Martha's Vineyard Kombucha by Kulture Club MV
Island home delivery off season
Home delivery on MV for all customers now available. Contact Nina for your order. Growler exchanges will start when West Tisbury Farmers Market ends.
Mail Order - no kombucha can be shipped at this time, but I may have Tshirts, gift certificates, chocolates, local honey, beeswax candles, insulated totes, stickers, also available to pick up at events.
Follow on Instagram @kultureclubmv for updates on flavors, events, giveaways
Because you’ve got guts!
Our naturally fizzy and delicious kombucha full of probiotic goodness promotes mind and body health and wellness from the inside out, spreads peace on earth, love of neighbor, and unbridled joy, one gut at a time. Join us.
In addition to our regular flavors, we release limited batches of specialty flavors throughout the year in season, using ethically sourced, locally farmed and foraged organic ingredients whenever possible. "Raw" (unflavored) kombucha is available
as well for your own flavor experiments, though many people drink and enjoy it as is.
Kombucha is believed to have originated in China over 2000 years ago, where it has been called the "Immortal Health Elixir." It is made from sweetened tea that has been fermented by a Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY). It is alive, it eats
and grows. The resulting beverage is more tart than sweet, low in sugar and caffeine, and considered non-alcoholic (less than 0.5%, similar to over-ripe fruit), though anyone pregnant, breastfeeding, or sensitive to alcohol or
caffeine should imbibe with caution or avoid. As with all fermented food, consult your health care provider if you have questions. Some people occasionally experience a clean and clear "buzz," which many attribute to the probiotics
strengthening and detoxifying the system. Fermentation is complete when much of the tea and sugar is consumed, resulting in a naturally effervescent, low sugar, tart and acidic beverage teeming with beneficial enzymes, antoxidants,
polyphenols, and probiotics that kombucha drinkers claim aid with digestion and gut health, reduce inflammation, facilitate detoxification, and impart an overall sense of well-being with regular consumption. Complex flavors and
natural carbonation are achieved through a second fermentation infusing fresh and dried fruit and herbs. Kulture Kombucha is all natural, with no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors.
Ask me anything
WHY THE BOTTLE SAYS “Keep Refrigerated, Do Not Shake!”
Kombucha is naturally bubbly, it exhales carbon dioxide just as we do. Chilled kombucha is crisp, tart, lightly sweet, and naturally effervescent, but if you prefer a bolder flavor, a lot of bubbles, and sometimes even a head, let your unopened bottle of kombucha warm to near room temperature and be cautious with opening. Kombucha will also foam up when shaken or poured over ice, similar to soda, so DON'T SHAKE IT!! Gently swirling in settled yeast sediment will increase carbonation, and some people believe increases probiotic content, but doesn’t change the flavor significantly. Due to the fresh fruit infusion and variable temperatures in home refrigerators, Kulture Kombucha should be consumed before or within 2 weeks past the "best by" date for best flavor experience. The naturally occurring acids in kombucha prevent pathogens that spoil food from growing; too far past the "best by" date and raw kombucha may taste more vinegary or more watery (especially if there is a lot of airspace in your bottle) depending on the flavor and rate of fermentation. It may be safe to drink though not recommended as consistent flavor, pH, and non-alcohol status may not be stable in variable temps past date. Some people purposely leave kombucha out of the refrigerator over night if they prefer a more sour, vinegary kombucha, however this practice may lead to explosion in very active brews, so please refrigerate.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF FLOATERS!
It's normal to see floating bits of brownish, beige, clear, or naturally colored SCOBY culture and yeast sediment starting to form in bottled raw kombucha. This is a sign it is alive, and they won't hurt you. If you are concerned about them, use a fine mesh strainer when you pour kombucha from the bottle into a glass. They do not significantly add to the nutritive value or flavor. I don't notice much difference either way, so I drink it down or leave it at the bottom, whatever I feel like doing at the time. I figure the more probiotics the better for my guts. For kombucha drinkers who purchase half gallon growlers, or if you have a bottle kicking around your refrigerator that is less than half full, I’ve found swirling in the yeast helps create more carbonation for the remaining kombucha.
