Spilling the Tea on Kombucha
Name a beverage that's tart, slightly sweet, and bubbly all at once. Need a few more hints? It can taste fruity, spicy, floral, or even herbaceous. One thousand points if you guessed kombucha! And even though kombucha has been around since about 220 BC, it's just now taking the beverage industry by storm. This fermented beverage touts multiple health claims, and with its global market size already at billions, companies are jumping to invest in new product development to meet the increasing demand.
While you can find kombucha gracing shelves at your typical grocery store, flagship brands aren’t the only ones interested in this trendy beverage.
Take Clemson University for example. Dr. Andrew Hurley, Associate Professor of Packaging Science, started a creative inquiry class called Tiger Tea. The class focused on data-driven product development for kombucha. Naturally attractive to thirsty college students, the course quickly filled to max capacity. During the semester-long journey, students developed beverage formulations, designed labels, conducted human subject research, and analyzed data to iteratively improve their kombucha.
One student said of her experience in the class, “It’s been very valuable to me to learn the process of developing a product and the steps needed to get that product approved for sale. As a packaging science major, I loved having an opportunity to design a label and seeing it professionally printed.” Other students took the concept one step further, learning how to apply printer ink directly to the bottle for a beautiful go-to-market design. Tiger Tea went on to win a pitch contest for Clemson’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences "Cultivate" program.
Along with college students, homebrewers are diving into the kombucha-making scene. A quick online search can provide the info you need to make your own batch—procure a scoby, add it to a mixture of sugar and black or green tea, let it sit and ferment for a week or more, and then bottle the beverage. But what if these do-it-yourselfers are looking to turn a little hobby into something more? What if they want to get their deliciously fermented drink on the market? Is there an educational resource that can give them an inside look at the beverage industry?
We all know how hard it is to go back to school while trying to balance family, life, and a career. So, the International Society of Beverage Technologists (ISBT) created the Beverage Institute by ISBT® in partnership with The Packaging School to provide resources that make that task a bit easier.
The Fundamentals of Beverage Technology course is ideal for those starting their kombucha journey from scratch, covering a wide range of topics such as product research and development, beverage ingredients, beverage processing, beverage packaging, finished goods distribution, and food safety.
And to support that juggling act—it’s all online! You choose the learning environment that works best for your needs: maybe it’s the office, the café across the street, your local gym, or kitchen—listening to a lesson on water treatment while bottling your latest batch of ginger, Persian lime kombucha. Ahhh-mazing.
Are you thirsty for beverage industry insight? There’s a fountain of knowledge waiting for you at https://learn.packagingschool.com/courses/ISBT-fundamentals-of-beverage-technology. And for a live experience, the President of Kombucha Brewers International is speaking at BevTech April 21, 2020—something you don’t want to miss!