What is kombucha and who are the “wild” girls brewing it here in Costa Rica?
Originating in China over 2000 years ago, kombucha gained a reputation in the East as the “Tea of Immortality” after a Korean physician and physicist named Kambu treated the Japanese Emperor Inyko with the cha, which means “tea.” It wasn’t until recently however that people in the West began drinking this deceptively-nutritious soda alternative. With all its now-known benefits, it’s obvious that soon everyone will be yearning to get their hands on a bottle.
Is it true kombucha is made with fungus?
Not exactly. Kombucha is made with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast known as a SCOBY. Before you still go running away screaming, let me assure you that SCOBYs are nothing to fear. In fact, it is this crucial ingredient that gives kombucha is probiotic and fizzy qualities when added to a mixture of pre-existing kombucha and sweet tea. You see, first the yeast consumes the sugars creating alcohol. Then the bacteria takes up the alcohol. Meanwhile the healthy acids from the first batch protect the beverage from harmful microorganisms and bad bacteria.
Still need more convincing?
When the process is completed, what remains is a tangy beverage with countless nutrients including but not limited to:
- amino acids
- B vitamins
- vitamin C
- citric acid
- and enzymes
Consuming kombucha on a daily basis can do wonders for anyone, but the wonder-drink is particularly useful for those with inflammatory diseases (arthritis, fibromyalgia, asthma), digestive disorders, memory issues and diabetes. Some people even report euphoric sensations after drinking a bottle, attributing the feeling to its minimal alcohol content. Considering said content is typically only 0.5% to 3%, that buzz, says young Kombucha brewer Catherine Smart, is much more likely to be your body rejoicing in the vitamins and other nutrients its finally getting.
Yet the best thing about kombucha is that it tastes even better than soda! In fact, once you hear all the new flavors Wild Brews is creating, you may never go back to the old sugar-filled cans. In fact, the flexibility kombucha allows for experimenting with all sorts of flavors is where the company gets its “wild” name.
The Kombucha Sisters
It all started not more than a couple months ago. Perhaps she was inspired by her father’s brewing, or it could be the idea was brought on by the the sudden shortage of kombucha at a San Pedro restaurant; still maybe it was just ingenuity. Whatever the case, at the end of May 2015, Catherine decided to take the plunge and begin producing her own kombucha. Although her father’s kombucha was single-fermented, leaving the beverage tangy but perhaps too much like vinegar for some people’s taste, Catherine began to double-ferment the tea infusing fruits and other flavors while increasing its bubbly fizz.
Soon, Catherine’s sisters Wendy and Ligia Jiménez started to help out. They will admit, not every flavor idea was initially a success, but those that were… well those flavors that made it to market were popular enough to place Wild Brews on the map as one of three major kombucha suppliers in Costa Rica–flavors like Lavender Lemonade, Ginger with Maracuya, Green Apple, Hibiscus… the list goes on!
Each bottle of Wild Brews Kombucha is crafted using ingredients found at local markets then labeled with art designed by a Costa Rican artist and a brief introduction to kombucha in both Spanish and English. The glass bottles themselves are made here in the country and then recycled by distributors. Moreover, Wild Brews’ decision to remain non-pasteurized has preserved the drink’s natural health benefits–something not all kombucha companies in the country can say. What’s not to love about this sister-run business?
Where to Buy Wild Brews Kombucha
Since May when they began, Wild Brews has grown remarkably. Already their kombucha can be found in six locations within the Central Valley. They’ve hosted and participated in several tasting events around San Jose and the Pacific Coast, and you can expect to see more coming up soon.
Until then, head on over to one of these restaurants and shops below to pick up your new favorite drink!
- Mantras Veggie Cafe: San Pedro.
- El Brotario: San Pedro.
- Al Mercat: Cocina de Mercado: San Pedro
- Praia Seafood & Raw Bar: San Pedro
- Green Center: Curridabat & Santa Ana
- Surf Shak: Playa Dominical
For distribution contact Follow Your Bliss Specialty Drinks