Australia’s new favourite drink
KOMBUCHA this, Kombucha that - what is the obsession with this drink?
If you've had the pleasure of listening to your friends rave on about how healthy Kombucha is or equally noticed your colleagues chugging it down at their desks, you're not alone.
Simply put, it is a fermented tea made up of wild bacteria, yeast, water and organic sugar.
While it may not sound that appealing, it must taste pretty good with a Neilson Insights report revealing its domination in drinks category sales across the country - growing seven times in the last two years.
Sydney dietitian Stafanie Valakas said Kombucha (or the trendier term "booch") gives you plenty of positive benefits as it's low in sugar, contains good bacteria, organic acids and ultimately, has you feeling great.
"It is made by adding a mixture of bacteria and yeast (known as SCOBY or Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) to green or black tea," Ms Valakas said.
"Sugar is then added which feeds the culture, and turns the tea into a tart and bubbly delight."
The amount of sugar used can vary between brands, but in theory, the sugar should be used up during the process of fermentation leaving little behind when you drink it.
Ms Valakas said the key ingredient in the popular drink is the SCOBY which transforms it from tea into a gut-loving beverage.
"Keep in mind, kombucha isn't 'essential' for health, it's a nice little extra if you are looking for an alternative to a soft drink (just check the sugar content) with the bonus of helping those little bugs in your gut."
Sugar content in foods is becoming of increase interest to Aussies, both from a health and wellness perspective and as result, consumers are switching to perceived healthier drink alternatives such as Kombucha, at an accelerated rate.
It's even knocked carbonated soft drink sales off the leaderboard and produced record-sales for supermarket giants like Coles and Woolworths.
"Over the past 12 months, we have seen tremendous growth in the health drinks category and Kombucha has been one of the most popular products for our customers," a Coles spokesman told news.com.au
"Customers have taken to these products, as they look to lower their sugar intake while still enjoying a 'fizzy drink'."
Woolworths has also seen a massive spike in the last year with its category growing 457 per cent.
The biggest booch drinkers are in NSW closely followed by Queensland with Woolies revealing its category sales growing by almost seven times on the previous year.
Popular flavours include Ginger & Lemon, Raspberry Lemonade and specifically at Woolies the Macro Organic range such as Glowing Ginger, Adventurous Apple and Rebel Raspberry flavours.
But why are Aussies only becoming more familiar with it now?
"More and more brands are entering the kombucha and gut health space, which is great to see and Aussies are definitely jumping on board," Ms Valakas said.
"Gut health is definitely top of mind for many Aussies with more and more research showing the role of our gut bacteria and microbes in a variety of health conditions, including mental health.
"Kombucha is an ancient beverage, however a bit like quinoa, or even kimchi, it can take a while before the public accepts these types of foods and drinks."
While there is no "right" or "wrong" amount when it comes to consuming the drink, home-brewers Amplified Beverages advise to drink as much as it takes to make you feel good.
"Drinking too much however means you might need to take a few more trips to the bathroom than normal."
They recommend it's best to start with no more than one bottle a day (330ml) and see what works best for you.
If you attempt to make it at home ensure your sterilisation practices are on point to prevent the growth of anything nasty.