Kyle Pool and Andy Sist, New Motion Beverages, Los Angeles, CA, USA 

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

We first discovered kombucha in 2014.

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

We conceived New Motion to help solve one of life’s great paradoxes, which puts “doing what is good for you” against “doing what you want.” But we believe in having it all – so our Kombucha is brewed with recipes inspired by craft cocktails and a process informed by craft beer.

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

Sage Bistro Orange Creamsickle.

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

Civil Engineer and Business Manager.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

Work Hard, Play Harder, Love Always.

Pete Hinshaw, DrinKraft, Columbia, MO, USA

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

It’s all her fault. The wife and I were on the road and she had a sour stomach. She said she’d heard kombucha might be the ticket. We stopped and got her one and I had a couple of sips. A couple of years later she took a class on back yard foraging. One night the teacher handed out SCOBYs. We let it to ferment for a week. She didn’t like the kombucha and I did. I’ve been fermenting kombucha ever since.

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

I ask myself the same question from time to time. I was recently retired. I thought Columbia should have a kombucha brewery. Bob’s your uncle.

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

St.Louis is a couple of hours east from here. Chef William Pauley specializes in fermentation and kombucha. He usually has a chaga kombucha on the menu.

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

I did software development and systems work on Unix systems. I spent several years with Sprint and then I worked on the State of Tennessee’s Medicaid system. C programming, shell scripting, oracle database. A lot of the work was like solving puzzles and that was fun.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

Is this an open book quiz? It’s hard to live up to anything all the time. The most inspiring professor I had, Mack Jones, taught Shakespeare. Mack always announced in the first class that everyone enrolled would get an A. It is easy to find a quote from Shakespeare that fits almost anything life can throw at a person. Here you go: “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

B Corp Certification Process Webinar

Presented By Danny Metcalf – Director of Business Operations, Brew Dr. Kombucha

Join KBI & Danny Metcalf on Sept 18th @ 1pm PST for a webinar to discuss the process of B Corp certification. Brew Dr Kombucha embarked on the B Corp journey over three years ago to cement the core environmental/culture beliefs of Founder & CEO Matt Thomas.

Danny spearheaded the assessment process and implementation of policies to align with B Corp, leading to a successful certification in the fall of 2018. Since certification, Brew Doctor Kombucha has been actively working to ingrain B Corp into their day-to-day culture, operations, and belief edifice.

Does your brand aspire to cultivating change from within the corporate structure? Do these values align with your own? Then, we invite you to listen in and ask questions. FREE for KBI Members; $40 for non-members.

SIGN UP TODAY TO ATTEND THE WEBINAR
SEPTEMBER 18th 1pm PST

What is a Certified B Corporation?

“Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

Society’s most challenging problems cannot be solved by government and nonprofits alone. The B Corp community works toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of more high quality jobs with dignity and purpose. By harnessing the power of business, B Corps use profits and growth as a means to a greater end: positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment.

B Corps form a community of leaders and drive a global movement of people using business as a force for good. The values and aspirations of the B Corp community are embedded in the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence.”

About B Corps. Retrieved from https://bcorporation.net/about-b-corps

Details

DATE: Sept 18th, 2019

TIME: 1-2pm PST; 30 min presentation & 15 min Q&A

COST: Free for KBI members, $40 for non-members

REGISTRATION LINK

Have questions? Please send in advance to admin@kombuchabrewers.org 

Not a KBI Member, JOIN TODAY

Delwyn Ward and Brad Gwynne, Daily Organics, Auckland, New Zealand

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

In 2008 while travelling in America with my children

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

Because I love making things by hand

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

Green Tea, Hibiscus, Lemongrass by Good Brew Kombucha in Melbourne, Australia

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

Art Historian

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

Never say never

Mayte Priesca, Serendipity, Puebla, Mexico

 

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

Back in 2017, I was looking for a different approach to improve my health. So a friend shared with me a piece of scoby and showed me how to make my own Kombucha. It started at my house, for me and my family. My boys (6 and 8 years old) loved it, so it became a natural part of our day, to drink Kombucha.

