Probiotic drinks such as kombucha and kefir may seem like a new health trend, but they’ve actually been around for centuries.
Kombucha, a sparkling fermented black tea, was first used in China in 221 BC and was called “the tea of immortality” because of its many health benefits purported to treat everything from high blood pressure to cancer.
Since then, it had spread to Russia, Japan and Eastern Europe. The name kombucha came from Japan in 415 AD and was later dubbed “the elixir of life” when it spread to Europe. Kombucha is made by adding a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) into brewed green or black or green tea with sugar.
Kefir, which tastes a lot like a yoghurt drink, is a water- or milk-based drink fermented from kefir grains. Unlike kombucha, which is tea-based, kefir does not contain caffeine and is a richer source of lactic acid bacteria.
Because these drinks are fermented, they contain plenty of probiotics that are beneficial to our digestive system — and a healthy gut contributes to better digestion and brain function, heart health, a strong immune system, better mood and sleep, and may even help prevent certain cancers and autoimmune diseases. Kombucha and kefir are also great alternatives to milk because they do not contain lactose.
Get on board the probiotic drink trend at these places.
1. Craft & Culture
Established by two friends in 2015, this homegrown brand is now well-known for its range of flavourful kombucha and milk kefir. Kombucha flavours include rose-chia, lychee, strawberry lemonade and more, while its milk kefir come in rose bandung, blueberry, and seasonal flavours such as strawberry and mango.
The founders take months to develop new flavours that contain the optimal amount of sugar that will keep the good bacteria alive and thriving in the drinks.
And if keeping your gut healthy is not enough, Craft & Culture is also starting to venture into skincare products, eschewing artificial ingredients and using natural ones instead. Its kombucha skin balm is made with black tea, organic calendula extract and anti-inflammatory essential oil blend.
At 183 Jalan Pelikat, B1-113, Singapore 537643, tel: 9017 7837. Visit www.craftculturesg.com
2. Fizzicle Kombucha
As one of the first few kombucha brewers in Singapore, Fizzicle is known for kickstarting the trend of fermented drinks here. Its founder, Melissa Mak, started as a home-fermenter and now devotes most of her attention to Fizzicle, a line of junboocha (sister beverage of kombucha) that uses organic raw honey instead of refined sugar.
The drinks come in six flavours, including pink guava and ginger, both of which come with a host of health benefits. Don’t know where to start? Try its bestseller, Number 1, a fruity blend of green and black tea that contains over 10 ingredients.
For those who experience trouble sleeping after consuming caffeine, Fizzicle also offers a non-caffeinated version called Calmboocha, a blend of rose, lavender, blueberries, cinnamon and green rooibos.
Fizzicle can be found in selected stores islandwide, including The Living Cafe, Farmz, Gallery and Co, and Scoop Wholefoods. Or you can shop online here (free delivery for orders above 10 bottles).
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3. Miss Kefir
As a cultured milk drink similar to yoghurt, milk kefir contains more than 35 strains of good bacteria and yeast.
At Miss Kefir, the drinks are produced in small batches to maintain their freshness, as well as the richness of good bacteria. Its milk is sourced from Australia, and are certifiably free of antibiotics and hormones, while its kombucha and water kefir are fermented from organic cane sugar and filtered water.
Flavours for milk kefir include cinnamon, turmeric and acai berries for added goodness. For a lighter option, there’s also goat milk kefir, which is thinner in texture and more easily digested.
If you prefer to eat your kefir, try its kefir parfait with crunchy granola. Or have it as a smoothie. Miss Kefir offers seven flavours, all packed with a variety of ingredients high in fibre and antioxidants, including blueberries, pineapple, spinach and coconut water.
At 308 Telok Kurau Road, 01-06 Vibes@ East Coast, Singapore 423858, tel: 9198 6016. Visit https://order.misskefir.com/en_SG/
With Amanda Tan, founder and seasoned kombucha brewer at the helm, Yocha offers more than a series of healthy teas such as rose petal black tea, roasted brown rice tea and tieguanyin oolong. Its line of kombuchas comes in six flavours, including the soothing Earl Grey and lavender, detoxifying lemongrass and ginger, and refreshing lemon and mint. You can also opt for your drink to be sweetened by honey instead of sugar.
