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Why is Kombucha so Expensive?

By Elspeth Sargeant

Why is Kombucha so Expensive?

In this Blog, we are going to explore why Kombucha is so expensive compared to your average can of Coke. Historically Kombucha does have a stigma of being more expensive when compared to big soda brands.

We are going to delve into what it takes to brew Kombucha, the quality ingredients that are used in the brewing process and how timely Kombucha can be to brew. 

But first, we are going to get into the nitty gritty of Kombucha for all of those Kombucha newbies and long-time lovers.

Origins and Commonly Asked Questions

There would be no Kombucha without a SCOBY! So what is a SCOBY? SCOBY stands for "Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast," and it's the living microbe-laden base that turns sweet tea into the tangy drink that is Kombucha.

The history of Kombucha is rich and exciting, tracing its roots back to the Far East. One belief is that Kombucha first emerged in ancient China during the Tsin Dynasty, around 221 BCE. Curious about the history behind Kombucha? Dive into our Origins of Kombucha blog post.

The health benefits of Kombucha are emerging rapidly due to the drink's trendy nature. The benefits most commonly being promoting digestion to aiding the immune system, Kombucha is becoming known as the powerhouse of health. Keen to discover why this drink has earned its star status? Learn more about the remarkable benefits of Kombucha here.

A commonly asked question is does Kombucha have alcohol? Yes, it does contain trace amounts of alcohol due to its fermentation process. However, the good news is that it's still categorised as a non-alcoholic beverage as it typically contains less than 0.5% abv. If you're interested in the alcohol levels in Kombucha, delve deeper here.

If you’ve become a keen Kombucha drinker, the good news is that you can drink Kombucha every day. However, we always suggest that you consult with your doctor first. You can read more about the benefits of drinking Kombucha every day here.

Check out this video: Why is Kombucha so Expensive?

From our YouTube channel - The Gut Health Channel

Ingredients 

Better tea= Better booch. In our brewery, we prioritise big, beautiful tea leaves. Greater quality tea leaves extract a deeper and richer flavour which is essential for a great tasting Kombucha. Smaller breweries often use local tea merchants to source their teas. This means we know exactly what our tea is and where it is coming from.

Sugar, herbs and flavourings are more key ingredients when it comes to Kombucha making. Small breweries often tend to buy small batches of these and know exactly where in the world these key ingredients have come from. This makes for better flavours, brews and some great stories about our ingredients’ journeys to us.

Brew Quality

The size of companies brewing Kombucha tends to be much smaller entities. Small breweries often tend to buy smaller as they produce smaller quantities. Big soda brands can buy large amounts and this means that they can get better deals on their stock of ingredients. However, with this better deal often comes a lack of information for the consumer about where the ingredients are sourced and if they are good quality.

As smaller companies cannot buy in bulk this cost has to be passed onto the consumer, similar to the cost that is passed on when sourcing high-quality ingredients. 

A side note: smaller companies and breweries tend to source their ingredients from smaller providers. This allows us to know exactly where our ingredients have come from. This information about our ingredients can then be shared with the consumer so that every customer knows that they are buying good quality Booch’. 

Cool fact: Here at Hip Pop we know the family that farms our tea and the province it comes from.

Picture of Quality Tea

Time

Kombucha takes a lot of time and a lot of patience. If you are an at-home Kombucha connoisseur you know that! Properly brewed Kombucha can take anywhere from 1-4 weeks to ferment. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is our Kombucha!

This is known as Tank Residency. In brewing Tank Residency refers to the period a beverage remains in a specific tank during production. Because Kombucha fermentation takes a long time, Tank Residency takes a long time. This means that you can’t produce the same amount of product as a soda company as Kombucha is a much slower process. What can we say, we like to live life in the slow lane!

Quality Control 

Any soft drink that is produced commercially will have measures of quality control. However, Kombucha needs a more rigorous approach to quality control due to its acidic nature. We need to check the quality of the Ph Levels, Acidity, and Alcohol Levels (to make sure it is under 0.5% ABV). Here at Hip Pop we also have a strict taste test system so that you get the best Booch' delivered to your door. This all contributes to the expense of the product.

Equipment 

A Kombucha production facility needs tanks… a lot of tanks. We need small tanks for starters and bigger tanks for brewing and fermentation. The more tanks the bigger the batch of Booch’. 

Tanks aren't the only equipment that we house at the brewery. We have machines for canning, and testing the Kombucha and pumps! There is tons of expenditure on our equipment to make the best Booch’. This expense then has to be put back into the final product.

Image of tanks

Energy

All you Kombucha enthusiasts know that to brew an epic batch of Kombucha you need to keep the tanks warm. This temperature has to be controlled by energy. The warmth from the controlled environment in the tanks allows the fermentation process to thrive.

However, our Kombucha isn’t always enjoying life in the cosiness of their tanks as when it comes to the carbonation process we need to cool the tanks. The cooling of the tanks creates the beautiful sparking fizz that we all love in our carbonated Kombucha. 

To make Kombucha it requires a constant fluctuation in energy and temperature. This requires a lot of time and power to do so which contributes to the final cost.

Packing

A common misconception is that a can is cheaper than a glass bottle and this is not the case. Glass bottles become expensive in the delivery cost as glass requires extra packaging to make sure that the bottles do not smash in transit. 

Here at Hip Pop, we add the delivery cost to our final product. We have free delivery on-site to make our Kombucha as affordable as possible. 

PPE

We pride ourselves on safety and the correct measures of hygiene at Hip Pop. Therefore, we provide all our staff members with the correct:

  • PPE

  • Wellies 

  • Shoe Covers

  • Gloves

  • Hairnets

  • Beard Nets 

We have a lot of beards in our brewery! All of our equipment to keep our staff safe and our hygiene levels top-notch also has to be changed regularly and kept in tip-top order.

PPE

Should I Make Kombucha at Home?

If you are thinking about making Kombucha then you should give it a go at home. You can follow our quick step-by-step guide on how to make the best Booch' at home. Making Kombucha at home allows you to get creative and have the freedom to make wonderfully wacky flavours. 

Although we are a Kombucha company we do think that the best Kombucha you will drink is the one that you make yourself at home. Home brewing Kombucha is also cheaper and can make for a fun hobby!

If making Kombucha at home isn’t for you we urge you to go out and try your local UK Kombucha brands. There are some amazing brands in the UK working hard to get the best Booch’ out to you.

Let's round this up

In this blog, we have summarised everything that goes into the cost of brewing good quality Kombucha. We hope we have scratched the surface regarding why Kombucha is more expensive than your stereotypical can of pop. We would love to see all of you lovely lot become at-home Kombucha enthusiasts and try to make your own interesting flavours at home. Whilst you’re getting creative make sure to support and try your friendly UK Kombucha brewer's batches of Booch’. 

Image of Core Kombucha

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