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

People kept asking me what I was doing, because I was looking better, more energetic and overall people were noticing a big change in me. So I started sharing my Kombucha and telling all my friends all the benefits, and I wanted everyone to try it. I wanted to share this; it if was helping me so much, I wanted to share it with the world.

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

Mango by GT’S

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

I am a textile designer. It helped a lot at the beginning, since I designed all the labels, mark, names, etc… Now I am mainly focused on my Kombucha company, and I also have other organic products as well.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

Healthy Mind – Healthy Body. Healthy body – Healthy Mind

 

Kristin and Casey Bergh, Compassion Kombucha, Bend, OR, USA

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

When Kristin was battling leaky gut and autoimmune disease in 2012. Discovered the power of fermented foods in helping support gut health and healing.

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

Before we founded Compassion Kombucha, we had the privilege to study and work in rural communities around the world, where we met families struggling with basic needs. We were humbled. And we were overwhelmed. We knew couldn’t help everyone, but what if we could help someone?

Then, when we began brewing our own kombucha-first for our own family, then for friends, and then for loyal customers all over town-we saw the ripple effect of a good idea. And we knew we had to start right here, with families.

We are using a passion (Kombucha) to share compassion within our community and hope to inspire others to do the same!

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

GT’s Trilogy or Superberry

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

Casey is still a traffic engineer at Oregon State University – Cascades Campus by day. Kristin is a former public high school science/health teacher before staying home with their 3 young children.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

“Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone” – Andy Stanley

 

Jessica and Chris Ollis, Spring Branch Kombucha, Springfield, MO, USA

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

About 10 years ago Chris bought a bottle of GT’s Multi-Green at a local health food store on a whim. His initial reaction was not favorable, but it grew on him and eventually became part of his daily routine. Jessica’s process was slower; but since trying our home brew, it’s become a daily habit that still feels like an indulgence!

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

We had been brewing kombucha in our home for about a year, and we couldn’t keep up with the demand from family and friends. Since our town did not have a local commercial kombucha brewery, we saw a need that we might be able to fill. We have a young family, so the risk was scary. But after a year in business and no sign of slowing down, we are grateful we took the leap!

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

Jessica: Elixir Kombucha, Harvest Cider; Chris: GT’s Multi-Green.

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

Chris is a Portfolio Manager for U.S. Bank, with just over 20 years of experience in the field. Jessica was a stay at home mom with a professional background in banking and insurance. Neither of us had experience in the beverage industry, but now we wonder why. This last year is the most fun we’ve ever had!

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

Treat others the way you want to be treated.

 

 

 

 

Lenni Semmelink and Shaw Kamada-Laws, Nourishing Wholefoods, Doonan, Queensland, Australia

 

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

I was woofing around northern California and learning a lot of things about local food production, cooking and community skill sharing. I had tried kombucha before this period but it was at the fermentation clubs and pot lucks that I was blown away by the diversity of styles, flavours and creative possibilities that kombucha can be!

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

My partner started the business growing fresh sprouts for the farmers market, then we expanded into lacto fermented products, kombucha and water kefir and doing our own local distribution. I suppose the “why” behind it all is because we have been lucky enough to find a way to make a living that allows us to share our passion for food with our local community.

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

I have to say that I really appreciate seasonal and unique home made kombucha brewed and shared between friends. A recent hit was lime and hops. I’ve also always loved drinking over-fermented home brew in kombucha based whisky sours.

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

Parenting. My partner and I have three children under five so it can be pretty crazy managing a growing business and keeping the life balance in check but we do our best to remind each other of the bigger picture and dream about surfing, dancing, playing music, painting, making pots, cooking feasts and eating around a fire.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

We’ll sleep better one day…

Kombucha Brewers International & Oregon State University Analyte Study
A Summary of Kombucha Microbiome Research

by Keisha Rose Harrison

The Curtin lab at Oregon State University is interested in applying “-omics” approaches and cutting-edge technology to better understand fermented products. Unlike traditionally studied beverages, i.e. wine and beer, Kombucha is part of a burgeoning field of research. Brewers of all levels recognize that there is little consensus regarding the classification of Kombucha products.

