions converts the sucrose in the mixture to acetic acid and carbon dioxide. The yeast can also produce ethanol (0.5%) which can be eliminated by regulating the processing conditions. The mixture is then refrigerated to slowdown carbonation and fermentation as desired.
The result is an effervescent, tart and slightly sweet drink that has antimicrobial, anticancer, antioxidant, pain relieving and hepatoprotective effects. Its growing popularity is such that even Starbucks is getting into the Kombucha market by launching six different flavors of Kombucha!
Controversies surrounding Kombucha restricts its use as a dietary and non-therapeutic aid. Thus, we can conclude that in an increasingly health-conscious world, Kombucha manages to find a sweet spot between a health drink and a fun beverage!
By – Mitali Bhuimali