Mark Frydrychowski, Tea of Life Kombucha, Ibiza, Spain

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

We were doing downhill skateboard races along the west coast in 2009 and stopped by my favorite diner in Olympia, WA. My friend said, “Hey man, they have kombucha,” and I said, “What?”

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

I got obsessed very quickly and started doing weekly batches. I was avoiding alcohol and doing a lot of studying (law school) and I wanted an endless supply of this magic stuff that was giving me energy and helping me focus. When I moved to Ibiza in 2013, I reckoned I’d either start a skate school or sell kombucha. The kombucha took off quite nicely!

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

Back in the US I’d always opt for GT Dave’s Gingerade (Classic). It always had the right amount of bite and smoothness, bubbly mouthfeel and uplifting/refreshing finish. I thought of it as a true standard and have generally tried to mimic many of its characteristics.

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

Music has always been important. Over the years I’ve had many jobs as a guitarist. Now that’s (mostly) finished, but I’ve still got amps and a keyboard and loads of guitars. My musical life now consists primarily of jamming with my three-year-old daughter.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

Life benefits the risk-taker.

 

Krister Häll, The Good Guys, Tampere, Finland

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

One of our good guys, Teemu, was living and working in New Zealand in 2016 where he discover kombucha. He soon began brewing kombucha to enjoy the living drink everyday. Upon returning to Finland Teemu introduced kombucha to Krister who is seriously nuts about tea. Soon after we carved out a master plan of our own kombucha brewery 🙂

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

Our mission is to foster a culture where people spend more time together. Kombucha and other non-alcoholic tea based beverages are healthy options for all occasions. We want to see a world where we have more natural products and a healthy planet to pass down to next generation.

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

GT’s Gingerade 🙂

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

Our founding team has a varied background. Krister – bank risk management & financial consulting. Markus – event management & marketing. Hanna – registered nurse. Teemu – photography, construction & martial arts. Ossi – rap artist & physical well being coaching. Matti – videography, directing, editing. Johannes – serial entrepreneur involved in vegan cafés, daycare business, raw cakes etc. Jaska – Siberian husky whose career has been unaffected by kombucha; he loves pampering and food 🙂

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

Doing is the highest form of thinking.

 

Helena Artmann, Kombucheers Brewery, Canmore, AB, Canada

 

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

A few years ago I became a Raw Food Chef and during the course I tried kombucha for the first time. Loved it but didn’t even consider brewing at home.

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

When I started brewing at home, I enjoyed the process immensely. I started giving away my kombucha and got a lot of positive feedback. I bought Hannah’s book and read it like a bible. Then realized I had a business opportunity in my hands. This was a year ago – I started selling only 4 months ago and have been learning tons. I feel I am not even scratching the surface yet!

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

Happy Belly Purple Ginger on tap!

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

I have a Bachelor Degree in communications and have been working in this field for almost 30 years. I develop WordPress websites, work with clients on their social media needs and used to write for magazines and PR.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

I was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and came to Canada 14 years ago. Fernando Pessoa, a Portuguese poet, and his poem, Portuguese sea, has a phrase that always comes back to me: “Is it worth it? Everything is worth the effort if the soul isn’t small”.

 

 

 

 

 

 Kaye van der Straten, K4 Kombucha & Cultured Foods, Paihia, Northland, New Zealand

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

In 2013, when I began my journey to address autoimmune disease. I first found Kefir, then quickly discovered Kombucha and the depth of flavours and probiotic qualities. It was love from the first mouthful.

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

Honestly, it wasn’t planned…! It naturally evolved from my home brews, where I was refining kombucha using techniques from the champagne and cider industry. Foodie friends and family couldn’t get enough, and I couldn’t keep up with everybody’s demands. A chef friend encouraged me to take my Kombucha to our local markets in northern New Zealand, and we sold out. From then it’s been one natural step after another, and the business has fermented into something that is continuing to grow healthily today, with a range of Kombuchas and lacto-ferments. My partner and I are very proud, and enjoying every step of the journey.

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

I’m a lover of change and diversity, so my favourite types of Kombucha are home-brewed varieties that are using local seasonal produce in their final flavours. A good friend of ours makes an incredible natural feijoa Kombucha during the feijoa season in New Zealand. And home-brews with fresh plums or berries are simply the BEST. There is a lot of inspiration to be had from the experimental diversity of home kitchens.

