Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is Kombucha?
‘Kombucha’ is sparkling fermented tea drink, crafted using an ancient Eastern Tradition. To craft Kombucha, a base of sweetened tea is combined with a live culture, known as a SCOBY. Over time, the live culture works its magic to transform the tea into a tangy, naturally effervescent drink, bubbling with living goodness to support overall wellbeing.
Where did Kombucha come from?
Kombucha is believed to have originated in Northeast China around 220 B.C, where it became loved for its healing properties. Its name is reportedly derived from Dr. Kombu, a Korean physician who brought the fermented tea to Japan as a curative for Emperor Inkyo.
This tradition of fermenting tea at home was passed down through the centuries, and eventually brought to Europe in the early 20th century as a result of trade route expansions. Home-brewed Kombucha popularity grew significantly in the West in the 1960s following Western studies which discovered its potential health beneficial properties.
Kombucha first became available as a commercially ready-to-drink beverage in the early 2000s in North America, and has since become a revolution in the beverage market all around the world.
What’s a SCOBY?
SCOBY is an acronym for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. This living culture (which looks a bit like a jellyfish) is responsible for consuming sugar and caffeine during fermentation and converting these into all of the various beneficial properties.
What are the health benefits of Kombucha?
The kombucha fermentation alchemy yields a whole lot of living goodness including : billions of gut-loving cultures, a range beneficial organic acids (mostly acetic, like apple cider vinegar), digestive enzymes and electrolytes. Happy Culture kombucha is also high in antioxidants and contains a range of healthy minerals and vitamins.
All of these beneficial properties have been known to promote overall wellbeing by: supporting gut health & improving digestion, boosting immunity and vitality, balancing and detoxifying the body.
Where is Happy Culture Kombucha made?
All our products are passionately handcrafted at our beautiful production home in Simondium, in the heart of the Cape Winelands.
How is Happy Culture Kombucha made?
The Happy Culture Kombucha process authentically honours the traditional ancient fermentation methods, and further optimised to perfection with modern science and technology.
The base of our kombucha is made with mineral water from the Cape Winelands, slow brewed organic green tea, unrefined brown sugar and Kalahari desert salts. This sweet tea mixture is then combined with live starter cultures in a vessel, where the magic of the fermentation alchemy will take place over a period of a few weeks, in a clean, dark, warm and peaceful environment. And, to add an extra sparkle of happiness to our brews - we play beautiful 432Hz Reki healing music in our fermentation room 24 hours a day, to ensure what we love to call, ‘Happy Cultures’.
Before bottling, we prepare our unique Happy Culture blends by adding delicious natural ingredients to the ferments- including cold pressed juices, natural extracts and spices. Once bottled, our kombucha is sent to the second fermentation room where the bubbles will be naturally formed in the bottle, and then kept refrigerated until it is enjoyed.
What does Happy Culture Kombucha taste like?
Kombucha offers a uniquely complex and intriguing flavour profile, a little bit fruity, tangy, sweet, sour, tarty and yeasty all at the same time, offering an explosion of happy sensations on the taste buds. Though these are the base characteristics of kombucha, different kombucha productions offer completely different styles/experiences, depending on the kind of tea, cultures, ingredients and methods used.
Happy Culture Kombucha is known for its signature fresh, clean, beautifully balanced, and dry style - a result of our choice of ingredients, our passion for precision and our low sugar approach. We also pride ourselves for the art of the ‘perfect bubble’, offering delicate, but exciting effervescence. In a nut shell, we love to describe the taste of our kombucha as ‘somewhere between iced tea and champagne’, with each infusion offering a unique and delicious expression of flavour and aromatic sensations.
How will I feel after drinking Happy Culture Kombucha?
On an immediate basis, our Kombucha is known to make one feel refreshed, invigorated and left with a lingering ‘happy buzz’. The naturally occurring effervescence may also bring excitement to the senses.
In the longer term, after consuming it regularly, kombucha has been known to improve digestive health, boost energy levels and overall physical and mental wellbeing.
If you are new to Kombucha, you may experience the detoxifying effects typically associated with a cleanse. This may show up as gas, bloat, or a change in stool. For this reason, we recommend starting by introducing it to your system slowly.
