Fake Kombucha & How To Spot It

January 22, 2023 - Patrick O'Connor | Founder & Master Booch Brewer

Fake Kombucha & How To Spot It

Are you tired of being duped by fake "kombucha" on store shelves or just have no idea what you need to look out for to make sure you are getting the real deal?

Well, have no fear because Paddy from Pure Booch is here to spill the tea on the truth about what's really in that bottle you're about to buy!

Here are a few tips to help you out:

Ambient Kombucha 

First things first, watch out for ambient kombucha or kombucha stored outside the fridge. If it's being sold as shelf-stable AND raw, it's a red flag that the product has been tampered with. To achieve shelf stable Kombucha, it often has to go through:

Absolute/Sterile Filtration

Here the Kombucha is passed through a filtration process that is 0.45 microns or less, stripping out all living microbes in the kombucha. Next, lab grown cultures like, Bacillus coagulans or a Lactobacillus sp. are typically added in to claim that their kombucha is still 'live cultured'. But, let's be real, a gut microbiome dominated by a few strains of bacteria is not the way to optimal gut health. A topic for another day!


Here Kombucha is heated to around 75 degrees Celsius for a period of time, killing all living microbes in the kombucha. But, this process destroys much more than the microbes. It can have a negative impact on the natural enzymes, vitamins such as Vitamin C, and amino acids, that add to the benefits of authentic kombucha. 

Prolonged Shelf Life

Next, check the shelf life. If it's over 12 months, chances are it's been heavily manipulated and potentially stripped of its beneficial live cultures. But, how can companies make kombucha last longer than this, you may ask? They filter it to oblivion, potentially add finings to clarify it, and even use sulphites and other additives to prolong its shelf life. But, here's the kicker, these products can still be labelled as "raw" even though they've undergone these processes, because it hasn't gone through a heating or pasteurisation step.

Huge Ingredients List

Now, let's talk about the ingredients list. If a kombucha you are considering has a long list of ingredients (over 10 as a quick rule of thumb) and sweeteners, proceed with caution. Authentic kombucha is made with just a few simple ingredients: tea, sugar, and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). If a kombucha has a long list of artificial ingredients, additives you cant pronounce and sweeteners, it's a sign that the kombucha has been processed or manipulated, to try and make it last longer and 'taste better'.

An authentic kombucha that has been brewed the right way, does not need any preservatives, for example. The low pH of the product acts as a natural preservative, keeping the Booch safe and fresh to drink. So, keep an eye out for kombuchas with short and simple ingredient lists, to ensure you're getting the real deal and not being sold gut-wreaking kombucha.


Finally, packaging. Plastic bottles can leach toxins into kombucha, and that's not something you want to be putting into your body. Plus, it's terrible for the environment. So, if you're looking for a truly pure kombucha, make sure it's packaged in glass or cans designed for acidic drinks. And make sure you recycle!

So, don't be fooled by the fake kombucha out there and when in doubt, ask! Reach out to the companies and ask them how they brew their Booch. 

Keep these tips in mind, to help you chose a Booch you can trust, for a truly raw, unmanipulated, and culture-rich kombucha experience. 

Your gut (and the environment) will thank you!

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