Kombucha is a super trendy beverage right now, but did you know it’s been around since 221 BC and started its roots in China (incredible, right?!). And for good reason – it’s tasty AF, so it only makes sense that it would stand the test of time.
So this actually got me thinking, since this drink has been around for so long, how the heck is it made? How does it get a unique flavor? What kind of equipment is required to make your own kombucha? Well, mystery solved – I visited a kombucha brewery in Neptune, NJ to find out just that and more. Read on!
I met with Shawn Kelly, owner of Fine Health Kombucha, and chatted with him about how kombucha is actually made from start to finish. At the outset, kombucha starts as tea, sugar, and a culture consisting of healthy bacteria and yeast. The culture and tea ferment in a cloth-covered vessel for about 10 to 14 days, which drops the pH, giving kombucha its tartness.
This is also the time your beneficial bacteria and probiotics are created. The culture then comes out, and extra flavor goes in (herbs, fruit, spices). These flavors stay in a sealed vessel for two to four days. Once these flavors have brewed, you begin the bottling process.
As far as equipment goes, Fine Health brewery uses a mixture of wine vessels and beer equipment including pumps, hoses, carbon dioxide, filtered water lines, bottling equipment, boilers, and of course refrigeration to keep it fresh.
Fine Health also uses different brew methods to make their kombucha one of a kind. The different factors that vary the taste include time, temperature, and ingredients. Their kombucha is infused with various herbs, fruit, and spices – all organic ingredients – to get find the best flavors. Some of the customer favorites include Black Snap (a combo of Puerh and Assam tea) and rosemary mint.
So what does it take to keep this kombucha brewery going? Five full time team members, including a fermentologist, creative director, assistant brewers, retail employees and sales representatives. From brewing, infusing, bottling and testing new products, it takes a village to keep the brewery successful. (Hey Fine Health, call me if you need another taste tester, wink wink!)
You can visit the Fine Health Brewery in Neptune, NJ or catch them all over the tri-state area via the mobile kombucha cart!