How did the Happy Culture story begin?
Happy Culture Kombucha was founded in Cape Town in 2017, when founders (and life partners) Mark and Manon lovingly fused their passion for health, happiness and bubbles, with a greater vision to inspire beautiful evolutions, by supporting people on their path to a healthy and happy life.
Mark and Manon discovered kombucha during a travel odyssey, and immediately fell in love with its deliciousness and living goodness, and the beautiful alchemy that brought it all to life. It soon became a calling for them to share its wonders with people far and wide, while spread happiness along the way.
Today, the Happy Culture is still run why the founders and is made up of a team of 10+, who work together to passionately craft an exciting range of delicious kombucha and other fermented goodies at their production home in the Cape Winelands. Happy Culture is honoured to be making their goodness-filled ferments widely available and accessible to South Africans all around the country, and is excited to continue to inspire and evolve the beverage, fermented foods, and gut health movements in South Africa.
How much caffeine is in Happy Culture Kombucha?
Most of the caffeine present in the green tea used in our brews is consumed during the fermentation, with about 4mg of residual caffeine per 250ml serving. This is a very minute amount in comparison to an average cup of brewed coffee which has about 100mg of caffeine per 250ml serving.
How much sugar does Happy Culture Kombucha have?
We pride ourselves for creating a low sugar, dry-style kombucha - with only 2g of residual sugar / 100ml. It is also important to note that these sugars are all broken down, fermented sugars and that no sucrose is added post fermentation.
Is there any alcohol in Happy Culture Kombucha ?
Alcohol is a natural byproduct of fermentation and can be found in all fermented foods, like kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi. In our ferments, all of the alcohol produced by the yeasts during the fermentation is consumed by the beneficial bacterias to produce the organic acids, but a trace amount of alcohol is present in each bottle due to the second in-bottle fermentation (to make the bubbles). Happy Culture Kombucha’s residual alcohol is tightly monitored to always be below the 0,5% legal limit.
This alcohol is in fact intrinsically beneficial, as it provides a natural form of food preservation – Nature’s self-defence against contamination and bacteria.
Is Happy Culture Kombucha pasteurised?
No, our kombucha is never heated and is always raw and full of living goodness. This is why it is important to keep our kombucha refrigerated at all times or it will continue to ferment at warmer temperatures, producing excessive effervescent and losing its harmonious balance.
Why is Happy Culture Kombucha sparkling?
The bubbles in our Kombucha are created during the second, in bottle fermentation (just like a traditional Champagne). Unlike sodas, which are artificially carbonated, this effervescence is naturally occurring and formed by the yeasts present in the brews. Remember : DON’T SHAKE.
How much Happy Culture Kombucha should I drink?
Drinking “too much” Kombucha will not harm you. However, like with all things, moderation is best for optimal balance and benefits. We recommend enjoying our kombucha in moderation and most importantly, listening to your body. Our suggestion is to cap consumption at an average of no more than 500ml/ day.
If you’re new to kombucha, and since everyone’s body is different, we recommend slowly introducing Kombucha into your regular diet. We recommend starting slow, with max 1 x 340ml / day initially, and seeing how your body responds.
Can children drink Happy Culture Kombucha?
Our Kombucha can be enjoyed by children and is a great alternative to sugary juices and soda. Again, best to start with smaller quantities (i.e 200ml / day), and to enjoy in moderation. If you are unsure of introducing something new to your child’s body, we recommend consulting with your healthcare professional.
Can I drink Happy Culture Kombucha if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?
Overall- if you were already enjoying kombucha before pregnancy, yes- it is safe to drink moderate quantities of Happy Culture Kombucha during pregnancy - but with more caution if you are new to drinking kombucha. We know of many women who have enjoyed kombucha throughout their pregnancy, but every one is different so best for you to assess what works for you.
The main risks around kombucha and pregnancy are pertaining to caffeine and alcohol content. Our kombucha has very low residual caffeine content (max 2 mg / 100ml) and the alcohol content is if course also tightly regulated and always below the legal limit of 0,5%. Home brews are however not as tightly monitored on the alcohol front and can also carry a risk of pathogens so are not recommended during pregnancy.
