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GO! KOMBUCHA BLOG

We’re passionate about the benefits of kombucha, so we’ve started this blog to share ideas, thoughts, articles, recipes and much more! 

Skin should be kept mildly acidic to stay healthy and strong – between 4.2-5.6 on the pH scale – and rich in naturally moisturising good bacteria which nourish the body from the inside (gut) out (to the skin's surface), keeping the complexion radiant and glowing.

Diets heavy in refined carbs, sugar and junk food deplete the gut - and therefore the skin - of vitality-enhancing live bacteria and digestive enzymes. But nothing sullens and ages the skin as rapidly as smoking, or strips the skin of natural oils so ruthlessly and efficiently as alcohol. Consequently, half the population has malnourished/"sick" alkaline/dry skin.

The benefits of ingesting raw - especially fermented - foods is well documented, and the same principle applies to what we put on our skin. Yet most high street soaps, cleansers and cosmetics are synthetic and abrasively strip healthy surface bacteria away leaving the skin, particularly the face, drier, more brittle and susceptible to sun damage and wrinkles.

On average women apply more than 200 chemicals – including formaldehyde, phthalates, lead, mercury parabens and ethanolamines - to their skin and hair daily, and over the past decade men too have been following increasingly intensive, chemical-laden grooming trends spawning a multi-billion worldwide men’s grooming industry.

Chemical-laden skincare products

Among the worst of these chemicals is found in everyday soaps, shower gels, shampoos, even dental products. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and its close relatives sodium laureth sulfate and ammonium laurel sulfate are cheaply derived chemicals found in many personal care products, including those described on the label as “natural” or “organic”.

Known as surfacants, these detergents break down the skin's surface tension to separate dirt and grease molecules, in the process creating a lather that washes the accumulated dirt away. Essentially, if it foams it's likely to contain a sulfate. So effective is their application that sulfates are used in industrial cleaning products, including engine degreasers!

Hence how and why surfacants also strip the skin of bacterial oils, leaving it dry and alkaline. New research into how our skin’s ‘microbiome’ works supports findings that even <0.5% may result in skin irritation and corrosion, that residual levels collect in the brain, lungs, liver and heart, and may also cause hormonal imbalance and lower male fertility.

The International Journal of Toxicology recommends levels of sulfates no more than 1% in products with prolonged use - some cleaning products have levels as high as 30% - but the message is clear: as a vital organ skin needs to be routinely nourished and replenished, so take care with what you apply to it and radiant, clear, healthy skin will always result.

Look no further than your kitchen

Oil-based, detergent-free cream cleansers are best, yet among the most effective ingredients can be found in your own kitchen. The internet contains numerous tips and recipes for cleansing the skin naturally using everything from bananas and olive oil to lemon juice and raw eggs - and kombucha! This simple recipe makes a natural, cost-effective face mask:

Half a ripened avocado (rich in vitamin E);

3 or more tbsp of GO! Kombucha (high in lactic acid bacteria plus polyphenols in the tea);

1 tbsp of raw, free-flowing honey (antioxidants galore).

Mash ingredients together to form a smooth paste. Apply a warm to hot water-soaked flannel to face and leave for a few seconds to open pores. Remove and immediately apply paste evenly from forehead down to the neck avoiding eye area. Relax for 10-15 minutes then rinse away. For a super-moistuirising boost add a teaspoon of virgin coconut oil!

See Kombucha tea – beauty on the inside and out! below for commercial beauty products that use kombucha.

Ten years ago the first episode of a new BBC2 series, The Truth About Food, cast a sceptical eye over the purported benefits of probiotics in our food.

In the intervening 10 years the issue of probiotics has featured sporadically on British television, each time receiving a cynical rap. Until now, that is. The second series of BBC2's Trust Me, I’m A Doctor began on 1st February, finally lifting the veil on the now irrefutable benefits of probiotics - and why they received such a poor press previously.

