The recent intersection between heightened health consciousness and sustainability in the food and beverage industry amidst customers has resulted in some compelling trends. Amongst them, fermentation, an age-old process traditionally used to store food, has become a functional way to maintain the authenticity of its ingredients or enhance them. Because it is a natural process, little expenditure is required in either the energy or monetary aspects. While popularity boosts in fermented foods such as yoghurt and kimchi pinpoint this trend, the new beverage produced through fermentation that is presently gaining traction exists still as a relatively new canvas for experimentation.
GENERATING A DIFFERENT CULTURE
Chances are you’ve already met or made the new brew garnering attention from fellow bartenders, mixologists and baristas – and it isn’t coffee. It’s instead produced through the fermentation of tea, sugar, and a pancake-like symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast or ‘SCOBY’. According to MONIN’s Beverage Innovation Expert Andrew Loke, a healthy SCOBY is white to tan and will remain intact when pinched. When placed in sweetened black tea, this culture propagates a range of organic acids, vitamins, amino acids, and enzymes on top of its existing probiotic and antioxidant properties. Having been described to taste like sparkling apple cider and champagne depending on the type of tea used, kombucha is thought to have originated from China more than two thousand years ago.
BREWING UP A STORM
With a distinct tangy taste, kombucha satisfies sugary drink cravings while boosting immunity. As expected, the drink is rapidly becoming a café and restaurant staple. Loke drops a few tips for those who want to curate their own, including to always use filtered water to make kombucha and to avoid the usage of metal due to kombucha’s acidic nature. For hygiene purposes, as well as to ensure consistency and quality, Loke substitutes regular sugar with MONIN’s Pure Cane Sugar syrup to sweeten his tea. While kombucha itself is not a contemporary creation, enhancing its flavour through adding new flavours is a technique steadily populating the beverage scene. For those aspiring to try a hand at incorporating new kombucha mixes for your customers, here are a few recipes to sample before deciding to introduce it into your menu: