We get down and dirty with one of our favorite kombucha brands, Health-Ade.
Ahh kombucha… the fermented drink currently taking up every bit of refrigerated real estate at health food stores and supermarkets alike. As we walk by them, a sea of labels stare back up at us. How the heck do we choose one? How the heck do we even know what kombucha is? And is it actually really good for us? So many questions. So many options. So little time. Enter Health-Ade. The non-GMO project verified, and certified organic, kosher, vegan, and gluten-free drink company is helping us sort it out.
Health-Ade was founded by Daina and Justin Trout, a wife-and-husband team, alongside best friend, Vanessa Dew. The LA-based company makes everything “the old fashioned way” — locally and in small batches (only 2 1/2 gallons at a time!). “We never come close to using fake fermentation agents, flavorings or chemicals, and rely heavily on nature, not dollars, to decide when the product is ready.” Scroll down to read an exclusive interview with real food movement advocate and Health-Ade co-founder and CEO, Daina, as we chat about this special drink and how Health-Ade sets itself apart in a sea of options.
How would you describe kombucha to someone who has never heard about it?
Kombucha is fermented tea — naturally rich in probiotics and healthy organic acids. People drink it because it’s delicious and effervescent, naturally low in sugar, and just generally makes them feel good.
Why should we drink kombucha? What are the health benefits?
I am a firm believer in the health it takes to be happy, meaning… if it makes you feel good, it’s probably good for you, so just enjoy it! Kombucha is a natural food — not a medicine or a supplement — as such, it hasn’t been specifically researched at large for any functional benefit, so we should be looking at kombucha MORE like a food, like a bag of carrots. It’s full of good stuff that our bodies need, like probiotics and healthy acids. The science behind probiotics and healthy acids is strong, so it’s not surprising fermented foods like raw kombucha make people feel good!
What makes Health-Ade different than other kombucha drink brands?
Health-Ade is the best-tasting and highest-quality kombucha you can buy. We brew 100% the old-school way — the way nature intended — to ensure ours is the best brew. We do SO many things differently, it’s tough to list them all, but the major ones include: fermenting in glass to prevent plastic and metal leaching (we’re the only commercial glass brewer), brewing in super-small 2 1/2 G batches for premium quality, flavoring with the highest quality ingredients we can find, like raw in-house cold-pressed juice from organic produce and, simply put, we make real kombucha. We don’t add any fake fermentors, engineered probiotics or chemicals, EVER. We don’t hasten fermentation, force carbonate or pasteurize, and our product is certified organic, non-GMO, vegan, kosher, gluten-free and raw.
A lot of people think kombucha comes from a mushroom, but where does it actually come from?
That’s a myth I hear all the time — so let me set the record straight. Kombucha does not come from a mushroom. It’s made using 4 ingredients: sugar, tea, water and the SCOBY. The SCOBY is the kombucha culture, similar to what’s used in yogurt, kefir or sourdough, and, like those cultures, is classified as a fungus. Basically, “fungus” means that it contains or was derived from yeasts and, though a mushroom is a fungus, too, there are millions of funghi that are not mushrooms.
Can you make kombucha at home, on your own?
You sure can, and I recommend it! This is actually how Health-Ade got its start. I, along with my business partners/best friends Justin and Vanessa, were at a crossroads in our lives and wanted to do something really meaningful and challenging… something that would truly make a difference. Back in grad school for Nutrition, I fell in love with fermented foods and learned how to make kombucha. Ten years later, my recipe was pretty darn good, and the 3 of us decided to sell it in the farmers’ market. Making kombucha is simple, but it’s definitely an art. You have to tend to it and support it, much like making homemade beer or vinegar. It’s very different than making cookies, for example. Health-Ade loves it when people make their own kombucha — the more kombucha out there in the world, the better!
How much kombucha do you have to drink in order to feel the health benefits?
Remember, kombucha is a food, not a supplement or medicine. So it’s really up to you and how much you want to drink. There is no “dose” maximum or recommended amount. Drink as much as makes you feel good and happy! I tend to drink about a bottle a day, more or less.
Can you tell us a little bit about the production process at Heath-Ade?
Gladly! We do everything we can to protect the friendly flora, like bottle in UV-protective amber glass. We believe Mother Nature knows best, so we make REAL kombucha and ferment 100% the natural way… the brew tells us when she’s ready. We don’t add any hasteners or engineered probiotics, and we don’t pasturize or force-carbonate. To boot, we’re the only commercial brew that’s certified organic, non-GMO, raw, vegan, gluten-free and kosher. We are proud to be making real food here, if you can’t tell :)
What is something most people don’t know about kombucha?
It’s a great cocktail mixer! Seriously, though — mix kombucha with a delicious spirit and watch your craft cocktail repertoire grow!
Health-Ade hosted a workshop at our most recent FP Escapes in Sonoma, presenting everything a girl would want to know about kombucha. After concocting personalized kombucha drinks, our guests were given a take-home kombucha kit to brew their own!
Thank you for your insight (and delicious brews!), Daina.
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