Historically, the media focus on probiotics was largely based around big brand yogurt drinks. Over the years their big name manufacturers heavily emphasizied the high concentrations of gut-healthy probiotic bacteria they contain, spurring six in ten households to buy such products regularly and spawning a billion-dollar industry.

EU health food claims directive

Claims of their products’ purported positive effect on gut health remained scientifically unsubstantiated, however, spurring the EU to launch a Europe-wide directive in December 2012 forbidding food manufacturers making declarations about their products not backed up by scientific evidence, leading to such claims on packaging being outlawed overnight.

In 2014, independent laboratory tests on popular probiotic yogurt drinks concluded they have little or no benefit due to most of their good - mostly lactobacillus - bacteria not surviving the journey through the harshly acidic digestive tract, while those that do make it through don't last for long once they reach the gut.

By contrast Dr Paul Cotter, Head of Food Biosciences at Teagasc in Cork (above with Trust Me presenter Dr Michael Mosley), concluded from an experiment with volunteers that if the bacteria are fermented in an acidic base, like in kombucha, then most of the good bacteria do bypass the digestive tract to reach the gut intact conferring a net benefit.

As good as home made

Furthermore, lab tests were run to determine if commercial ferments contained as much live goodness as their home-made counterparts. Surprisingly, shop bought pickled kimchi and sauerkraut were found to contain no live acids or enzymes possibly as a consequence, Cotter surmised, of their being pasteurized prior to distribution.

By contrast, commercial kefir brands were found to contain almost as much good lactobacillus bacteria as home made, while there was virtually no discernible difference between the vast amounts of lactobacillus bacteria found in off the shelf kombucha compared with home made.

As more fruit-infused kombucha brands Stateside switch to pasteurization and artificial carbonation due to to the destabalisation that can occur when adding fructose prior to bottling, GO! Kombucha will continue using only the finest teas and nothing else, ensuring fermented tea that is 100% raw and authentic as home made.


 

For some years now, in-the-know top cosmetic companies such as Chanel and Estee Lauder have been using kombucha in their skin renewal formulas.

A 2012 L’Oreal Research & Innovation Study found that kombucha extract was "beneficial to the skin, helping to maintain moisture and elasticity so it appears more even in tone and texture."

As anyone who uses GO! Kombucha’s vinegar (available from our online shop) will know it makes a great toner (tip: soak in a flannel and place over your face covering the forehead down to nostril level and leave for 20 minutes as the acids slough off dead skin cells to reveal radiant new skin beneath).

In America kombucha-related skin renewal formulas are gaining momentum, so much so that The Huffington Post recently recommend their seven favorite beauty products using the fermented tea:

1 Marie Veronique Organics Treatment Serum $90, MVOrganics.com  Blended with vitamin B5, niacinamide, argan oil and kombucha extract, this facial serum helps to reduce acne breakouts and control oil buildup.

2 Murad Pore & Line Minimizing Hydrator $50, Sephora.com  I was already a huge fan of this lightweight moisturizer before taking a closer look at its ingredients label. It leaves your irritated skin calm and virtually poreless.

3 Avalon Organics Lavender Luminosity Revitalizing Eye Gel $20, Walgreens.com  You can rest assured dabbing this gel onto your puffy and dark under-eyes knowing that it's free of parabens, synthetic colours and fragrances. Instead, you'll get a soothing mix, including aloe vera and lavender.

4 Philip B Chai Latte Soul & Body Wash $35, Neimanmarcus.com  This body wash smells almost good enough to eat thanks to exfoliating, toning and hydrating ingredients like honey, ginger, black tea and milk proteins.

5 EmerginC Kombucha Cleanser $34, Dermstore.com  This face wash is gentle yet effective enough to wash away a day's worth of dirt and grime, leaving behind a more luminous glow.

6 Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask $88, Sephora.com Our complexions can all use a boost after enduring winter, and this black tea, lychee seed extract and jicima root juice blended mask helps to soften rough skin and stimulate natural collagen.

