What Is Kombucha? History, Ingredients & Health Benefits | GT’s
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What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a fermented tea passed down by centuries of Eastern tradition. To craft Kombucha, a base of sweetened tea is cultured with a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast). Over time, the SCOBY transforms the tea into a tangy, naturally effervescent drink with billions of living probiotics to support gut health and promote overall wellbeing.

Where did Kombucha come from?

While there are many stories about the geneses of Kombucha, it is believed to have originated in East Asia around 221 BC. It is said that Emperor Qin Shi was the first to make and drink Kombucha. By the time of the Cultural Revolution in China in the 1960s, Kombucha was found in all Chinese homes.

There are reports that Kombucha was used in times of war to help soldiers stay strong during battle. As conflict brought together armies from several nations, including China, Korea, Japan, and Russia, warriors would exchange various items, including Kombucha cultures. That’s when records of Kombucha in Russia first began to appear.

Over the last few decades, Kombucha has experienced a tremendous resurgence and growth, becoming incredibly popular in the United States, Canada, and throughout the Western world.

Where is GT’s Kombucha made?

Since 1995, we’ve crafted and bottled all our offerings in sunny Los Angeles, California – the hometown of our founder, GT Dave.

What are the health benefits of Kombucha?

In ancient Eastern cultures, Kombucha was called “The Tea of Immortality”. Authentically fermented Kombucha naturally yields living probiotics, electrolytes, acetic acids, and active enzymes. Kombucha is known to: Support gut health & aid digestion, promote overall wellbeing, provide immune support, and improve vitality.

What’s a SCOBY?

SCOBY is an acronym for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. This living culture (which looks a bit like a slimy pancake) consumes sugar and caffeine during fermentation. 

How did GT’s Kombucha begin?

In the early 1990s, a close friend gifted the Dave family a Mother SCOBY from the Himalayas. The family used this living culture to home brew their own small batches of the sacred tea. When Laraine, GT’s mom, was sick with breast cancer, she regularly drank their homebrewed Kombucha to stay strong throughout her recovery – see Our Story. Inspired by the role GT saw Kombucha play in his mother’s journey to recovery, he knew he wanted to share this gift of wellness with the world. Only a teenager at the time, he continued to brew small batches in his parents’ kitchen and personally deliver bottles to health food stores in the Los Angeles area. The first retailer to carry a bottle of GT’s KOMBUCHA was Erewhon, a natural food market in LA.

How is GT’s SYNERGY Kombucha made?

Consistent with Eastern tradition, our Kombucha is authentically crafted with organic green and black tea, organic kiwi juice, and a SCOBY. We never heat, pasteurize, or process our Kombucha, in order to ensure viability of the living probiotics.

  1. We begin by brewing a sweet tea made from black tea, green tea, and kiwi juice.
  2. To that, we add a SCOBY and let the brew ferment in a serene environment for a few weeks.
  3. Before bottling, we craft unique flavors of GT’s KOMBUCHA by pairing our brew with 100% organic & raw ingredients: fruit and vegetable juices/purees, herbs, spices, and botanicals. We never add artificial colors or flavors.

Where are the ingredients in GT’s Kombucha sourced from?

Whenever possible, we source our ingredients from within the United States. Since harvest season for many ingredients falls during the warm Summer months, we also source some of our ingredients from certified organic farms in Central and South America. Our Black and Green tea is sourced from organic farms in India.

What’s the difference between GT’s SYNERGY Kombucha, GT’s Classic Kombucha, and GT’s Hard Kombucha?

Did you know that we make three lines of Kombucha? We do! The main difference is the level of alcohol in each offering and the color of the glass we bottle it in.

GT’s SYNERGY Kombucha is served in clear glass bottles with white caps and available for people of all ages.

GT’s Classic Kombucha is served in dark amber bottles with black caps and contains over 0.5 – 1% alcohol-by-volume. For this reason, GT’s Classic Kombucha is only available to those over 21. Our Classic Kombucha offerings are crafted with organic cane sugar (as a sugar source for the fermentation) and offer a bolder, more traditional bite.