Remember to listen to the signals your body is sending you- If at anytime it doesn’t smell or taste good to you, then don’t continue to drink it. If you can feel your body is enjoying the benefits, then it’s ok to continue enjoying them. One good tip we can share to manage consumption is to dilute the kombucha in sparkling water - so you’re still enjoying all the benefits and delicious bubbly refreshment, but with more hydration and dilution.
For more detailed information, we recommend having a read at some articles online, such as https://www.kombuchakamp.com/kombucha-tea-pregnancy-safety-probiotics-fermented-foods and https://www.wellandgood.com/good-advice/kombucha-pregnancy
What is the difference between the original Kombucha range and the Can Kombucha range?
Both ranges have the same organic green tea kombucha as a base. We like to think of the Can range as the ‘naughty cousin’, with an extra functional property. The Cherry CBD is infused with a small dose of CBD oil to offer additional beneficial, calming properties and is best enjoyed to relax or relieve stress. The Zesty energy has been infused with Guarana and Ginseng extracts, for those times when you need an extra energy kick.
Does Kombucha need to be consumed with a meal?
Kombucha can be enjoyed before a meal, with a meal, after a meal, or any time in between.
When is the best time to drink Kombucha?
Kombucha can be drank anytime when you enjoy it most. Drink it in the morning for a healthy kick start to your digestive system, as a delicious and digestion-boosting pairing to your lunch, in the afternoon for an energy boost, or anytime of the day to refresh and invigorate.
Is Happy Culture Kombucha a good cocktail mixer?
Yes, absolutely ! Our live & fizzy fermented teas are an amazing substitute to usual sodas and tonics - offering a low sugar, natural, goodness filled and super tasty alternative to mix with your favourite spirits ! In fact, you may just discover your new favourites cocktails by experimenting with kombucha as a mixer - the complexity of flavours, acidity and yeastiness of kombucha actually fuse super deliciously with quality / botanic spirits, and seriously easy too!
What is the sediment at the bottom the bottles?
The sediment is comprised of the living cultures settling at the bottom, and in some cases, combined with the natural juices/extracts (i.e cold pressed ginger) - this is a sign of a healthy, happy brew. To dissolve this residue into the liquid, you can turn the bottle upside down and gently rock the bottle back and forth. But remember, no shaking !!
What is the PH of Happy Culture Kombucha?
Happy Culture Kombucha has a pH level between 3 and 3.5. Due to the nature of the acids (mostly acetic), like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, once consumed, they have an alkalising effect on the body (which is desired as most people’s PH is too acidic, due to modern lifestyle influences).
The low pH level of Kombucha is a direct result of the organic acids produced during the fermentation. These acids are also beneficial to protect the brew from harmful microorganisms and act as a natural preservative. Fun fact: fermentation was one of the safest ways to preserve foods before refrigeration was invented.
Where can I buy Happy Culture Kombucha?
Happy Culture Kombucha is available nationwide at select Pick n Pay, Wellness Warehouse, Food Lovers Market and Spar stores, as well as a whole range of health shops, cafes, farm stalls, delis, convenience stores, and online shops. See the ‘Let’s Connect’ page or email us to find the nearest retailers to you. Our kombucha is of course also available for purchase directly from our online store, with free delivery to your home.
What is the shelf life on Happy Culture Kombucha ?
Shelf life is 5 months from production. Remember, our Kombucha is raw and full of living cultures so it should ALWAYS be kept chilled below 6 Degrees Celsius to preserve quality and balance.
How long does Happy Culture Kombucha stay fresh after it’s been opened?
For optimal quality and experience, we suggest consuming within three days of opening. It does not actually go off or become harmful after longer periods, but can lose fizz and become more tarty.
Is your kombucha halal certified ?
Yes, our kombucha is Halal certified with ICSA (cert : 6329)
Are Happy Culture bottles /cans recyclable ?
Yes, all our packaging is fully recyclable.
Both Aluminium cans and PET is widely recycled in South Africa. If you are not yet recycling at home, please let us be the reason why you start. Find out more about PET and how you can recycle by visiting our packaging page.