Alternative Fermentations

Kombucha and White Labs

Kombucha is becoming more popular around the world. What’s it all about? \

Kombucha is a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast or SCOBY that has been in use around the world for thousands of years in various forms as an “Elixir of Life”.

Just as brewing equipment and “magic sticks” that initiate fermentation have been handed down in families through the millennia, so have Kombucha cultures. It is even finding its way into energy drink and some athletes swear by them.

Kombucha can be made at home with a culture of the SCOBY acquired through friends, the Internet and health food stores. Cultures are available in dry form and in the active form that looks like a rubbery pancake. The culture is fermented in a sanitized glass jar containing a mixture of black or green tea and sugar. It is covered with a cloth and secured to keep fruit flies and pollutants out of the tea. This mixture ferments for about 10 days. It can then be added to fruit juice or drunk as is. This fermented tea is said to contain b vitamins, acids, enzymes, probiotics, and antioxidants that help stimulate the immune system. Producers of Kombucha add other spices and herbs for flavor and added health qualities.

The Mayo clinic states that while there is no controlled research on humans that supports the various health claims, it doesn’t mean Kombucha does not benefit the body. White Labs is a valuable resource to Kombucha producers in many ways. We store and propagate custom cultures and blends to assure purity and consistency. We consult on the proper amounts of cultures to use and incorporate into products. We can not only test alcohol levels for compliance, but also for any micro organisms present. The food industry has become more aware of the demand from consumers for quality ingredients for their diets. We at White Labs are very excited to provide high quality yeast and bacterial strains to many facets of the food industry from beverage brewers to bread bakers.

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