Microbiological and technological parameters impacting the chemical composition and sensory quality of kombucha

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Kombucha is a beverage made from sugared tea transformed by yeasts and acetic acid bacteria. Being originally homemade, it has become an industrially produced soft drink whose quality standards are poorly defined and whose production process is still not fully controlled. Based on current knowledge in beverages, links between kombucha's chemical composition and sensorial compounds are drawn. Macromolecules create turbidity, whereas uncharacterized tea pigments derivatives participate in the color. Residual sugars bring sweetness and organic acids produced by acetic acid bacteria form its characteristic sour taste. Acetic acid is also part of its aroma profile, although little data are available on the smell of kombucha. Carbon dioxide, potentially polyphenols, and residual ethanol are involved in the mouthfeel. In this review, after defining the key compounds that shape the characteristic sensory properties of kombucha, the impact of different production parameters is discussed. Water composition is determinant in the extraction of tea compounds along with the tea type and infusion duration and temperature. The type and amount of sweeteners play a role in the sweetness and influences the production kinetics. Similarly, the amount of inoculum and its microbial composition have an effect on the production, but the role of the vessels' geometry and temperature are also essential parameters that can be used to adjust the acidification phase's duration. Despite the amount of research carried out, further investigations of kombucha's sensory characteristics are needed. Such research could lead to a better definition of kombucha's quality and to an improved control over its production process.

Keywords: acetic acid, ethanol, organic acids, ph, polyphenols, review, temperature

Country: France

Citation: COMPREHENSIVE REVIEWS IN FOOD SCIENCE AND FOOD SAFETY Volume 19, Issue 4 July 2020 Pages 2050-2070

Study Mailing Address:
(VAlMiS) Institut Universitaire de la Vigne etdu Vin Jules Guyot, 2 rue Claude Ladrey, Dijon, 21000, France

Date Updated: February 3, 2021

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