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

Once upon a time I had a wonderful career as a marine biologist, specializing in game fish and sharks. I do so miss the Deep Blue Sea. My partner and I get on the ocean whenever we can.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

Be kind, because every person is facing a great challenge with this game of life.

 

 

Hope Bigler, Undone Kombucha, Greencastle, PA, USA

 

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

I first tried kombucha in 2014 from a friend who home-brewed.

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

It was completely God-inspired in the summer of 2015. I never even made kombucha before I had the vision, and actually didn’t even like it. Ha! How’s that for an unlikely story with impossible odds?

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

High Garden Tea, Milky Oolong.

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

Portrait Photography

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

Keep showing up.

 

Webinar Wednesdays: DNA & Analyte Sequencing Study #2 Results
DATE: 2/20/19 1 pm on Zoom
WHO: Keisha Harrison & Dr. Chris Curtin
COST: Free for DNA/Analyte study participants, $20 KBI Non-Members

WEBINAR SUMMARY:  As part of the KBI-Oregon State University Genomic and Analyte Study [Summer 2018], Keisha Rose Harrison will be hosting a webinar review to summarize the study results and Kombucha fermentation science. What was the objective of the study? OSU is interesting in characterizing the diverse microecology of the commercial Kombucha SCOBY and the chemical composition of Kombucha tea. The flavor attributes and alcohol produced during the process are governed by the starter colony, a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). The limited information about the composition of the Kombucha culture and the components of the end product make it cumbersome for producers to quantitatively troubleshoot. In the conventional brewing approach, there is no identification of inoculating cultures nor monitoring of culture consistency. Through this study we aim to identify common ecological and metabolic markers. 

WEBINAR TAKEAWAY: What will be gained from the webinar? Study participants will get an overview on how to best interpret their results. Group results will be presented in a meaningful way as to illustrate main ecological drivers and potential sources of divergence. Additionally, there will be a larger discussion on how the results may direct quantitative approaches to troubleshooting in production. Note, specific brewing questions that do not pertain to the study will not addressed.

REGISTER HERE

ABOUT THE WEBINAR HOSTS

Keisha Harrison, M.S., is a PhD candidate of Fermentation Science in the Food Science & Technology Department at Oregon State University (OSU). She received a Bachelor of Arts in Cell Biology and Biochemistry from Rice University and a Master of Science in Nutrition from the University of Houston. Keisha was drawn to Kombucha research because it is a beautifully complex system to study microbial interactions. She aims to understand the links between the microbial landscape of the Kombucha SCOBY and the sensory experience. She believes to get at the heart of Kombucha, we have to get better acquainted with it first!

 

 

Chris Curtin, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Food Science & Technology Department at Oregon State University (OSU). Prior to joining OSU in 2016 he lead the Biosciences research group at the Australian Wine Research Institute, where he was responsible for development of yeast strains and development of strategies to mitigate spoilage. The Curtin lab seeks to understand the role of yeasts and bacteria in production of fermented beverages, where often the same mix of species give us an array of possible outcomes. The Kombucha SCOBY embodies this complexity and has become a major focus of our research.
 

 

Chris McCoy, Kombucha Town, Bellingham, WA, USA

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

I first discovered Kombucha back in 2007 from my room mate in college while I was studying environmental studies and economics at Western Washington University.

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

I started a Kombucha company to bring healthy options to our food system.

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

My favorite brand of Kombucha other than Kombucha Town is Golda Kombucha out of Atlanta, GA. Their Oak aged Kombucha is delicious.

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

 I worked as a carpenter and at restaurants up until I founded Kombucha Town at age 25. The last Job I had before going full time with Kombucha Town was delivering sandwiches on my bike for Jimmy Johns in downtown Seattle.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

Kombucha Town’s motto and my own are one in the same “Live Healthy, Live Happy”

 

Pedro Reis, Vida Kombucha, San Diego, CA, USA

 

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

I found out about kombucha in 2012 while I was on a surf trip, a friend of mine showed me some home brew of her own and explained to me a little bit about it. When I tried it for the first time, I thought it was funky. The taste of vinegar was kind of weird but it was love at first sip.