The Kombucha sold on the market is widely varied in its “tea-flavour”, juice additives, residual sugar concentrations, organic acid concentrations, as well as, methods of production. There is a need to differentiate “true” Kombucha from “Kombucha-inspired” products. One of the goals of the OSU research team is to better characterize Kombucha products through chemical profiling. The KBI/OSU Analyte Study was designed with such an intention in mind. Participants were encouraged to submit a sample of “finished product” (Kombucha that is considered ready for shelves) for an analysis of non-volatile compounds. The intention of the study was to group products of a similar chemical composition to identify different styles of Kombucha currently on the market.

Key Metabolic Steps

Before we jump into the research, let’s identify some of the key metabolic steps that occur during Kombucha fermentation. Kombucha is made when sweetened tea is acidulated (pH is reduced) and inoculated with a starter culture. What does these steps mean for the Kombucha brewer? As previous research at OSU has shown, a large portion of the bacterial population of the starter culture is acetic acid bacteria. The reduction in pH creates a favorable environment for the microorganisms that play a role in the transformation of sweet tea into Kombucha.

The yeast population in the starter culture initiate the breakdown of larger sugars. The rate of sucrose hydrolysis is dependent upon the composition and concentration of yeast in the starter culture. Yeast contribute to the fermentative production of ethanol and carbon dioxide. Acetic acid bacteria and lactic acid bacteria generally oxidize ethanol into organic acids, including acetic acid, lactic acid, and gluconic acids. Raw materials, such as fruit juices, can contribute to vitamin and mineral composition. Tea choice influences amino acid, catechin, and tea polyphenol composition. All of these components contribute to the variety found in Kombucha.

How Did the Study Work?

In general Kombucha metabolites include residual sugars, proteins, amino acids, minerals, organic acids, and polyphenols. To best profile Kombucha, these different groups of compounds need to be evaluated. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) sprectroscopy allows for multiple peak measurements from a single spectra. Unlike conventional methods of GC or HPLC, multiple compounds can be measured from a single sample. Each proton is a positively charged particle whose spin is influenced by neighboring atoms. This allows for us to measure fructose and citric acid at the same time! Furthermore, NMR data has been shown to be reproducible and highly precise. Upon receipt of samples, they were normalized and loaded into an 800MHz spectrometer for H-NMR profiling. For ease in sampling handling, only volatile compounds were analyzed. The range of a few metabolic markers are displayed below.

Metabolite Concentration
Sucrose, g/L 0.0 – 42.7
Fructose, g/L 0.1 – 42.9
Caffeine, mg/L 0.0 – 66.4
Ethanol, [v/v%] 0.0 – 5.6%
Acetic acid, g/L 0.0 – 7.5
Lactic acid, g/L 0.0 – 3.2
Gluconic acid, g/L 0.0 – 24.0

Upon an initial glance, it seems unlikely that only finished Kombucha product was submitted. Ethanol levels vary from 0.0% to 5.6% weight by volume. These values suggest that high alcohol Kombucha products were included within the original analysis. Furthermore, non-significant values for organic acids, such as acetic and lactic acids, hint at the possibility that non-fermented tea was additionally submitted for analysis. Limited participant response to the study questionnaire made it challenging to confirm these explanations.

What Can Be Learned?

Without concrete information about how the sample was produced and which tea base, sugar amounts, fermentation times, etc., the meta-data is not available to make correlations between Kombucha composition and production practices. Regardless, let’s consider the original intention of the study: to approach a definition for commercial kombucha.

A principle components analysis (PCA) was the analytical tool used to approach this goal. The plot of this analysis is shown below. The axes, or “components”, represents characteristic of variability. The orientation of samples along these components explain 50.6% of group variation and the effect of varied influences on original characteristic. Furthermore, how the “dots” or samples orient along these components demonstrate the degree of “like-ness”. Samples with a similar overall compositions will appear clustered. Meanwhile, samples with disparate overall compositions will appear at opposite ends of the axes.