7 Juara Sweet Black Tea & Rice Facial Moisturizer $49, Juaraskincare.com  Here's another anti-aging option in the form of a kombucha moisturizer that's safe to use on normal to dry skin, as well as mix with your foundation.

Top 7 beauty products © The Huffington Post

Being a small business that has grown organically (literally!) by building up a retail base in Greater London and Brighton, we’re finally setting our sights firmly on the north!

Aided in no small part by the hospitality extended to us by fantastic chains like Whole Foods, Planet Organic, As Nature Intended and Panacea and wonderful independents and co-operatives such as Alara and Infinity, GO! Kombucha now has a ubiquitous presence in the southern health food store and raw foodie scenes.

However, if you live in one of the major northern cities such as Manchester, Leeds or Liverpool, there is a good chance you'll soon be seeing GO! Kombucha stocked more prominently in independent health food stores there before long as we look to broaden our horizons.

We’re also keen for our authentic kombucha tea to have a presence in the smaller towns and larger villages surrounding these sprawling metropolises, so feel free to drop us a line (at info@gokombucha.co.uk) if your area is starved of real kombucha tea and you would like us to present GO! Kombucha to your local independent!

Next Sunday at 9pm sees the pilot episode of a new documentary-style police series on Channel 4, Babylon, written by Peep Show duo Sam Baine and Jesse Armstrong – with a guest appearance by GO! Kombucha!

Created and directed by Olympics Ceremony/Slumdog Millionaire/Trainspotting maestro Danny Boyle - who is also executive producing this highly anticipated pilot and subsequent 6 episode series - Babylon takes a wry look at the people and politics in the command rooms and on the frontlines of a modern London police force.

"We look at different levels of the police from guys on the street to the top brass. It's a comedy-drama, it's got jokes and people involved in dangerous situations, which is a new one for us," Bain told Radio Times.

"[Producer] Robert Jones and Danny had wanted to do something about the police, especially about all the Police Camera Action kind of cops, real life filming of police shows and the way they look on TV," added Armstrong, "so we have a documentary crew within our show."

The eclectic cast is helmed by US actress Brit Marling (Another Earth, Sound of my Voice, Community), above, with co-stars James Nesbitt, Paterson Joseph, Jill Halfpenny, Adam Deacon, Daniel Kaluuya, Jonny Sweet, Andrew Brooke and Bertie Carvel.

Marling plays American visionary and fitness fanatic Liz Garvey from the world of new media who is parachuted in from the US to revolutionise the force's PR department. Her first move on arriving to the UK, naturally, is to dispatch her PA to track down some kombucha tea. So look out for glimpses of GO! Kombucha, Garvey's preferred brand, on her desk and elsewhere in next Sunday's episode.

Millions are expected to tune in to Oscar-winning Boyle's return to TV after a 12 year absence, and who knows? He may even be about to inadvertently trail blaze the next big UK health drink craze into the bargain!

Producing GO! Kombucha tea on a large scale is fraught with potential hazards and pitfalls, which years of learning and fine-tuning before launching the brand enabled us to master and overcome.

Unlike making kombucha tea at home where it is a simple question of sampling the brew on a day to day basis and bottling when it tastes just about right, producing large volumes requires a good deal of expertise, not least a clear perspective of the precise point at which to bottle.

As a perfect alignment of planets with the sun and the moon is said by seers and mystics to herald a positive shift in universal consciousness, so fermented tea requires the perfect alignment of several key factors to ensure it is bottled at optimum taste and strength much like beers, wines and spirits.

In addition to ensuring the sugar is at or below 5 per cent at the point of bottling (this level will quickly diminish to around 4 per cent once the secondary fermentation kicks in inside the sealed bottle) while alcohol is less than 0.5%, the other key factor is the level of acidity, as determined by the pH acid/alkaline value. The western diet, which veers towards meat, dairy products, processed and junk foods, is considered to be overly acidic.

