Adrian Hodgson Real Kombucha fermented drinks




food through the winter was a major

issue. Meat might be salted and fruits

cooked into conserves, but fermentation

was by far the most reliable and long-term

method of preservation.

Fermentation develops tart, sour, full

flavours from foods that may be dull or

boring themselves, particularly at a time

of year when the range of flavour options

is very limited. Cracking open a crock of

deeply fermented sauerkraut at Christmas

when the only other fresh produce were

carrots and turnips must have seemed

like absolute heaven.

But with the invention of widescale

refrigeration, the expansion of industrial

food processing and the trend to fly fresh

produce all over the world, fermentation

fell out of favour. The 50s and 60s were

a great moment of domestic change.

Appliances of all sorts freed us from being

chained to the kitchen sink; supermarkets

became much more widespread, so

vegetable gardening declined. Processed

foods in cans and packets were the

height of fashion. If a crock of fermented

cabbage were seen on one of your

shelves, it meant you hadn't moved with

the times.

But as we are beginning to realise, our

love affair with sweet, sugary, processed

foods, as well as the cheap calories of

carbohydrates and fast meals on the go,

have had a terrible effect on our health.

Gut health

The recent reemergence of fermentation

has come ostensibly from a belief that

fermented foods are healthy. Over the past

150 years, since Pasteur and Koch, bacteria

and other microbes have been seen as

the enemy. Alexander Flemming and his

colleagues in the 1930s gave us penicillin

and other antibiotics that act indiscriminately

to kill bacteria both good and bad. From

continued over

If you ever wonder "what to drink

when you're not drinking", then

Buckinghamshire-based company Real

Kombucha may have a solution. The guys

there felt that there was a lack of choice

for anyone avoiding booze with what was

available often being packed with so much

sugar that they felt that taking time off from

alcohol came with its own health risks.

As a company making adult-oriented

soft drinks, they have brought out a

kombucha brand in the UK. The sugar

content level is about 2g per 100ml - one

of the lowest measures in this country

and only around 50 calories per bottle.

Instead of calories and sugars, the drinks

are packed full of probiotics.

One of the company's co-founders,

Adrian Hodgson, is a food scientist

and campaigner for healthy eating and

drinking. He explains, "Fermentation

is a natural process that uses yeast to

convert sugar into alcohol, but by using

a number of alcohol converting bacteria

(acetobacter and gluconobacter) the

alcohol can be converted into acetic acid.

Therefore you are able to create a drink

that is low in sugar (lower than the soft

drink levy of 4.5g /100ml), despite using

sugar at the beginning of the process. You

might drink Real Kombucha because you

love the taste, but you'll also be reducing


your daily sugar intake, which can only be

a good thing."

Maybe unexpectedly, the range of

drinks is based on tea, which is added to

an ancient and carefully evolved culture

that slowly converts all the proteins and

sugars. Says Hodgson, "We carefully

manage our own kombucha culture, a

bacterial and yeast formation that has

been handed down over generations

and likely evolved over centuries. When

pitched into the brew, the yeast breaks

down the sugars in the tea to glucose

and then consumes the glucose to make

ethanol (or alcohol as we more commonly

know it). The yeast also produces a whole

range of different organic compounds that

give the batch its individual and unique

flavour. These flavours are completely

different depending upon the temperature

of the brew (even 1°C can make a big

difference), which tea is used and other

environmental conditions. At the same

time the healthy bacteria get to work.

Kombucha culture contains bacteria

similar to those that make vinegar, but

while vinegar only makes acetic acid,

kombucha produces only a small amount

of acetic acid alongside plenty of much

softer, less tart acids."

Ask for it in your local pub, or order



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