Let’s make sense of this. Circles were overlaid on clusters of samples or samples that appear alike. Using this method, we can identify the largest group of like samples. We will assume that these samples represent the range of the most typical Kombucha product. With the other samples removed, we can reassess the metabolite range as below. These values represent the range of a “typical” Kombucha product. With additional information about production practices and sample description, we can use this range as a guideline when defining Kombucha in its various stages.

Where Can We Improve in Future Studies?

It is worth noting that this summary did not go into detail about the significance of all of the various metabolites displayed in the individual reports. This is because we do not know the relationship between these metabolites and Kombucha fermentation quite yet. Given how varied Kombucha practices and materials are, we can only begin to address the question of fermentation kinetics with a standardized system. These research projects are in the works and can only continue with your support. We encourage everyone to continue to participate and to answer the metadata questions as thoroughly and accurately as possible to provide clearer insights into how metabolites correspond to production process and ingredients.

Stay tuned for the next KBI/OSU Study – coming Fall 2019

An average of all the components found in all submitted samples analyzed through NMR spectroscopy can be found in the KBI Member Forum

 

KBI/OSU Genomic Study
A Summary of Kombucha Microbiome Research

By Keisha Rose Harrison

The KBI/OSU SCOBY Genomic Study took place from November 2017 to September 2018 as a two-part study. Part 1 asked the questions “what does the Kombucha SCOBY consist of?” and “how diverse is the Kombucha SCOBY?” in regards to the collective microbiota (the bacterial and fungal populations). Participants were asked to submit representative samples from a SCOBY (solid starter culture) with information regarding current location and time of use.

Part 2 was designed as a follow-up study to ask more specific questions about Kombucha starter cultures and brewing practices. Participants were asked in the Part 2 study to submit either broth (liquid starter culture) or SCOBY samples and to answer a questionnaire about brewing practices (including tea type and brewing volume). Data collected from both studies were combined to strengthen the scope of the study and conclusions about microbiota patterns. A total of 107 SCOBY and 19 Broth samples were collected and evaluated from 7 countries and 26 US states.

SIGN UP TODAY FOR KEISHA’S WEBINAR – JULY 31st 1pm PST 

timeline of KBI OSU SCOBY genomics study

 

Before diving into the results, let’s review the study methods and approach. Both parts relied upon the same DNA sequencing technique to determine microbiota from sample submissions. DNA was extracted using a method modified from traditional column-based extraction protocols. Measures were used to ensure that samples were thoroughly mixed to best represent the sample. Amplicon sequencing was the method of DNA sequencing. During this process, conserved regions of bacterial rDNA and fungal DNA were amplified and sequenced using fluorescent markers.

What exactly does that mean? Each bacterial and fungal cell has a “fingerprint” in its DNA that is generally conserved among members of a genus and species. It is this “fingerprint” that is copied and read. A bioinformatics pipeline is subsequently used to assign species-level identification for yeast and genus-level identification for bacteria. Relative abundance is determined as the number of times a copy of the “fingerprint” is recognized in proportion to all of the fingerprints. Bacterial and fungal relative abundances are reported separately.

results of DNA sequencing of SCOBYs

 

How to interpret your report? Participants received a report that included the participant ID (number used to ensure confidentiality), a list of bacteria genera with relative abundance, and a list of yeast species with relative abundance. An example of a “bacterial profile” report is depicted below. From this report, we can observe the composition of the bacterial population from a submitted sample. Only bacteria that were present at >0.01% were included in the report.  A majority, 43.7%, of the bacterial population in the sample was identified as Lactobacillus genus. The method of interpretation can be used for the fungal or yeast reports.