GT’s Hard Kombucha is our take on hard Kombucha. Each offering contains 3% ABV, making it a better-for-you happy hour alternative for those over 21. Each unique flavor is inspired by the sophisticated flavor profile of popular adult beverages. See our Hard Kombucha flavors here.

Why do GT’s Hard Kombucha flavors have higher ABV?

GT’s Hard Kombucha line offers three flavors with 3% ABV (alcohol by volume): New World Noir, Heavenly Hops, and Piña Paradise. Through a unique dual fermentation method, these 3% offerings naturally develop a higher alcohol level.  This dual fermentation also helps to create sophisticated flavor profiles inspired by adult beverages like a fine wine (New World Noir), craft beer (Heavenly Hops), and a tropical cocktail (Piña Paradise).

What does GT’s SYNERGY Kombucha taste like?

Our Kombucha is known for its signature tangy taste and delicate effervescence – a sign of successful fermentation! That’s why you’ll notice this quality in all fermented foods, like miso, kimchi, cultured yogurt, and sourdough bread.

How will I feel after drinking GT’s SYNERGY Kombucha?

Kombucha is known to make you feel refreshed and revitalized. Each bottle contains billions of living probiotics to support gut health and promote overall wellbeing. The naturally occurring effervescence may also help you feel full and satiated.

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 with about 4 ounces and gradually increasing your intake over time.

 How much GT’s SYNERGY Kombucha should I drink if I’m new to it?

Since everyone’s body is different, we recommend slowly introducing Kombucha into your regular diet. We recommend starting slow. Begin with about 4 ounces, then gradually increase your intake to 16 ounces or more per day. It’s best to listen to your body determine how much is right for you.

Can I drink too much Kombucha?

Drinking “too much” Kombucha will not harm you. However, we subscribe to the motto of “all things in moderation” and suggest listening to your body. Our suggestion is to cap consumption at three 16oz bottles/day.

 Can children drink GT’s SYNERGY Kombucha?

Our SYNERGY Kombucha can be safe for children and can also be a better-for-you alternative to sugary juices and soda. For children ages ten and under, we recommend limiting their consumption to about 4-6 ounces per day. If you are unsure of introducing something new to your child’s system during this time, we recommend consulting with your healthcare professional or pediatrician before consuming.

I have a sensitivity to alcohol. Can I still drink Kombucha?

If you have a sensitivity to alcohol, we recommend monitoring your intake and consulting with your doctor as needed.

Can I drink GT’s SYNERGY Kombucha if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

We have heard from many mothers who continue to drink Kombucha during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. However, if you are unsure of introducing something new to your system during this time, we recommend consulting with your healthcare professional due to the delicate nature of pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Does Kombucha need to be consumed with a meal?

No. 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 GT’s SYNERGY Kombucha?

There’s no wrong time to drink Kombucha. Drink in the morning for accelerated digestion, midday for a natural lift or, in the second half of the day, to curb cravings.

Why do you use kiwi juice instead of sugar for GT’s SYNERGY Kombucha?

Kombucha requires a sugar source for fermentation. That sugar source can come in the form of cane sugar, honey, agave, fruit juice, etc. For our SYNERGY Kombucha, we choose organic kiwi juice because of its premium quality and the way it complements our Kombucha’s taste profile.

 If I’m allergic to kiwi juice, can I drink GT’s SYNERGY Kombucha?

The kiwi juice is a process ingredient that gets consumed by the SCOBY during fermentation. We’ve run tests and learned that those with kiwi allergies generally do not have any reactions to our Kombucha. If you have any concerns, we recommend talking with your healthcare professional.

How much caffeine is in GT’s SYNERGY Kombucha?

All of our flavors are considered naturally decaffeinated – a result of the fermentation process. Each flavor contains about 4mg to 8mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving.

(For reference, an average cup of brewed coffee has about 100mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving, while decaf has about 5mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving. GT’s Koffee Kombucha contains 40mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving.)

How much sugar does GT’s SYNERGY Kombucha have?

Immediately after fermentation, our base Kombucha contains an average of 6g of sugar per 8-ounce serving. Once we add in the juice or fruit puree, each flavor will vary from 6g-10g of sugar per 8-ounce serving.

