REAL Kombucha are only a few years old, but already they’ve turned the heads of many influential figures in the food and drink world.
Rob Simpson of The Clove Club says, “It can work as an aperitif; it’s got that brightness and effervescence. It can work with raw fish, the vegetal rice flavours, and it can work with dairy thanks to its citric flavours.”
If some of the country’s best restaurants are singing its praises, the folks at REAL must be doing something right.
So, what is it they’re making exactly, and why is it hitting the spot?
In short, Founder and Master Brewer, David Begg, all but quit drinking half a decade ago and was introduced to kombucha – fermented tea – shortly afterwards. Amazed by the complexity of flavour, and just as astounded that
he wasn’t drinking alcohol, he began fermenting it at home. Interest turned to fascination, and he was soon experimenting with hundreds of loose leaf teas to see what was possible.
Scroll forward a few years and his brewery, set in the rolling Chiltern Hills, is supplying award-winning non-alcoholic drinks to over 50 Michelin-starred restaurants, some of the UK’s best known supermarkets, and direct to the front door of thousands of online customers. The rapidly growing non-drinking community seems to have taken these drinks to their hearts and word-of-mouth, coupled with so many sommeliers’ superlatives, is helping the REAL team to reach greater heights every day.
At present, there are two styles available in the REAL range. Royal Flush is produced from an exquisite Darjeeling First Flush tea. Without any added flavours, the loose leaves ferment to produce distinct notes of rhubarb, white peach and blackcurrant, with a crisp acidity that puts paid to notions of non-alcoholic drinks being too sweet. Many compare it to a fruity, floral Prosecco or crisp English sparkling. It makes a great non-alc celebration drink – perfect for anyone not drinking but determined not to be left out of the occasion – and can be paired with white fish, white meat, cream sauces –anything with delicate umami notes.
Dry Dragon, fermented from a pan-roasted loose leaf Dragon Well green tea from Long Jing China, boasts grassy, straw-like notes, offset by a hint of citrus and green apple. Sommeliers compare it to a Sauvignon Blanc, and it pairs wonderfully with fish, green salads and fruit, or as Bob Curbishley suggests, Belazu Sicilian Nocellara olives. As the weather warms, it can be served as a refreshing all-day spritz.
The obvious question often asked is how a drink made from tea can work as an alternative to wine. To put it bluntly, people often overlook the sophistication and delicacies of tea simply because we associate it with the humble cuppa. To quote from Virgin Wines, however, recently writing about REAL’s drinks, “Much like wine
produced from grapes, these wines not only take on the flavours and characteristics of the teas they’re produced from, they’re also heavily influenced by the climate and terroir of the region the tea was grown in. Their
sophisticated flavours make them a great match for many delicacies.”
If you loved REAL’s Dry Dragon and want to try their other styles or stock the fridge with their big bottles for the bank holiday weekend, here’s a 10% discount until the end of the month, 31 May 2021.
Simply use the coupon code LOFTYBOX10 at checkout on their website,