About Real Kombucha




REAL began in early 2016 when founder, David Begg, had all but given up drinking. A big lover of food, David found he missed the joy of pairing great wine with great food, and increasingly began to notice that people choosing not to drink were not catered for in any serious, sophisticated manner. When a friend introduced him to an earthy, rich, oolong kombucha, he realised there might be a real alternative.

His first brew, made with a silver needle tea that he happened to have bought on a family holiday to India, produced incredible floral, aromatic flavours. Putting together a small team that included nutrition innovator, Adrian Hodgson, and tea expert, Will Battle, the nascent company experimented with 150 different teas until he came up with the finest in fermentation: REAL.

Our fine sparkling teas are very special in that all their incredible character notes are created naturally, without the addition of additives or flavourings. Our slow and completely natural fermentation process enables us to achieve exquisite flavour and complexity that results from a combination of skill and high quality, loose-leaf teas, handpicked from small tea gardens in China and India.

Each year, we select exquisite loose-leaf teas with the same respect that a winemaker affords their grapes, and ferment with the same care and passion as a fine wine. We add nothing before, nor extract anything afterwards.




Our Teas

All tea comes from the same plant: Camellia Sinensis. But as with grapes, not all teas are equal. The quality of the tea depends upon the soil, the situation, local climate, and how the tea is processed.


First Flush Darjeeling, India

Known in India as The Champagne of Teas, we work with a single tea garden in the Lesser Himalayas, near Darjeeling, India. North-facing, and in sight of the world’s third highest mountain, Kangchenjunga, frosts in winter chill the plants, and shade in spring allows for slower growth.

The first flush is just the first tips of the tea that emerge in spring. We pick just the bud and the first leaf from the plant within the first 3-4 weeks of the beginning of the growing season. Withered, rolled, gently oxidised and dried with great care, this ensures that the leaves are young and fresh and produce delicate fruity notes.

The tea is richly fragrant and creates a brew that is fresh and floral. The tea alone develops notes of rhubarb, white peach and a touch of blackcurrant. The fruit and spice flavours round out the acids to make it soft and delicate. Delightful to drink freshly brewed anytime of day.

But it is in fermentation that the first flush really comes alive. The delicate floral notes of the tea develop into fruity notes of rhubarb, gooseberry, white peach and a touch of blackcurrant. Like a diamond cut from its raw stone.


Lonjing Green Tea, China

Also known as Dragon Well, this is the highest quality pan-roasted green tea from Hangzhou, Zheijiang province and ranks as one of the finest teas in China. The region is particularly famous for its natural beauty nestled to the side of West Lake.

Dragon Well tea originates from just eighteen tea bushes that were given special imperial status by the Qianlong Emperor during the Qing dynasty. These eighteen original tea bushes are still being picked today.

In order to make green tea, the leaves must be baked just after being picked to prevent oxidation and the transformation into a black tea. Unlike the steamed Japanese Sencha green teas, often used in other fermented drinks, Longjing tea leaves are hand fired in big handfuls in a large open wok. This is a highly skilled process, the operator delicately controlling the level of bake to ensure he or she develops the best flavours in the final leaf. Processed in this way, the Dragon Well leaves have a distinctive, emerald-green, flat leaf and a delightfully unique fragrance of nuts and straw.

Very mellow, sweet and rounded in taste, the tea after fermentation produces citrus notes of sweet lemons and grapefruit, but with a delicate leafy undertone.



The fermentation of tea has occured all over the world for thousands of years, the process is very similar to the fermentation of grapes when making wine. Until recently, tea fermentation has typically been a domestic undertaking, with people fermenting at home in glass jars.

At REAL we have worked closely with wine makers, champagne makers, beer brewers and microbiologists around the world to perfect both the art and science of producing the best sparkling tea fermentations in the world. Detailed microbiology, DNA testing, chemical analysis enable us to perfect our brews.

As with wines, it is yeasts that are responsible for the creation of the body and character of the drinks. Yeasts work on the unique compounds in the teas to produce fruity, spicy, floral and aromatic compounds that blend with the acids and delicate sweetness to give perfect balance to the drinks



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