Does this fizzy, fermented tipple really live up to its buzz? We digest the facts & speak to No 1 Living founder, Jonny Wilkinson, about how he likes to drink his

Put down that pomegranate juice and forget your go-to green smoothie. Kombucha is the drink having a moment.

This tangy, lightly sparkling and fermented tipple has steadily grown in popularity in recent years, breaking out from the stereotype of home-brewed by hipsters and into a store near you.

But while the acidic taste might have previously been an acquired taste, its refreshing fizz and growing list of flavours are what’s seeing it drip through to the mainstream. Plus, with the Jonny Wilkinson-founded No 1 Living range having launched into Boots stores this summer, it’s now easier than ever to get your kombucha high on the high street.

We ask the experts to help us break down the need-to-knows of this of-the-moment beverage that has roots going back 2,000 years. Plus, we speak to Jonny about how he likes to drink his and the inspiration behind the brand.

What is kombucha?

Kombucha (pronounced “kom-boo-char”) is a fermented drink made from brewing green or black tea, sugar and a culture called a ‘scoby’ (a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) for several weeks.

It’s mildly, naturally carbonated and, while it can be made at home, its rising popularity now means you can pick up a can or bottle of it online or during the morning commute.

What does it taste like?

It’s not your average fizzy drink. “The fermentation process produces acetic acid,” explains registered dietitian and British Dietetic Association media spokesperson, Nichola Ludlam-Raine, hence its distinctive sour taste in its unaltered state.

Black tea varieties have a deeper flavour, while green tea kombucha is more delicate and herbal.

And with its naturally sparkling and light, refreshing and acidic flavour, it pairs particularly well with fruit and root flavours: think ginger, turmeric, raspberry and lemon.

What are the potential benefits of kombucha?

One of the main reasons behind kombucha’s cult following is its appeal as a tasty and healthier alternative to sugary, calorific and alcoholic drinks and juices.

Plus it also contains a bevy of vitamins and minerals. These include vitamins B1, B6, B12 and C, and minerals including zinc, copper, magnesium and iron to help support energy levels, muscle function, healthy skin and the immune system, when drunk as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Is there anyone who should avoid drinking kombucha?

Despite the good-for-you vitamins and minerals, if you’re currently pregnant, it’s probably best to hold off for now. “Kombucha contains trace amounts of alcohol (usually around 0.5% ABV), caffeine (the recommended allowance for which is 200mg a day, when pregnant) and can be unpasteurised,” explains Nichola.

Want to give kombucha a try?

No need to ferment your own, you can get a quick fix of the buzz brew at Boots, thanks to the arrival of the award-winning No 1 Living range to our shelves.

The motivation behind the brand’s creation? “I had a drive to uncover the potential we possess in our physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing, and what we might be capable of when we are truly supporting and working with our bodies and minds,” Jonny tells us, an ethos that inspires each of No 1 Living’s fermented drink options.

The brand’s kombucha fermentation process features three key steps:

1) First, they brew organic green tea with organic sugar cane

2) Then, they add their scoby and ferment for seven to 10 days

3) Finally, they add natural flavours and botanicals, before canning and serving it chilled

With an assortment of flavours to choose from, the brand’s range of raw, unpasteurised, sugar-free and vegan kombucha provides something for a range of tastes. 

Jonny’s favourite flavours? “I love the kick of the ginger in our ginger and turmeric drink, but the raspberry and hibiscus comes into its own in the warmer weather, too.”

Sounds like a refreshing twist on traditional kombucha. Cheers to that.