I grew up watching my mother make kombucha in our kitchen. She used Lipton black tea bags and brewed it until it was sour and thick with gelatinous goo. Kombucha is tea that is fermented with live probiotic yeast and bacteria. It contains beneficial acids that soothe the digestive system and boast numerous health benefits.
My mother dedicated herself to drinking one glass a day reporting that it just made her feel “better”. Eventually, however, her strange mushroom culture began to produce more than she could drink and she had to throw it out.
When I moved to San Francisco for law school, I was excited to discover kombucha at my local food coop. The commercially produced kombucha was similar to my mom’s old recipe, plain black tea fermented until it so sour it didn’t taste like tea.
I decided to brew my own kombucha using my favorite high quality loose leaf teas, like Jasmine, Chrysanthemum, Genmaicha and Earl Grey. Each brew required different steeping and fermentation times in order to bring out the delicate floral flavors of the tea. Kombucha naturally turns to vinegar if the fermentation is not stopped. In order to keep the kombucha delicious and balanced, I needed lots of help drinking it.
In 2009, the job market had crashed and times were tough for newly minted lawyers like myself. Fortunately, I had hustled a spot for myself at the Metreon farmer’s market in San Francisco. I sold fresh from-the-fermenter-kombucha by the cup. I had the perfect balance of a growing customer base and a growing kombucha supply. The taste was glorious. Encouraged, in 2010 I launched House Kombucha’s wholesale products to bring my fresh brews to the stores shelves.
House Kombucha is a kombucha tea brewery in San Leandro dedicated to the art of brewing and fermenting raw kombucha tea. House Kombucha’s mission is to produce non-alcoholic, naturally low calorie, healthy beverages as an alternative to the inebriating, disease-causing, addictive beverages that pervade much of American culture and media.
House Kombucha strives to be sustainable as a company in many ways. We’ve piloted several organic juice blends, an all organic fair-trade coffee product and donate 5% of our profits each year to environmental youth-based non-profits.
House Kombucha currently employs 10 people full-time, the majority of whom are born and raised in the East Bay and come from diverse communities with barriers to employment. From refugees to single parents, to folks in recovery and re-entry, we’ve had the privilege of providing steadily increasing wages and benefits to a hard-working, committed team of remarkable people.
I would spend the $10,000 loan to purchase an automatic capper A capper will help us assure that all the caps are properly secured. If they are not tight enough, product will leak. If they are too, it is an inconvenience for customers. Most importantly, a capper will make our work environment safer. Manual application of thousands of caps each day is very labor intensive and is not sustainable for the workers.