Great news from out West! As of this week, Real Kombucha has a number of jaw-dropping boltholes in Cornwall. We’re really excited to be able to announce partnerships with the amazing Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Port Isaac, and the incredibly picturesque Hotel Tresanton in St Mawes.
“Fermented tea?!” cried the journalist on a recent radio programme. “Are you mad?!” I imagined his nose wrinkling in disgust – not a difficult thing to picture, as I’ve seen this reaction to kombucha on more occasions than I can count. It always strikes me as an odd state of affairs. Maybe it’s because I’m used to it, but ‘fermented tea’ sounds pretty good to me. It’s about as off-putting as ‘fermented grapes’ (wine) or ‘fermented barley’ (beer). It’s just that we’re more used to hearing the ‘street name’ than the lab reality.
If you tuned into Masterchef: The Professionals late last year, you may have been surprised to find that – on occasion – it appeared to have turned into Fermentation 101. Matt Campbell, a young chef with a prestigious background at the twice Michelin-starred restaurant, L’Enclume, threw the culinary world something of a curveball when he started prepping his dishes with kombucha.
You must have heard of kombucha by now. It’s everywhere, and everyone seems to be drinking it. OK, maybe not everyone, but it’s certainly gained in popularity recently among the hip bars and high-end restaurants. Why? Well, mainly because it’s a naturally sweet-and-sour drink, brewed in the same way that you might brew a fine wine or a great real ale. It tastes so good you’ll wish you were the designated driver! Which begs the commonly-asked question: does kombucha contain alcohol?
Our regular readers will know that we happily support all things in moderation, and that going alcohol-free for occasional periods (such as Dry January) can only be a good thing. Real Kombucha began when founder, David Begg, realised that cutting down on his own drinking highlighted a specific problem – a lack of choice for alcohol-free occasions – and began to realise that the kombucha he was brewing at home might be the answer. The journey we’ve been on since then has been inextricably linked to the Alcohol-Free Movement, and as a consequence we’ve all felt the benefits of going […]
When we set out to create Real Kombucha, we were driven by a passion to create a fantastic tasting, complex soft drink that worked just as well served with food as it did to quench your thirst down the pub on a Friday night. So, while we were pretty amazed when our humble little brew started getting picked up by some of the most respected restaurateurs and sommeliers in the industry, I guess we needn’t have been so surprised. We absolutely love what we do, but it is even more special when other people do, too.
It’s quite a British thing to not blow one’s own trumpet, isn’t it? Well, stereotypes be damned… we’re going the whole Miles Davis on this one. It’s not every day you win 5 stars in The Times Alcohol Free Taste Test, is it?
While dedicated London kombucha bars are still far and few between, the number of regular pubs and bars selling kombucha in the capital is growing rapidly. Here at Real Kombucha, we’re seeing more and more people drinking our booch as an alcohol alternative (we’ve written all about that over here), and kombucha cocktails (with or without alcohol) are increasingly common on the city’s menu’s. We’re not surprised, therefore, to find that the city’s more forward-thinking watering holes are giving it a whirl.
Once upon a time, every home had pots and pots of different foods in various stages of fermentation. There is no part of the world that doesn’t have a tradition of fermentation, whether you’re talking about alcoholic beverages, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, cheese, bread, soy sauce, salami or our own kombucha. But over the last 50 years or so, many cultures have lost a big part of the skills and traditions surrounding food fermentation.
In the 10 years I’ve been alcohol free I’ve been to my fair share of weddings. While it’s always wonderful to be a part of the special couple’s day, I can’t say that toasting the bride and groom is ever much fun as a teetotaller. In fact, as many non-drinkers will probably agree, it’s one of those particularly awkward moments when you feel a bit like you’re letting the side down.
We often hear in the media that a little bit of alcohol in our diet is good for heart health. That’s what the mediterranean diet is all about, right? But recent data suggests this is wrong, and that in actual fact any alcohol in our diet is bad for heart health. So what on earth is going on with alcohol research? More to the point, what – and how much – should we be drinking?
Global obesity is back in the news today, so it seems to us like a good time to take another look at the state of sugary drinks on the UK market.
As the resident teetotaller at Real Kombucha, I guess it should fall to me to offer tips and advice on how to abstain. However, I never really feel it’s my place to do that, so I’m not going to. Each person has their own reason for not drinking alcohol, and each of those reasons will come with their own set of trials and tribulations. Beyond offering a very genuine “good luck and keep at it”, everything else will sound like a platitude.
We have all heard, most probably during garbled conversations with our mates, that tea is great for our health. But why do some teas get more attention than others (I’m looking at you, green tea)? The green stuff always seems to get great press – everyone seems to have heard about its wellness capabilities.
