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Wildbrews Kombucha by Wildbiyoo: Brewing the Way to Sustainability

Updated: Mar 24

Don’t let the dubious-looking mushroom put you off: Kombucha is a blessing in disguise, one that guards a treasure far greater than its odd-looking SCOBY lets on.

"Kombu-what ? " "KOMBU-CHA !"

We’ve chosen kombucha as Wildiyoo’s beverage of choice, but it’s not only because our team is wildly into the sweet-and-tangy fermented tea. Admittedly, we won’t say no to a few glasses of cold kombucha to power our inspired work sessions, but kombucha has much more to offer than its lip-smacking fizz and quenching kick.

If Goa hasn’t seen as much of a hype around kombucha as in other parts of the world, it has nevertheless become common knowledge that fermentation in any shape or form — especially when it’s as delicious as kombucha — offers a host of health benefits and nutritional perks.

Wildbrew's latest Ginger Fizz Kombucha, the thirst-quencher you need on a hot and sweaty day

Fermentation is Life

Gut and heart health, immune system support, cancer risk reduction, diabetes management and overall detoxing… the list goes on. Marketing probably has a lot to do with how legendary kombucha has become in the health industry, but the reality remains that kombucha is fermented, and fermentation itself is a fascinating chemical process.

Long used as a way to preserve foods before the arrival of fridges, fermentation is much more than a grandma’s trick to living offgrid: the process of transforming sugars and starches into alcohols and acids gives life to an army of beneficial bacteria that support our digestive and immune systems as well as keep our vegetables fresh long after their due date.

These bacteria are known as “probiotics”, the famous colonies of healthy bacteria that help our intestines fight ‘bad’ bacteria, absorb nutrients, respond to threats and improve the overall strength of our immune systems. 

With ever more research demonstrating the link between gut health and chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes and obesity, it’s not surprising that kombucha has witnessed a skyrocketing popularity in the past couple years.

For those inclined to dive head-first into a bath-full of kombucha, remember that moderation is key in all things good! Kombucha is a medicine: if you can help yourself, stick to a glass or two or you’ll find out for yourself how powerful of a detox it is ;)

Sipping the Elixir of the Elders

If the exact origins of kombucha remain obscure, the word’s etymology points to the East. A compound of “kombu” (edible kelp or seaweed) and “cha” (tea), it seems like the term was coined in the remote provinces of Japan or China to describe the satisfying brew made from fermenting sweet tea with a form of algae, or perhaps an algae-like culture of bacteria and yeast! It’s possible that kombucha then travelled west through the tundra of Siberia into Russia and Eastern Europe, where it may have become the drink we know as “kvass”. 

No one can tell how old kombucha brewing is, but it’s evidently a practice that has been handed down for thousands of generations since Ancient times. One legend even claims a great Mongol king once survived a fatal sickness thanks to kombucha prescribed to him by a modest peasant woman! 

Taking a Stand for Slow Food & Symbiotic Living

Kombucha is a superdrink, but it’s also much more than that: it’s a doorway into reconnecting with food as a sacred, albeit fragile, source of life. 

We live in an era of 5G and 10-minute lunch breaks, if any at all. City life is a deafening droll of alarm clocks, ringing phones and howling timers: everything is fast. With time becoming the world’s most precious commodity, our lives have become a breathless race against the clock. And what becomes of the bastions of life itself: water, sleep, food? In many places, contaminated, commodified and reduced to a threadbare minimum, just enough to ensure that we’ve extracted as much as possible in the minimal amount of time. 

This is the reality of a world living in the era of infinite, disposable resources. 

If you’re thinking: “what does kombucha have to do with this?”, bear with me. It may seem far-fetched to a novice discovering kombu-what?, but for a mother of kombucha infected with the fermentation craze, the message is perhaps less cryptic.

Sweet tea undergoing the magic of symbiotic fermentation. Thank you SCOBY's!!

Brewing kombucha is akin to any form of meditation or spiritual practice, the principal ingredient being care and attention. In our fiber-optic world, carving out the time to mindfully dedicate oneself to anything is somewhat of a challenge. Spending enough time and sparing enough patience to actually delve into the depths of any practice, particularly involving another living being or organism, is perhaps an exploit, or feels something like it. 

And that’s exactly the point.

Give and take: it's more than just a saying

It’s not so much about the health benefits or the trendiness that makes kombucha so special. It could have been sauerkraut or cheese (we won’t say no to some of that, too).

No, it’s the journey within that comes with brewing kombucha that makes it so exceptional: hours and hours of carefully selecting ingredients, steeping steaming tea, melting jaggery, cleaning yeasty SCOBYs, tasting and tweaking and reflecting beyond oneself to find out what went wrong and what does this living organism need to thrive? 

Beyond the hype and the hashtags, kombucha is an opportunity to take a stance against a world with “no time”, “no care”, “no community" and no understanding of what it takes to support an entire ecosystem of living beings. It’s a moment to halt time and reflect on the importance of giving in a world of thoughtless taking and blind, ruthless extraction.

Perhaps it’s the mad scientist genes taking over, but I see kombucha brewing as much more than a simple hobby. The incredible symbiosis between yeast and bacteria that plays out in the fascinating chemical conversion of sweet tea into kombucha is, to me, a metaphor of things far greater.

Slow food, de-growth, circular economies, regenerative practices: the dynamics of tomorrow will be made of the same symbiosis that unreels in brewing, transforming waste into resource; turning competitors into allies; paving a way forth that yields less quantity but greater quality, at a lesser scale, with more care, attention and time to heed the deeper meaning of our choices, the implications of our actions.

Wildbrews for Wildbiyoo

So now you know we’re passionate about our kombucha. 

We also happen to be passionate about all things wild, from native species of trees to protecting wildlife and preserving ancient cultures that are literate and proactive about the delicate balance of natural ecosystems. Those who know how much giving it takes to deserve what we get back.

Wildbiyoo Artist Residencies and Eco-Festival is a whole-hearted attempt to involve culture in the crucial debate our societies need to engage in about the future of the Planet. It’s also a multidisciplinary endeavour aimed at building a scalable, replicable model for zero-waste initiatives tackling issues of climate justice, conservation and community resilience throughout Goa and beyond. 

Wildbrews, our Wildbiyoo kombucha, is an easy and delicious way to spread the word about our work and the work of many inspiring men and women fighting for the protection of Wild Spaces throughout India and worldwide.

When you buy a bottle of our Wildbrews, when you sip our kombucha, when you buy a ticket for Wildbiyoo Festival at one of our kombucha booths, you are helping us to Sow the Seeds of Change. Your contribution brings us one step closer to a world ruled not by competition and commodification at the cost of life itself, but to a world cultivated thanks to the fertile collaborations of living species working across disciplines, cultures and borders entrenched by constructed notions of politics, creed and identity.

Let kombucha brew the path to a more symbiotic tomorrow.

Written by Maud Koenig O'Carroll


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