I heard that there is alcohol in Kombucha. Why is this?  

Alcohol is a natural byproduct of fermentation and can be found in all fermented foods, like miso, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi. This alcohol is very beneficial, as it provides a natural form of food preservation – Nature’s self-defense against contamination and bacteria.

Sometimes people mistake the feeling they get from drinking Kombucha for a “buzzed” feeling, yet this is not the case with our SYNERGY Kombucha. It’s simply the detoxifying effect that can occur from the influx of probiotics.

If you have a sensitivity to alcohol for personal, religious, or dietetic reasons, we recommend abstaining from drinking Kombucha.

What are the probiotics in GT’s SYNERGY Kombucha?

The dominant strains of probiotics in GT’s KOMBUCHA are Lactobacillus Bacterium and Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086. There are a few more varieties as well, which supports microbiome diversity. Here at GT’s, we believe in a method of “aerobic wild fermentation,” meaning we rely on naturally-occurring bacteria & yeast to craft this offering in the way that nature intended.

Why are there floaties in the bottle?

These floaties are a good thing! They are actually active strands of living culture – another sign of a successful fermentation, which is why we serve our Kombucha raw, unprocessed, and unfiltered. If left out unrefrigerated, these floaties will form into a SCOBY that you can use to craft your own home brew.

Why is GT’s Kombucha fizzy?

The effervescence (fizziness) in our Kombucha is created by the fermentation. Unlike sodas which are artificially carbonated, this effervescence is 100% naturally occurring and continues to develop over time. That’s why bottles of our Kombucha closer to the Enjoy By date will naturally be more effervescent, while fresher batches will be less effervescent.  Remember: DO. NOT. SHAKE.

 Why do some bottles of GT’s Kombucha have ingredients settling at the bottom?

Simply put, we use real ingredients and no preservatives, emulsifiers, or homogenization processes which means that settling may occur. Feel free to gently rock the bottle back and forth, or with a gentle roll of the wrist, to disperse the sediment. But remember: DO. NOT. SHAKE.

Why does it say, “Do not shake,” on the bottle?

Kombucha is naturally effervescent. Therefore, similar to carbonated drinks, it will have a “Champagne Effect” if you shake it. We recommend turning the bottle upside down and gently rolling from side to side to disperse the ingredients and sediment.

What is the pH of GT’s Kombucha?

The low pH level of Kombucha is a direct result of the fermentation, which releases acetic acids.  Those are very important, as they protect the brew from harmful microorganisms and act as a natural preservative for your beverage or food. Did you know that fermentation was one of the safest ways to preserve foods before refrigeration was invented?

GT’s Kombucha has a pH level between 2.5 and 3.5. Like apple cider vinegar, once consumed, it can promote alkalinity in the body.

Where can I buy GT’s Kombucha?

Our Kombucha is available nationwide at markets, restaurants, cafes, convenience stores, and online shops. Use our Store Locator to find retailers near you.

How should GT’s Kombucha be stored?

Our Kombucha is a raw food containing billions of living probiotics so it should ALWAYS be kept chilled in a refrigerator between 33-37 F°. Bottles should be stored upright and never on their side.

How long does GT’s Kombucha stay fresh after it’s been opened?

For best quality and experience, we suggest consuming within three days of opening.

Can I drink GT’s Kombucha after the “enjoy by date”?

For best quality and experience, we suggest consuming on or before the date printed on top of the cap.

Can I recycle GT’s bottles?

Yes, GT’s Kombucha bottles are recyclable. Simply take the bottle and cap to your local recycling center. There are also endless ways to reuse our bottles. We’ve seen them upcycled as containers, flower vases, candle holders, make-up brush holders, sand art, and more. Find inspiration on our Pinterest here. Learn more about our sustainability practices here.



*PLEASE NOTE: We are not doctors. We are not scientists. We are simply conscious consumers, like you, who care about the things we put into our body because we believe that food can be a form of medicine. We understand every person is different, and that each body may react differently to the things they consume. Please know the information we share is intended to speak to the average experience with our offerings.