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When You Are Up Against 'Big Kombucha' - What Does 'Authentic Kombucha' Mean To You?

Kombucha Bros is a not a new brand in the New Zealand kombucha landscape. However, the founder and director, Brandon Turnage, wants to look at how people think about and drink kombucha. Is there a better alternative to the ethos of ‘big’ kombucha brands?

'Kombucha-style' beverages are the norm - there is no arguing that. But is there a better way? When small producers describe their kombucha, you probably hear the words authentic, traditional, or real. It's harder to define what 'real' means these days.

When I think 'real' or 'authentic,' I believe homemade. I think of kombucha made with pantry ingredients and ingredients from your fruit trees at home. I think of kombucha brewed with loose, uncooked green tea leaves and simple organic cane sugar, fermented slowly, and flavoured with fresh-squeezed lemons or other citrus fruit from your backyard tree.

However, the kombucha we buy from the store has drifted far from the traditional version made at home. We tend to see sodas made with 'natural' flavours and sweeteners- a far cry from what has traditionally been what I think of as 'authentic' kombucha. Mainly because most ingredients used by prominent manufacturers aren't found in a grocery store or anywhere generally accessible to the public. What are natural flavours, and where do they come from? I have gone down this rabbit hole and am still trying to figure out where the 'natural' in natural flavour comes from.

Regarding sweeteners, are these all-natural? How do you pronounce erythritol, stevia (steviol glycosides) and xylitol? Food Standards Authority Australia New Zealand Published an article in March 2023 named Intense Sweeteners Review. The review said artificial sweeteners were primarily safe in small quantities, but the consumption rates per capita were staggeringly high. The food groups' water-based flavoured drinks' and 'Coffee (or substitute), tea, herbal infusion & similar' [kombucha] were the most significant contributors to total steviol glycoside exposures for the New Zealand and Australian population aged two years and above; both categories contributed above 19% exposure as a percentage of dietary exposure. For the New Zealand population aged 15 years and above, the food group 'Coffee or substitute, tea, herbal infusion & similar' was the most significant contributor to steviol glycoside exposures at a staggering 31% as a percentage dietary exposure. A review of ingredient databases found that steviol glycosides were the most frequently used sweetener in intense sweetened foods in Australia and New Zealand.

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Has kombucha become an offering focused on the balance sheet's bottom line rather than the bottom line that Kombucha brands should focus on: their consumer's health? Do these ingredients bring anything to the table, such as vitamins, minerals, or antioxidants? Could one argue that using small amounts of pure organic cane sugar to ferment kombucha, which is ultimately converted to acetic acids and beneficial probiotics, coupled with intrinsic sugars such as fructose from natural fruit, is a better alternative? So, why use manufactured flavours and intense sweeteners in kombucha if you don't have to?

Kombucha Bros strives to produce a more traditional style of whole food kombucha by following the following principles:

ONLY use whole foods/fruit to flavour and sweeten our kombucha, never from concentrate. Contributing vitamins and minerals relative to these whole fruits

Use pure, undiluted kombucha broth that is never watered down. 100% of the package contents have undergone fermentation, contributing to a raw organic product with more than 4 billion live microbes and probiotics per 100ml. Slow, natural fermentation results in only trace amounts of residual sugar.

Use Trade Aid-certified pure organic cane sugar to ferment, which, coupled with the tea and natural yeast, produces a combination of highly effective bioactive metabolites.

Use uncooked, loose-leaf organic sencha green tea from small, sustainable farms. We focus on retaining the high antioxidant potential (TEAC) polyphenols naturally prevalent in unprocessed green tea.

Kombucha Bros (NZ) is proud to be a family-owned small New Zealand company. Our products embody the very essence of tradition and authenticity, and we take great pride in crafting them to perfection. With our unwavering commitment to consumer satisfaction, you can trust that every sip of our beverage will be a truly remarkable experience. Looking for a beverage that's crafted just for you? Our team has put you at the forefront of our minds and created a drink that will have you feeling 100% satisfied. Give it a try and taste the difference!"

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