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

I loved brewing kombucha so much that I was doing way more than I could drink. I started to share with surfers, yogis and the great community of Ocean Beach in San Diego. My friends started to ask me for more and I realized I had a unique brew so in 2015 I started Vida Kombucha.

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

The classic line for 21+ from Synergy has really good stuff, the Trilogy is my favorite.

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

I’m a commercial diver, cleaning hulls around San Diego city.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

Face your fears live your dreams.

 

Daina Trout, Health-Ade, Torrance, CA, USA 

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

While I was in graduate school at Tufts for nutrition (2004-ish), I discovered my love for fermented foods and learned how to make kombucha. Real, holistic, fermented foods just made me feel good, so I was hooked and making my own kombucha since then.

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

Well, we didn’t set out to start a kombucha company per say. After working in corporate America for five years, I felt the “itch” to do something bigger and more meaningful. I formed an entrepreneur club with my now-husband, Justin Trout, and best friend, Vanessa Dew, who were both feeling unfulfilled too. We met weekly to talk about what our big idea could be, and sipped on my homemade kombucha while we brainstormed. One day a coveted spot at the Brentwood Farmers’ market opened up and we jumped on it, not knowing what we were going to sell! It didn’t take us long to realize that we had the answer right in front of us, and the rest is history. And a whole lot of hard work…

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

I recently went to Mexico City and tried Nopa Kombucha. Their “Jamaica” flavor is seriously delicious, and they ferment in 2.5 gallon glass jars, just like Health-Ade!

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

In addition to being the CEO of Health-Ade, I am a wife to my wonderful husband, Justin and a mom to a very active 3 year old, Hendriks. Being a mom is definitely a job in itself, and it can be a struggle to balance it all and still take time for myself. I love spending time with my family and friends, cooking, playing in the back yard, and just being together. If I can squeeze in time to work out, I really feel like I have it all.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

Everything that you need you already have inside of you!

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Sheehan, John “Griff” Griffith, and Henri Pellerin, Dean’s Zesty Booch, Bozeman, MT, USA

 

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

J: My hippie roommates in college turned me on to Wonder Drink in 2009-2010 and at the time I was willing to tolerate the somewhat strange taste for the purported benefits. I grew to like it’s flavors rather quickly, especially once I met Dean, the founder of our company, who forever changed the way I perceived the potential of what Kombucha can taste like.

G: I remember someone crashing at my house in college who was collecting what appeared to be a jellyfish in a jar on my kitchen counter. I promptly threw the miscreant’s offending item in the trash. Ten years later and I’m still taking pellicles out to the compost pile every week. They just weigh a lot more now.

H: I started drinking Kombucha in college. So, around 2007-2008.

Q: Why did you start your own Kombucha company?

J: After meeting Dean, I found myself really interested by the cult following his Booch had acquired. I started by designing him a brand, but it quickly spiraled into spending late nights together, dialing in a business plan in preparation for our opening in 2016.

G: Making booch allows me to apply my background in Microbiology while also serving as an outlet for creative expression.

H: I am not one of the founders of DZB but I have been friends with Dean since the days when he was just making booch for his friends and neighbors in recycled bottles with Joe’s stickers on them. I knew DZB was something I wanted to be a part of because the people involved are some of the smartest and most talented people I know, the brand has positive impact on our community, and the product speaks for itself.

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

J: I like a lot of Brew Dr. flavors. I also really enjoyed the Health-Ade Reishi Chocolate flavor that Griff turned me on to. I’ve also been really enamored with some of the flavors the eight Montana Kombucha breweries have been putting out. There are eight of us in the state now and that’s awesome to see!

G: KKON 2016 at the world’s largest kombucha bar, a company from Japan who’s name escapes me. It was delicate, balanced, and overall just straight up delightful.

H: Juneshine in San Diego is a company with great kombucha products in the high ABV space in my opinion. Their Blood Orange Mint is especially good. Big Easy Bucha in New Orleans also has a great satsuma flavor.

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

J: Prior to this, I was working in marketing and advertising with a local company, so those skills have certainly come in handy here. I am also the drummer in a band called The Dusty Pockets, which just put out an album that you can find on Spotify and iTunes.

G: Lab Rat. Mostly infectious disease research. I also play bass in The Dusty Pockets with Joe.

H: Prior to joining the DZB team, I was a registered investment adviser and I still love investing and economics.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

ALL: When everyone else zigs, we Zest.