Bacteria (Genus) K-XXX
Sporolactobacillus 0.0700
Lactobacillus 0.4367
Oenococcus 0.1133
Acetobacter 0.1033
Gluconacetobacter 0.2767

 

Now that the relative abundance of bacteria and yeast are known, the next question is “so what does this mean?” What does a percentage tell us about the fermentation, taste, and quality of kombucha? On an individual level, each sample can serve as a building block of knowledge. Any quality assurance and control plan begins with a detailed overview of the system. Troubleshooting and monitoring starter culture health are all contingent upon knowing the composition of a “normal” and “healthy” culture. The impact of this research is strengthened when we zoom out and look at the whole sample population.

What does the data from both Part 1 and Part 2 tell us? By looking at the microbiota of multiple samples from various geographic locations, we began to answer questions about starter culture diversity. With the information provided by study participants were able to identify the most abundant Kombucha microorganisms, determine the impact of location and culture conditions on the microbiota, and classify starter culture “types”. Samples were collected from both solid and liquid starter cultures have the same common bacteria and yeast populations. Regardless of source, the most common yeast species (based upon an average of relative abundance) are Brettanomyces bruxellensis, Brettanomyces anomala, and Issatchenkia orientalis. The most common bacterial genera are Lactobacillus, Komagtaebacter, and Acetobacter. The proportions of bacteria genera vary depending upon starter culture source so that lactic acid bacteria is more abundant on average in broth than the SCOBY pellicle. Respectively, more acetic acid bacteria is abundant on average in the SCOBY pellicle than the broth. This makes sense we consider that the bacterial species, Komagaetibacter xylnium, is often credited with the formation of the physical SCOBY structure.

Taking a step back, let’s consider what this means. More of the bacteria type that produces ethanol, lactic acid, and carbon dioxide are on average found in broth. Whereas, more of the bacteria type that oxidizes ethanol and produces acetic acid is found in SCOBY. This diversity may be in part because of how the floating physical structure creates an air-liquid interface to support an oxygen-rich environment. Furthermore, we compared physical and liquid samples from the same producer to better understand the dynamic.

Let’s breakdown the figure below. The outside ring represents the SCOBY microbiota and the inside represents the BROTH microbiota. The color blocks represent top 5 microbial groups (so the most abundant bacteria and yeast genera). Blocks of the same color depict the same microbial group. The size of the block correlates the amount of that microbial group present. From the figure, we are comparing 4 BROTH and 4 SCOBY samples each BROTH/SCOBY pair is from the same location. The figure illustrates that in some instances the microbiota is comparable between SCOBY and BROTH and in some instances they differ. What does this mean? We cannot assume that the BROTH and SCOBY are interchangeable.

biofilm vs broth comparison of microorganisms composition

How to best understand ALL of this data? SCOBY sequencing revealed that there are many, many, MANY different species of yeast and bacteria in the Kombucha starter culture population. Looking at just the average SCOBY or BROTH composition is not representative of most individual samples and underscores the importance of starter culture diversity. A better way to compare starter cultures of rich diversity is to group similar microbiota profiles. In other words, by clustering samples that have similar amounts of Bacteria A and Yeast B, we are able to determine “types” of starter cultures. We ultimately used a hierarchical clustering analysis approach to sort through individual data and identify 5 groups within the overall population. These groups represent patterns of yeast and bacteria that any individual samples may fall under. The figure below depicts how specific types of microorganism are likely to appear together in a starter culture. Starter cultures with a large amount of the yeast genera, Brettanomyces, are less likely to be present in a culture with Starmerella/Candida. The “types” of starter culture can be described as follows:

 DOMINANT BACTERIADOMINANT YEAST
IAcetobacter, high – moderate levels of secondary KomagataeibacterVariable
IIKomagaetibacterBrettanomyces
IIILactobacillusBrettanomyces
IVKomagataeibacterStarmerella (Starmerella/Candida clade)
VKomagaetibacter AND Mixed Komagaeteibacter/Acetobacter Komagaeteibacter/Lactobacillus Brettanomyces

To determine how each starter culture type influences fermentation parameters, a preliminary study was undertaken in Dr. Chris Curtin’s lab at Oregon State University. Those findings will be available later in the year in the form of an academic publication that will be shared on the KBI site.

5 types of scobys

READ PART TWO OF THE STUDY