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What is kombucha? An interview with Health-Ade

I sat down with the founders of Health-Ade kombucha to talk all things ‘buch (including the question you’re all wondering, what is kombucha?)

Bottle of kombucha on a counter

In case you haven’t noticed, we kind of love kombucha around here. We love brewing kombucha, and making all the kombucha flavors, and we especially love talking about kombucha!

Which is exactly what we’re doing today as we sit down with Daina Trout, Justin Trount, and Vanessa Dew – founders of the popular kombucha brand, Health-Ade.

For the uninitiated, kombucha is a fizzy fermented beverage made from fermented tea. The fermentation results in it being packed with probiotics, making it a deliciously fizzy health elixir that has taken the world by storm.

Closeup photo of apple kombucha in fermentation bottles on a white background

The History of Kombucha

Kombucha is an ancient beverage that has recently become popular in the mass consumer market, evolving from a farmer’s market specialty to a supermarket staple!

Q: Where does kombucha originate?
Health-Ade Founders: Kombucha is an ancient fermented tea that originated from Manchuria in North East China around 220 BC. However the drink’s name (Kombu) stems from Japanese word meaning kelp or seaweed. 

Q: What is the history of Health-Ade? How did you get your start?
Health-Ade Founders: Health-Ade was created in 2012 by Daina Trout, her husband Justin Trout and their best friend Vanessa Dew, who all believed that they could create a commercialized kombucha with real food and using a traditional ancient recipe to ensure each bottle contained the highest amount of probiotics possible. They started off selling their Original Health-Ade flavor at farmers markets and it became a big hit. So much so, that the demand got so high that they decided to expand their company. Now Health-Ade is part of the fastest growing brand category on the drinks market. 

Why is kombucha so popular?

Kombucha is a rising trend, and the market is expected to reach $5.2 billion by 2024. That’s a lot of buch!

Q: What do you think caused the shift from being an underground, farmer’s market type drink to a grocery store staple?
Health-Ade Founders: I believe the drink’s surge in popularity came from the added benefits held within the probiotics which many people found really helped them. The probiotics found within kombucha are meant to help your gut health through healthy bacteria that can help with digestion, inflammation and in some cases weight loss. These potential benefits, its low calorie intake which can be as low as 40 calories per serving, and the fact that it can easily be made at home has helped grow the popularity of kombucha.

Q: A lot of people are still hesitant to try kombucha (especially if they’ve seen a SCOBY before!) What would you say to these people who might be too scared to try it?
Health-Ade Founders: We always like to say that although a SCOBY looks like a little alien spaceship there’s nothing to be afraid of. Just like any other ingredient, it is unique and you really won’t know how you feel about it until you try it. 

Adding a kombucha scoby to a jar of kombucha

How is kombucha made?

All this talk of slimy alien spaceships may have you wondering – how is kombucha made? Home brewers can find our comprehensive guide to homemade kombucha here, but we wanted to find out how the big guys brew it on an industrial scale!

Q: How do you brew your kombucha?
Health-Ade Founders: We brew one case at a time in 2.5 gallon glass vessels and use only the best ingredients from global and local farms to create our Kombucha. We use all glass vessels to ferment the kombucha in order to prevent plastic and metal leaching.

Q: Many beer brewers take pride in the original source of their strains. Where did you find the original kombucha source to start brewing Health-Ade?
Health-Ade Founders: Daina Slekys, one of the creators of Health-Ade Kombucha started making her own kombucha batches roughly 20 years and she made her own scoby. Our first Kombucha batch was created for the Brentwood farmer’s market, the same way we do now by letting our fermentation process take the ideal time needed which is 14-21 days. We still make our kombucha we did then so you can say Daina was our original kombucha source.  

Hi, I’m Sarah!

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