By contrast, like lemons and other acidic-tasting foods mostly comprising fruits and vegetables, fermented kombucha tea is alkalizing in the body and typically falls between 2.5 to 3.6 on the pH scale. If less than 2.5 then the brew is too acidic; if more than 4.6 it becomes prone to contamination by molds and other airborne microbes as the diminishing live acids in turn weaken the tea’s inbuilt antiseptic properties.

It takes years of experimenting, learning and fine-tuning to ensure all these factors align and harmonise at the optimum point in readiness for bottling, and when you buy a bottle of GO! Kombucha you can rest assurred that you are also buying into that expertise.

Everyone enjoys a tipple at Christmas, so you might think now wouldn't be the time to consider cutting back on your regular alcohol intake (unless you're driving to parties, of course).

GO! Kombucha is receiving tremendous feedback from customers delighted to have found a genuine and healthier alternative to wine, cider, beer and even champagne; a drink that has a similar kick and mouth appeal but without the many downsides that go hand in hand with regular alcohol consumption.

As well as the dreaded morning-after comedown (note: GO! Kombucha is the perfect restoratitive hangover tonic!) are the unpleasant, more permanent side effects that can arise from regular and over-consumption of alcohol; damage to the heart and pancreas, pressure on the liver, impaired brain and immune functioning, the dehydrating and ageing effect on the skin, and so the list goes on.

Real kombucha tea is not only the perfect alternative to alcohol because it satisfies the mildest desire to the most driven cravings (no small reason why it is often used in sobriety programs), it also works to eliminate the side effects caused by regular alcohol consumption.

holy grail of drinks!

Sean Murphy, a lawyer from South London, tells us how he used to unwind after work with a glass or two of wine, until he discovered GO! Kombucha. “I have a very high-pressured job in the City and used to enjoy wine in the evening simply to de-stress and relax,” he explains. “Then I was introduced to GO! Kombucha and instantly found that drinking just one glass was a wonderful alternative that helped me chill out. It was like discovering The Holy Grail of drinks!”

Vivienne Beckett from Liverpool emailed us: “As a lover of tea and as someone who often turns to a bottle of wine of a week night - and tired of feeling slightly hungover the next morning! - I was given a bottle of GO! Kombucha to try and was astonished how satisfying just a glassful or two is compared to real alcohol. The taste is sharp and its extremely fizzy, light body mimics champagne and other alcoholic drinks.

“The tea simply evaporates on your tongue,” Vivienne enthuses, “ and is extremely effective at quenching your desire or craving for wine. You literally have to remind yourself that it’s non-alcoholic. Brilliant!”

Even if you still have absolutely no intention of curbing your alcohol intake this Christmas by replacing the wine bottle with a bottle of GO! Kombucha, then at least resolve to make GO! Kombucha a key player in your post-New Year detox regimen!

Brewing Kombucha tea; life responding to life

Thursday, 14 November 2013 11:36

Anyone who has ever tried making kombucha tea at home will know that the brewing process can be a very hit and miss affair.

Some attribute this to the temperamental nature of the live culture, yet at the end of the day it is only responding to the conditions in which it is being placed. If you have a busy lifestyle and try to rush the process and leave your brew to ferment in isolation for days on end, then chances are your kombucha culture won’t respond by providing you with a perfect brew every time.

life-force

Green-fingered people know that plants respond and flourish to loving care and attention because vegetation – like anything else that grows - is imbued with a life-force, and the kombucha culture is no different. Like human beings, if lavished with care and love the brew will tend to produce good results every time, but if neglected or rushed the brew will likely turn against you.

We’re often asked how is it possible to produce large volumes of top quality kombucha tea at a time, bearing the above in mind? Well, we (just!) stop short of piping Buddhist chants non-stop to our brewing vessels but work with individual batches at a time and, critically, by hand with no industrial processes or large-scale industrial equipment whatsoever.

This simple process enables us to develop a symbiotic relationship with the culture and nurture it to its fullest potential, in turn providing you the finest and most alive kombucha tea possible!

