Kombucha is one of the most popular beverages on the market thanks to its proven health benefits and wonderful, refreshing taste. With many options available, knowing the difference between pasteurized and raw kombucha is essential. While these beverages are similar in flavour, they have distinct differences in terms of brewing and health benefits.
What Is Different About Raw Kombucha?
When shopping for kombucha, the label will indicate whether you are purchasing the raw or pasteurized form. Remember the following essential differences between them to make sure you buy a high-quality product.
Raw kombucha refers to the drink made through a traditional brewing process. Its original form contains probiotics that promote gut health and good digestion. By fermenting green tea, natural and healthy bacteria (probiotics) form, which boost the good bacteria in your digestive system upon consumption. The raw form contains only ingredients connected to the typical brewing method.
Pasteurized kombucha, while similar in taste and appearance, is made when a manufacturer kills the naturally occurring bacteria to give the drink a longer shelf life. Probiotics are then added back to the pasteurized drink in an attempt to offer the same benefits as the raw beverage. While the added probiotics do have beneficial properties, they may not have nearly the impact of those found in raw kombucha.
What Are the Benefits of Drinking Raw Kombucha?
Given that they are brewed using differing processes, raw and pasteurized beverages do not offer the same boosts to your digestive health. Here are three reasons why you should choose unpasteurized kombucha.
1. Natural Health Benefits
Raw kombucha contains all of the wonderful components that emerge during the fermentation process without needing to add probiotics or other ingredients. It can deliver a boost to your gut health more effectively than pasteurized kombucha. While the latter contains probiotics, it is ultimately a processed product that contains similar components in a less powerful form.
2. Guaranteed Freshness
Manufacturers create pasteurized drinks to extend their shelf life. While this may increase its longevity, it means you may be buying a beverage that isn't nearly as fresh as the raw kombucha. The nutritional value of the raw form comes from the naturally occurring probiotics that cannot easily be replicated outside the traditional brewing process.
3. No Additives
Aside from added probiotics, pasteurized kombucha can contain additives such as sugars and other ingredients. While such additional components aren't harmful, they may indicate that the product has undergone processing, which can lower the quality and nutritional value. Raw batches contain only natural ingredients essential to the traditional process.
Where Can You Purchase Raw Kombucha?
While it is not hard to find raw, the pasteurized version is widely available and easily mistaken for the raw form. When shopping for a quality product, let the label be your guide. Additionally, consider purchasing instant varieties. They come in powder form that you can use to make your own raw kombucha. Powdered kombucha also has a longer shelf life than a liquid, ensuring fresh batches every time while preserving the value of the raw drink.