INGREDIENTS, WHAT’S INSIDE
It's tough to measure the exact composition of finished kombucha as the tea and sugar that it is made with is consumed by the probiotics during fermentation and changed to something else - kombucha is essentially the by-product from building the SCOBY. That being said, kombucha is low in sugar and caffeine from tea because these are what feeds the probiotics and is used as building blocks to form the cellulose SCOBY, which is removed before bottling, so final amount is not what went in the beginning. Infused fruit and herbs are listed for each flavor on the flavors and products page and bottle label. That being said, Kulture Kombucha starts with (by weight):
- Cold brewed organic loose leaf tea
- Probiotic culture (SCOBY)
- Fresh fruit (infused)
- Cane sugar
- Herbs, fresh or dried (infused)
Re. Allergies: None of Kulture Kombucha's fresh fruit or dry ingredients contain wheat, peanuts, soy, tree nuts (except coconut when listed on bottle), eggs, dairy, fish, shellfish, or gluten. Some of the dried organic ingredients infused in Kulture Kombucha may have been processed in a facility that also processes some of these allergens (wheat, peanuts, soy, tree nuts, dairy).
Alcohol and Sugar:
Trace amounts of culture, caffeine, and alcohol are present in kombucha, about the same amount of alcohol as in a ripe banana at 0.5% or less. Even though it is a fermented product, it is considered non-alcoholic because the probiotic bacteria consume almost all alcohol fermented by the yeast to create the organic acids. It is safe for most children to drink. Given its raw nature, and as with all fermented food, pregnant and breastfeeding women, or anyone sensitive may want to consult with their healthcare professionals. Most of the cane sugar (sucrose) is consumed by the SCOBY so the mild sweetness is mostly fructose from the fruit. Kombucha contains about a third as much sugar as fruit juice, bottled iced tea, lemonade, or soda (3-4% sugar in kombucha by weight depending on the flavor, compared to 11-16% for juice). Some people experience a clear-headed "high," especially if you’re not used to drinking kombucha. They attribute that to the detoxification qualities, B vitamins, and/or the probiotic effects in your gut.
Be aware of ingredient lists when you purchase kombucha. Some of the big brands produced these days may only have a fraction of the variety of probiotics present in traditionally brewed kombucha, often diluted then flavored with extracts, stevia, and other "natural" and "organic" flavorings which today can even mean high fructose corn syrup! It may be pasteurized and then force-carbonated to be shelf-stable (as in not requiring refrigeration), which kills active probiotics, then other lab-grown probiotics are added that are not naturally occurring in traditional kombucha, and therefore may not be alive by the time you consume. Traditionally “home-brewed” type kombucha has no specific probiotics listed as an ingredient because they are naturally occurring as part of the culture, not added in. Sugar is required for the fermentation process, so any kombucha claiming 0g sugar is not true kombucha. You may still benefit from acids and other ingredients, but for the most varied probiotic profile from kombucha, I generally recommend finding a reputable, local “raw kombucha” craft brewer.
Fruit and herbs:
Kulture Club MV infuses local grown and wild foraged flavors in season, keep an eye out for limited releases that give you a taste of Martha’s Vineyard, such as favorites rosa rugosa, wild blueberries and wineberries, sassafras root, Concord grapes, autumn olive berries, and other specialty ingredients. Fruit and herb infusions are fresh and/or dried, depending on flavor profiles.
In Massachusetts, retail kombucha brewers (such as found in farmer’s markets) must be licensed by their local board of health, and brands like Kulture Club MV that also sell wholesale are further licensed by the state Department of Public Health and registered with the FDA, so the kombucha is produced in a regularly inspected commercial kitchen and is safe to consume. Kulture Kombucha is not certified organic, if so, I would not be able to use some of the wild foraged and home grown fruit and herbs to flavor(since I am not a certified organic farm). That being said, I do use organic gardening practices and manage my beehives with organic controls. The loose leaf teas I use are certified as ethically sourced (socially responsible business practices) and organic. Not to mention as a very small business, getting certified organic is so much paperwork and cost prohibitive!