For another not-so-guilty sweet treat, try Yocha’s very own kombucha jelly, which was originally created to appeal to children as a kid-friendly version of kombucha. Made-to-order and sweetened with organic cane sugar, the jelly is made of fresh fruits and chia seeds.
At 238 Thomson Road, 01-07 Velocity, Singapore 307683, tel: 6352 5100. Visit https://getyocha.com/
Previously known as Teabrick, Teapluse is Singapore’s first kombucha tea bar located in a neon-lit shop in Raffles Place. While it first appears to be a regular bubble tea store, a closer look at the menu reveals the healthier brew that it offers. Its kombuchas come in flavours ranging from lemongrass to matcha, hibiscus to bitter orange.
Teabrick also ferments its own “Fermenades”, probiotic lemonades that come in flavours such as blue pea, honey, matcha, hibiscus, and lemongrass, although its bestseller is the lemongrass kombucha tea.
Sweetness levels are customisable, and you can choose to add extra toppings such as earl grey jelly, aloe vera and chia seeds. Drinks are prepared on a daily basis so freshness is guaranteed!
At Royal Group Building, 3 Phillip Street, 01-04, Singapore 048693, tel: 8776 5563. Visit www.facebook.com/teabricksg
6. Little Farms
Australian gourmet grocer Little Farms is where you can find raw, organic health foods such as buckwheat soba and biodynamic yoghurt. Naturally, it would also carry kombucha. There are four different brands to choose from — including Remedy, Bod, Jiva and The Bucha of Byron — all from the Land Down Under. Remedy, touted as Australia’s most-loved kombucha, presents an extensive list of flavours, including cherry plum and raspberry lemonade. Bod Kombucha also has interesting flavours such as apple ginger lime and cherry vanilla oak.
Made of certified organic ingredients such as black tea, green tea and naturally fermented glucose, these kombuchas are definitely a healthier option than that morning frappuccino.
At 491 River Valley Rd, 01-20, Singapore 248371, tel: 6262 0619. Visit https://littlefarms.com/
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Headquartered in Brooklyn, Bushwick is Singapore’s first kombucha brewery that offers handcrafted probiotic beverages, including kombucha and milk kefir, made from locally-sourced, organic ingredients.
The drinks are produced in small batches, and contain a blend of teas hand-harvested from trees that are over 1,000 years old. Flavours include ginger and lemon lavender, and can be bought in individual bottles or a six-pack.
In addition to kombucha and milk kefir, Bushwick also has a collection of other beverages such as turmeric elixir (made of agave, turmeric, honey, ginger, lemon juice, cayenne, cinnamon, spearmint and more) and a probiotic dairy-free cold-brewed bulletproof coffee. If you wish to try your hand at fermenting your own drinks, you can also buy kefir grains and SCOBY, the gelatinous colony of bacteria and yeast, from its website.
Bushwick’s line of beverages, The Mad Alchemyst, can be found in select stores islandwide and online at Honestbee.
At 122 Owen Rd, 01-02, Suites @ Owen, Singapore 218926. Visit https://cha.sg/
8. The Social Space
Situated along Kreta Ayer Road is where you’ll find The Social Space, a cafe and retail shop that aims to push for eco-conscious living and social responsibility with zero packaging and zero waste. The food on its carefully curated menu is made from fairly traded and sustainably-sourced ingredients, and customers are encouraged to bring their own reusable bottles for if they want to refill personal care products and household cleaners, all made from 100 per cent natural ingredients.
On top of that, the cafe offers an extensive range of teas including the Jun Kombucha, which is made with green tea and raw honey for a milder, less sour taste.
At 333 Kreta Ayer Rd, 01-14, Singapore 080333, tel. 6655 0221. Visit www.thesocialspace.co