As every kombucha brewer knows, behind every great brew there’s a potent old mother. But wait… isn’t it rather insulting to talk about your old mum in that way? Don’t we show respect to our elders? Well indeed we do. So much so that we name them. We are talking about our mother cultures, of course – the very essence of a great kombucha.
Newbies to kombucha generally arrive with a myriad of questions. First up, naturally, is “what is kombucha?“, followed swiftly by “what does kombucha taste like?“, and then usually, “what the hell is a scoby?” As the links I’ve just provided suggest, we’ve answered these questions several times in the past, but one common question remains unanswered (on this blog, at least). Where does kombucha come from?
Like most of us today, my life is pretty frenetic. To add to a rapidly growing business, my wife and I have two wonderful but extremely active children, Alistair, 12, and Emilie, 9, and a dog called Rafa, that absorb a lot of our time. We also have a few acres of garden, and we try to grow as much as we can for the pot. We also have a clutch of chickens and a forest full of food to forage for the table. My wife and I do try to get a moment to ourselves from time to time, […]
It’s a warm, mid-August evening in Haringey, North London, and there’s a hint of something like Beatlemania in the air. Alex Honnold – the first man ever to climb Yosemite’s El Capitan without ropes or safety gear – is in town to spend a day with London’s climbing community, and the queues are really starting to build up outside the Castle Climbing Centre.
Note: Since we wrote this article in August 2017, we’ve since added a recipe page for kombucha cocktails. Click on the link to take a look at a wide selection. Whether you call it a mocktail, a non-alcoholic cocktail or an alcohol-free cocktail, there seems to be some debate as to whether a decent boozeless drink can be mixed using kombucha. On a recent trip to The Pig Hotel (near Bath), any misgivings we might have had were laid to rest. Not only is it possible, but Yann – The Pig’s mixologist – has come up with some of the […]
Brexit and Donald Trump aside, the physical and mental health of our population is among the most common topics focused on by the media today. Increasingly, the headlines are dominated by the debate on sugar. The problem that we find with many of these headlines, however, is that – for whatever reason – they can be frustratingly misleading.
On August 13th, we’ll be pitching up at the Mindful Drinking Festival in Bermondsey Square. The first event of its kind, this will be a celebration of #DryNotDull drinking (click the hashtag for more details) – a chance to try out some of the best non-alcoholic beers, cocktails and sophisticated soft drinks on the market today. As brewers of an adult-oriented, non-alcoholic drink, we’re quite excited. We’ll be lining up a series of tasting tables and offering around our wares. It’s going to be a grand old day out.
If you have heard of kombucha then it’s possible you’ve heard tell of the mythical scoby creature. Whether you’ve met one or not, it’s perfectly normal to find yourself asking this simple but important question: what the f*#k is a scoby and what does it think it’s doing on top of my brew?
In the days of yore, back when kombucha was mainly associated with New Age communities, celebrity kombucha drinkers who weren’t Madonna or Gwyneth Paltrow were far and few between. Scroll forward several years and things have become a tad more ‘normal’. Everyone’s drinking kombucha these days – you certainly don’t have to be an A-list celebrity with flowers in your hair to look right with a bottle of booch.
How do you serve your booch? I have been seen, on the odd occasion, supping a Smoke House straight out of the bottle, and it is tough to fight the urge to draw off a warm glass of Royal Flush straight out of the fermenter, sweet and fruity with a touch of lanolin. It’s just like milk straight from the cow. But is there a way that you ought to serve your Real Kombucha? What’s the best glass? Should you take it neat? Each to their own I say, but here’s the way I like it.
Without wanting to turn my weekly column into an open therapy session, it does seem I’m rather prone to admitting things. Last week I had to hold my hands up and say that I was, in fact, a non-alcoholic. This week I’ve got to come clean and admit that I’m not a hippy after all.
We don’t like to dwell too much on the science of what we brew; we think you are more interested in sitting back and quaffing a wonderfully rich and refreshing glass of kombucha and leaving the boffin bit to us. But for those that want to understand a bit of what we do, here goes.
As you probably know by now, kombucha is a yeast and bacterial fermentation of sweet tea that produces a drink that sits somewhere along the spectrum of cider, beer and wine. That said, it has a very low alcohol content, has pretty low sugar and only a few calories, and there are those that would have us also believe that it is a cure for almost every ailment in the book. We are not completely convinced, but it certainly makes you feel tip top.
Here’s an admission I never expected to have to make: I’m not an alcoholic. There, I’ve said it. I’ve come clean. I’m 10 years off the booze and, just to nip this in the bud should I end up going out drinking with one of you in the near future, not drinking doesn’t automatically mean I’ve been dealing with my demons.
What’s the best kombucha tea out there? I frequently get asked this question by those starting out. As there are a plethora of teas on the market, along with many drinks masquerading as tea, it’s pretty tough to find your way through it all. So here’s a little of what I’ve learnt during my years brewing booch.