Processing, Characteristics and Composition of Umqombothi (a South African Traditional Beer)
Traditional beers, such as palm wine, kombucha and others, are notable beverages consumed all over the globe. Such beverages historically contribute to food security on a global scale. Umqombothi is a South African traditional beer nutritionally packed with minerals, amino acids, B-group vitamins and much-needed calories. As a result, the production and consumption of this traditional beverage has been an integral part of South African&rsquo;s social, economic and cultural prosperity. Unfortunately, difficulties in bioprocessing operations have limited its availability to household and small-scale production. It is at these micro-production scales that poor hygiene practices and the use of hazardous additives and contaminated raw materials continue to increase, posing serious health risks to the unassuming consumer. This study provides an overview of the processing steps and underlying techniques involved in the production of umqombothi, while highlighting the challenges as well as future developments needed to further improve its quality and global competitiveness with other alcoholic products.