Recycling and environmental factors aside, for years soft drink manufacturers have pushed plastic over glass.

They have steadfastly maintained that the type of food-grade plastic bottles they use - polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – are safe to drink from due to the absence of the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol-A (BPA).

But a new German study has found that thousands of other potentially harmful chemicals are still leeching from plastic products into food and beverages, including an endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC) known as di(2-ethylhexyl) fumarate, or DEHF; a plasticizer chemical that is used to make plastic bottles - including PET bottles - more flexible.

anti-estrogenic

DEHF was clearly identified in the tested water as the most consistent and obvious culprit causing anti-estrogenic activity. Despite trace amounts of more than 24,000 other potentially damaging chemicals, DEHF stood out as the only possible EDC capable of inducing this particular observed activity.

The study found that 13 of the 18 bottled water products tested exhibited "significant" anti-estrogenic activity, while 16 of the 18 samples were found to inhibit the body's androgen receptors by an astounding 90 percent. Additionally, the other 24,520 chemical traces besides DEHF were also identified as exhibiting antagonistic activity, which means that they, too, are detrimental to the body's hormonal system.

Whether or not the risk of drinking water from plastic bottles is hazardous to health or not remains to be conclusively proven. However, considering kombucha tea’s high acidity and stringency we would caution against storing any strength of kombucha tea in - or drinking from - plastic bottles, PET or otherwise.

Kombucha tea: a positive use for sugar

Saturday, 26 October 2013 08:08

We're often asked how can kombucha tea be healthy when sugar is listed as a main ingredient?

Sugar is listed as the second ingredient after water, much like most high-calorie colas and sodas. However, GO! Kombucha – unlike other commercial kombucha tea brands who add flavourings and additional sugars prior to bottling - contains just four ingredients; the absolute basics for making fermented tea.

Of the other two, tea leaves and the kombucha culture can't technically be measured by their volume alongside the water and sugar as their role is to activate processes - of tea-making and fermentation respectively - with both physical ingredients being removed after each process is complete; hence why labeling laws require such ingredients to always be listed last.

food source

Sugar can't be all bad because without it there would be no kombucha tea, at least not as we know it, and sugar is after all a feature in over one third of all tea preparations in the UK. Refined or semi-refined sugar is the only food source that the yeasts can digest easily and quickly and convert into the aundance of acids and enzymes that give komucha tea its zingy bite and strength - while maintaining just enough in the end brew to appease the sweet toothed.

Critically, around half the sugar originally added is broken down in this way, leaving around just 5g of sugar per 100ml as compared to artificially carbonated sodas that can contain up to three times that amount. And even when bottled the sugar continues to be digested in a process known as secondary fermentation, or bottle conditioning; the older the bottle, the likelihood is that the sugar is closer to 4g/100ml - or even less!

Furthermore, kombucha tea is alkalizing in the body whereas sugar-laden products tend to be acid-forming, and despite the bad rap sugar gets it is high-fructose corn syrup - which saturates the US food industry - that is the leading cause of America's' obesity epidemic. A 2010 Princeton University study found that rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained substantially more weight than those consuming an identical caloric intake of table sugar.

21 calories per 125ml

Where kombucha tea is concerned, what's important to note are the number of calories per 100ml. A 250ml bottle of GO! Kombucha contains less than 50 calories in total, or <21 calories per 125ml, making it one of the lowest-calorie on-the-go drinks availalble that has not been artificially sweetened.

Of course some will choose to demonize and avoid sugar entirely come what may, including kombucha tea despite its overwhelming plethora of good stuff. Yet drinking unsweetened kombucha tea regularly - that is, well-fermented tea with no additional fruit sugars or syrups added prior to bottling – can recalibrate our taste buds to crave sweet foods less - and even reject them altogether!

GO! Kombucha is currently being used as the base for a signature cocktail at London’s famous Langham Hotel.