BENEFICIAL SUBSTANCES IN KOMBUCHA
Kombucha SCOBY naturalizes to its environment, grabbing yeast from the air, from ingredients, from brewers and equipment, so there may be different proportions of probiotics in the composition of different kombucha brews. Also different bacteria activate during the different phases of fermentation, some are more active at the beginning of fermentation when the pH is higher, others activate when there is more acid, others prefer a lot of oxygen during first fermentation, and others activate in an anaerobic environment (bottled and conditioning), so brewing practices may cultivate different levels of bacteria in the finished product. The goal for the most beneficial brew is a wide variety of live probiotics and prebiotics. Some brewers aver that being alive, kombucha reacts differently to the consciousness, energy, and intention of each brewer. There was even a study on how different kinds of music being played as cheese fermented affected taste due to the growth patterns of the bacteria. That being said, most kombucha can contain the following compounds manufactured by the probiotics or inherent in the ingredients:
- Acetic acid (vinegar)
- Gluconic, amino, lactic, and other organic acids
- B and C vitamins
- Soluble fiber
- Other nutrients, prebiotics, vitamins, and beneficial compounds from tea and infused fruit and herbs
- Probiotics: Kombucha Brewers International and Oregon State University sequenced the DNA from kombucha manufacturers around the world,
and found that on average, the most common yeasts were Brettanomyces/Dekkera and Starmerella, while the most common bacteria were Gluconacetobacter, Gluconobacter, and Lactobacillus.
ARE THERE HEALTH BENEFITS?
Kulture Kombucha makes no health benefit claims per FDA guidelines and makes no recommendations on amount to consume. However many kombucha drinkers in general attribute positive effects to their kombucha consumption. There is a lot of information online, please check sources to make sure it is reputable. I doubt that kombucha will cure cancer (yes, I’ve heard that claim), but many people have reported wonderful things happening that they believe started with drinking kombucha. Please contact me to learn more, or see our links page for articles I've found interesting and informative. I love talking about kombucha.
Some fruit and herbs have been studied and proven to have positive effects, such as hibiscus for lowering blood pressure, ginger as anti-nausea, turmeric as anti-inflammatory, elderberry as anti-viral, lavender as a mood stabilizer, etc. Kombucha's organic acids with live probiotics can make nutrients in fruit and herbs more bioavailable. Again please check with your healthcare professional if you have concerns.
I've just added a link to a study from Nov 2022 about micronutrients made bioavailable by the kombucha fermentation process at the bottom of the links page, published on the NIH website.
WHY IS LOCAL KOMBUCHA MORE EXPENSIVE THAN BIG BRANDS?
Small batch brewing with fresh ingredients is both more labor-intensive and costly than big batch continuous brews flavored with pre-made concentrates, juices, and purées. Kulture kombucha is brewed exclusively in glass vessels just like you would at home. Everything is done by hand, from sanitizing and labeling bottles, measuring and brewing tea into kombucha, hand selecting and processing fruit and herbs (sometimes hand-picking!), keeping it fresh and waiting for ideal ripeness. It’s a juggling act, but worth it to bring delicious, healthy kombucha to my community. I try to keep retail price in line with other craft kombuchas “off island,” even though I have the additional cost of shipping everything over on the ferry, because I feel like our community would benefit from this kind of wellness, and that community includes people like me who would balk at buying an $8-9/bottle. Most retailers on-island sell Kulture kombucha for $6-7/bottle, similar to prices I’ve paid in NY, FL, NOLA, IL, MA, and seen advertised in many other states as well via IG. If a cheaper, big brand kombucha is more in line with your budget, I often recommend Brew Dr, and I like some flavors of Health-Ade, though often it’s too sweet for me so I let it ferment a few more days at room temp before drinking. I do give a discount for a case of 12 bottles. Refilling growlers is the most economical and eco-conscious way of consuming local kombucha (growler exchange available on island via home delivery, hoping to expand this option post-pandemic!).