What is kombucha?
For the sake of this FAQ and to keep it short and simple, “kombucha” is the widely-accepted nomenclature in the U.S. for a tea that’s fermented using sugar and a kombucha culture (often referred to as a Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast, a.k.a. SCOBY). It is known by many other names in the rest of the world, including kocha kinoko in Japan and chayniy gryb in Russia. For more information, click here.
So, what’s so special about this kombucha thing?
Kombucha is truly a one-of-a-kind beverage. It is fermented simultaneously like beer, yogurt, and vinegar, yet it’s neither of those. It can be fermented using many different techniques, methods and ingredients.
There are many studies that show its digestive-aiding qualities and kombucha’s anti-bacterial, anti-microbial properties along with many other health benefits. You can read here about why kombucha consumption may be beneficial for you.
What ingredients are in kombucha?
Typically, kombucha fermentation involves (but is not limited to) tea (Camellia sinensis), sugar, water and the kombucha culture (S.C.O.B.Y.). For example, back in 2011, we fermented our first batches of Kombuffee (our coffee kombucha), which utilized coffee in the recipe, instead of tea.
I’m staying away from sugar and processed sugar. I’ve heard kombucha is primarily made with sugar, is that true?
This is a very important question that we’re getting quite a bit. The answer we are giving here is very IMPORTANT, so please read carefully.
The beginning stage of kombucha involves a lot of sugar. The initial solution that is prepared for when the ferment is first started is practically undrinkable. However, it is meant to give fuel for the bacteria and yeasts to perform a proper fermentation. Too little or too much initial sugar will cause an incomplete, improper, or stalled ferment.
Also, although made with sucrose (table sugar), the final product contains sugar that is mostly in the form of fructose and glucose (which are simple sugars, mostly found in fruit). These sugars are NOT processed, they are as natural as “natural” gets (created by Nature and not added). Our kombucha beverages contain 7-8 grams of sugar per serving, which is about 25-30 calories, which is less than the calories in half an apple.
Are your ingredients organic?
Yes, all of our ingredients are Certified Organic, except in the case of our “locally-sourced” ingredients (e.g. lemons), which are produced without the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides and are sourced directly from farmers and producers simply too small to be Certified Organic.
I’ve heard that only hipsters drink kombucha. Is that true?
Kombucha is a ferment that precedes the origin of the vague and elusive term “hipster” by several thousand years. Therefore, this statement cannot be true. Kombucha is consumed by hipsters and non-hipsters alike and will be, undoubtedly so, for many more years to come.
Is your kombucha raw?
Is it unpasteurized?
Is it vegan?
Is it Paleo?
Is it Non-GMO?
Is it gluten-free?
Is it gonna make me feel amazing?
While we can’t make such predictions and considering that everyone’s body is different, based on our experience with kombucha and our customer testimonies, we are confident that you’ll definitely have a positive experience and notice a difference when consuming kombucha regularly.
How is Fine Feathers any different than other kombucha brands? Like the ones at the grocery store?
Well, for one, our kombucha is not mass-produced. Our approach is artisanal and we focus on maintaining quality. Our products are made with love and with high-quality ingredients, all of which shows in the final product and is often evident in customers’ reactions when they first try our kombucha. This is not to say that there aren’t other great kombucha products out there.
Mostly, we follow our own vision for the company and its products. We stay true to ourselves, keep innovating, we are sustainable, we love what we do, and we love seeing our customers happier and healthier.
I read somewhere that you are a green business. How so?
We have sustainable practices, such as composting all of our generated organic waste, we give incentives for returning and reusing our bottles (for every seven bottles you return, you get one for free), we have our Growler Exchange Program. These are just a few examples of being a sustainably-minded business that we feel make a tremendous difference even if it’s on a small scale.
We see our sustainability efforts as an inseparable part of our identity as a business. We are proud to be a Recognized Green Business through The City of Long Beach’s Sustainability Department.
Is there alcohol in kombucha?
Technically, yes. The microorganisms in kombucha cannot completely break down the alcohol produced during the fermentation, so there is always a residual amount [usually around 0.4-0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV)]. This is highly dependent on the factors of fermentation, most notably the length of the ferment and the sugar content in the recipe.
Also, please remember that alcohol is a naturally-occurring macronutrient and is often present in very small amounts in foods (i.e. fresh-squeezed orange juice, for example, has about 0.1% ABV).
Am I going to get drunk if I have a few bottles, then?
It is IMPOSSIBLE to get drunk on kombucha. Because it promotes elimination, it would be extremely difficult to build up that much alcohol in your system. If you drink too much kombucha, you are likely to end up with an upset stomach or bloating, as you would be introducing far too many probiotic organisms in your digestive tract.
What are those things floating in the kombucha?
Those are strands of the living cultures in kombucha. They always appear in raw, living kombucha and are present in every bottle.
Yeah, but I don’t like those slimy things. Can’t you remove them from the bottle?
The “processing” of our kombucha is minimal and involves straining larger particles out to improve texture. After we seal our bottles, we cannot further alter the qualities and properties of our the final product. We view kombucha as a mesmerizing representation of life and we wholeheartedly embrace its naturally-occurring clusters of kombucha cultures. And, they are good for you.
I hear you guys deliver on bike?
In the early days of our company (2012/2013), prior to having our very own production facility/retail space, we began delivering by bike as a way of getting the kombucha to the customers. It was a sustainable, hassle-free approach to purchasing kombucha that is local, made with organic ingredients, and fresh.
Nowadays, due to the fact that we have a retail area at the front end of our production facility (which facilitates easy and convenient pick-up), and having the time constraints of running a business and maintaining a smooth production schedule, we are reserving bike deliveries for our Weekly Deliveries only.
I live outside of California. How much is it to ship to me?
As glass is very heavy and transportation would be expensive for the customer, not to mention adding pollution to the environment, our company has chosen not to ship our products. We do not sell our products outside of the State of California and we remain committed to our sustainability, staying local, and doing business ethically.
We encourage those visiting Long Beach to make the trek to our facility and experience the quality of our products. Come witness our passion for the process for yourselves.
More questions and answers to come….