Mindful Drinking: 7 questions with Fix8 Kombucha
We're more than half way through October already, and continuing with our #MindfulDrinking month series, where rather than encouraging a whole month of sobriety, we are championing mindful choices year round!
As little as 5 years ago, the word kombucha would still be alien to most drinkers in the UK. Yet as the low and no drinks category grows at a startling rate, kombucha has become one of the favourite alternatives to alcohol or classic fizzy drinks.
But what the heck is kombucha?! We speak to our friend and founder of Fix8 Kombucha, Freya Twigden to find out more. They've also been kind enough to give us a 10% discount code for Brewgooder fans! So read on to grab your code and explore the world of kombucha!
Hi Freya! Tell us, what the heck is kombucha?!
"Kombucha simply put is a fermented tea drink. It originated from Asia thousands of years ago, and over time travelled along the Silk Road into Europe and across to America, where it is now verging on a billion-dollar industry. ‘Booch (as it’s also known as!) contains four simple ingredients: tea, water, sugar, SCOBY.
To make it, we simply brew a huge pot of tea, add sugar (food for the yeast) and a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). The brewing vessels are then covered with a cloth and left to ferment for 10-14 days. During this time, the sugar is consumed by the yeast and the tea gets increasingly sour and fizzy – fermentation working it’s magic! When it’s ready, we are left with this incredible elixir full of probiotic bacteria, B vitamins and organic acids. A great pick me up, natural cocktail mixer or alternative to booze."
What inspired you to launch a kombucha brand?
"I discovered kombucha whilst living in Shanghai 6 years ago and become obsessed with it. My Chinese doctor brought it to class one day and taught us all about the health benefits (good for your stomach and liver ‘qi’ – also known as energy). I started to consumer her kombucha each week and felt noticeably more energy on the days I drank it. I think after living on dumplings and noodles for a few months.. the beneficial bacteria in kombucha was a welcome to my digestion system, which we know is also linked to energy and immunity.
Returning to the UK, I simply couldn’t find kombucha anywhere. I decided to bring a kombucha to market that went beyond a simple health product, but excited drinkers through flavour, brand and was a truly authentic product. We purposefully branded Fix8 to not look like a health-product or a beer, but a lifestyle drink fit for all occasions whether you are drinking or not."
Kombucha has a pretty unique taste, how would you describe it to someone who has never tried it before?
"I always joke that ‘you always remember your first… kombucha’. It really tastes like nothing you’ve experienced before! A beautiful uniqueness which is actually very hard to describe (and best experienced). Lots of things can influence how a kombucha tastes, notably the type of tea used and the fermentation length. Generally, a kombucha should have the perfect balance of sweet and sour. It’s slightly astringent, refreshingly acidic and tart. There will be a variety of fruit notes from the type of tea used (green, black, oolong etc), and apple cider notes from the acetic acid present. But mostly, it is ridiculously refreshing."
Are there any similarities between beer and “booch”?
"Absolutely! Initially of course, they are both fermented beverages that have existed for many years. When water was not safe to drink in the West, we chose to ferment what was local: wheat, barley, malt. Thus, we got beer! Whereas across the pond in the East, there was an abundance of the camellia sinesis (tea) plant, so no wonder kombucha became the ferment of choice back then. Both have a complexity and depth of character that is only achieved in a true fermented product. There is also the crafted element to both kombucha and beer making, and they share a lot of similarities in the brewing technique.
When it comes to taste, there is a hugely diverse world of beer! I spoke to our head brewer Chris Heaney (former head of beer at Partizan) about this and he mentioned that kombucha, as a mixed culture ferment, has much more in common with the spontaneously fermented and wild ales or kettle sour beers, using lactobacillus, rather than the usual clean fermented beer using a single strain of saccharomyces yeast. So yes, overall.. lots of things in common between beer and kombucha! We even made a kombucha beer for fun a couple of years ago, it was amazing."
It looks like you’ve gained a lot of new listings lately, is the hour of kombucha upon us?
"There are definitely some structural changes in consumer drinking habits which makes it a good time for kombucha: the number of non-drinkers are rising, there is a growing awareness of gut health, alternatives to alcohol are limited and better-for-you is the fastest growing drinks category. We’re no longer wanting artificially carbonated soft drinks laden with sugar and unidentifiable ingredients. Kombucha is completely natural, the perfect combination of flavour and function. An interesting and complex texting beverage, that genuinely makes you feel good. Whether you are seeking an alternative to alcohol, a refreshing pick me up, an energy kick or even a better-for-you-mixer – it’s a drink for all occasions!"
Can you make kombucha at home?
"Absolutely! And what’s even better is that it’s super easy to make yourself. Over lockdown we introduced kombucha homebrewing kits onto our website as a response to everyone spending more time at home and looking for hobbies! We couldn’t believe the reaction to them, and how many of our tribe are now enjoying making their own kombucha. You only needs 4 simply ingredients (tea, sugar, water, SCOBY), a jar, cloth and time! It’s one of the most rewarding things making your own kombucha and seeing the fermentation journey live in action. We have some tutorials on our Instagram page if anyone is looking for help on brewing!"
Finally, what’s next for Fix8?
"Lots! We are in the process of launching our new canned product and working on new flavour developments. Just this month we have also launched a bespoke kombucha for the Connaught Bar, working with the director of mixology Ago Perrone, on a kombucha flavour inspired by his famous martini trolley. We have developed a uniquely fragrant ginseng and bergamot kombucha for their cocktail menu, that will also be available as a soft serve. Watch this space!"
Enter BREWBOOCH10 at Fix8.com for 10% off entire site including homebrew kits!
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