‘Kombucha & Sloe’ - combining 125ml of GO! Kombucha China White with Hayman’s Sloe Gin, agave and citrus - is being served in the prestigious hotel's Palm Court restaurant as part of the Hayman’s Gin Palace tasting menu every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night till the end of November.

The cocktail has been inspired by one of the world’s most sought after “mixologists”, Alex Kratena (pictured), who created the recipe specifically around GO! Kombucha, which he regards as the best kombucha tea brand on the market.

multi-award-winning artesian cocktail bar

Alex has worked in various establishments around the globe on different continents from New York to Tokyo, including cyber trance clubs, Michelin star restaurants and 5-star deluxe hotels. He also develops new cocktails, products and marketing strategies for some of the most recognized brands in the industry, winning many awards along the way as he strives to be constantly inventive trying out different methods and unusual flavours to enhance and hone his cocktail-making skills.

Alex is currently developing a new recipe around GO! Kombucha China White which he will present at next month’s Athens Bar Show, the annual exhibition for bartenders and cocktail aficionados. Eventually it is hoped the recipe will appear on the menu of The Langham’s multi-award-winning Artesian cocktail bar, which only recently was voted “The World’s Best Bar” by Drinks International Magazine.

Grab-and-Go! Kombucha

Thursday, 12 September 2013 14:32

We've been producing authentic hand-crafted kombucha tea for a little over ten years.

While GO! Kombucha has undergone several name changes in its evolution - Boathouse Kombucha and Gaia's Organic Kombucha to name two - one constant is the 750ml bottle size, intended for customers to take home and drink at leisure (we recommend new customers to enjoy just 125ml a day for 6 days to allow the body to adapt to kombucha tea's revitalizing properties; therefore a 750ml bottle serves as an introductory course. Thereafter to drink up to three glasses spread throughout the day).

not your conventional soft drink!

But what became increasingly evident from in store samplings across London was that many people were wanting to enjoy GO! Kombucha on the move. Inevitably requests for smaller size “grab-and-go” bottles became routine, and growing awareness of kombucha tea in the UK and the constant fine-tuning of GO! Kombucha itself enabled us, finally, to expand and branch out into the on-the-go market earlier this year

Our new 250ml bottles continue the 125ml serving trend - ideal for drinking throughout the day - for example half a bottle in the morning and half in the afternoon - as opposed to all in one go as with conventional grab-and-go drinks. We are delighted that customers have responded so positively to our elegant new GO! Kombucha flavours launched in May - China White and Golden Yunnan, each selected for their sophisticated and contrasting flavours - and with the speed at which kombucha tea is now “mainstreaming” in the UK!

Drink of the raw foodies

Thursday, 12 September 2013 14:29

The more health conscious among us recognize how raw – uncooked and unprocessed – foods make us feel vibrant, energized and full of life.

That’s because such foods are replete with life itself; that is, live nutrients and enzymes naturally found in whole foods that have not been industrialized and stripped of their radiant and revitalizing properties; as opposed to heavily-processed foods which have had such micronutrients zapped and cooked out of them.

It was Hippocrates who said “Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food,” and in an age when people are waking up in their millions and realizing you really are what you eat it remains a reassuring fact that kombucha tea is well-regarded by raw foodie communities everywhere as the raw drink of choice!

The kombucha culture is a gelatinous, continuously reproducing symbiotic colony of beneficial bacteria and yeasts.

Consumption of kombucha tea dates back to the Ancient Chinese Dynasties of 221B.C. where its revitalising properties were infused with tea and enjoyed by emperors and warriors alike. Zen Masters regarded Kombucha as a valuable source of ‘chi’ - life energy which aligns and harmonises the body and mind with the soul.

Over the centuries as trade routes expanded, the kombucha tea recipe travelled west into Russia, Europe and America where, today, it is the drink of choice for everyone from "raw foodies" on the East Coast to the Hollywood "jet set" on the West.

GO! Kombucha enables you to experience the natural wonder of deliciously potent, authentic, real Kombucha tea just as it's been enjoyed for millennia.