• News
  • Health & Wellness

You can get a 'prime membership' for kombucha now (or learn how to DIY it)

Like Amazon Prime, but for fizzy probiotic drinks?

Photograph: Courtesy PAPP'S TEA
In a question that seems to constantly surface in Shanghai: have we reached our peak bougie selves? In the world of probiotic news and gut health, you can now get a 'prime membership' for kombucha. Don't get us wrong: the bougie bastards that we are, we are very down.

PAPP'S TEA has launched a new prime membership scheme, where, for 699RMB a month, the team will custom brew a kombucha batch of your dreams for you. During each month of your membership, you choose the tea ingredients and flavours, and then 16 250ml bottles of it *magically* arrive at your door. The membership also entitles you to discount pricing on PAPP's products and free delivery. As part of the launch of the prime programme, the first 20 members will get an introductory price of 499RMB per month.

But back up – what even is kombucha? It's a pretty simple probiotic, carbonated drink made of tea, a touch of sugar which is fermented with what's called a SCOBY, or 'symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast'. The last decade has seen it move from a hippie, new age niche into the mainstream, where it now takes up more shelf space than juice in many US supermarkets. It shouldn't surprise you to hear this but, like pretty much all things, kombucha originated in China. Speak with old Chinese folks and they'll likely know it by the name hongchajun (红茶菌), which was traditionally home-brewed and drunk sans carbonation and at room temperature for health. The modern day drink is tangy, acid, effervescent and a bit 'love it or hate it' but low calorie, low sugar and widely accepted as being good for your health.

While there are countless brands of kombucha that you can buy, it's also very much a DIY project you can easily do at home. As kombucha evangelists and generally good, empowering people, PAPP'S also hosts workshops on how to home-brew kombucha, with the next one coming up this Saturday 10 November at the Taixing Lu naked Hub from 4-5.30pm and 7.30-9pm.

For a weirdly reasonable 299RMB per person, the founder of the company Martin Papp (also the Asia head of Kombucha Brewers International) leads you through all the steps of making the fermented tea as well as more general knowledge about gut health and the benefits of probiotics. It's not a terribly difficult process – you could just watch tutorials on YouTube or read a blog post on how to brew your own kombucha – but having done both, it's infinitely helpful to be taught in person. Plus, you come away with a healthy SCOBY, all the equipment (nifty glass jar with a spigot? Check.) you need to brew at home and inclusion in a DIY kombucha WeChat group.

So, whether you want to go full DIY or full bougie, this week is your probiotic oyster. To sign up for a prime kombucha membership, follow WeChat ID 'PAPPSTeaChina'.

Comments