For as long as I can remember I’ve had a “dodgy tummy” … different phases of life brought on symptoms of IBS, random food intolerances and insane bloating cycles. Nothing the doctors gave me helped much, so I just got on with life thinking “maybe I’m just like that”.
When I was travelling, I ended up working a snow season out in the rural mountains of Japan, even though I had never skied before, and hated the cold. It was quite the contrast to Mexico, where I had been for the few months beforehand, however it was to be where I discovered the magical wonders of my new favourite drink; Kombucha. It instantly cured me of my tummy trouble, which had only gotten worse after 18 months of “roughing it” around the globe, and I have since spent my time learning about why it had such a great effect on my health and wellbeing.
Many of my Japanese friends made Kombucha themselves, each with its own variation (much like we all make cheese on toast in different ways), but all of them used the continuous brew method. I have since learnt that this method of brewing Kombucha is regarded as the healthier, safer and easier way to brew, and skips a very faffy stage known as a “second fermentation” which people typically use to add flavour, but myself, and most people I tempt with samples, agree that it tastes totally delicious without the need for the extra faff!
My Japanese friends would share samples of their home-brews with me, all slightly different but always delicious. So long story short; Kombucha was a normal thing in this tiny village, and it made my tummy really happy!
Now for the exciting part; one of the bars in my favourite tiny mountain village started to stock an alcoholic Kombucha in a can! It was super low in sugar and calories, packed with probiotics and absolutely delicious. It was brewed by a company called Nova Kombucha, and imported from California, their brand and culture was totally inspiring.
When Covid-19 struck the world, I had to come down from the mountains of Japan, back into the real world and home to the UK. I temporarily moved back in with my mum, and was back catching up with all my pals, in a socially distanced manner of course. One of my very good friends had been trying out different fermentation experiments whilst in lockdown and had started to make what he described as this “crazy” thing, Kombucha. I couldn’t believe it, I knew exactly what it was and I got my hands on a fresh SCOBY baby as soon as he had one available … and that’s where the obsession got started!
Once I had the SCOBY (link to SCOBY gallery here to see one of these beauty’s for yourself), I knew what to do. My friends in Japan had been so proud of their Kombucha home-brews, showing me all their SCOBY babies and giving me their top-tips from a lifetime of brewing. I started drinking a small glass of my own Green-Tea Kombucha each morning, the difference I felt in my overall wellbeing was totally amazing, and it all stemmed from this huge improvement to my gut health. Slowly the whole household caught on, with each person feeling a different benefit to their health.
So there I am back living with my mum, going through lockdown after lockdown, passing the time working in a local chocolate factory, when an idea hit me like a meteorite out of space; why don’t I start a Kombucha business? … about 5 seconds later the name BooChaCha hit me … and before I knew it I was running home to see if the domain was available on companies house! If couldn’t call it BooChaCha … I wasn’t interested!
The idea for the “Kombucha business” was a little vague to start… and still feels like a mad dream if I’m honest with myself haha …! I didn’t have the equipment or space to brew enough Kombucha to sell actual Kombucha, and there was a few well established companies doing that already in the UK, but instead I could educate people about the type of Kombucha I knew everything about, had become obsessed with, and truly believed had made crazy differences to my health. I could make it really easy for them to get home-brewing, make it totally fool-proof, and offer it with some luxuries that make it a wonderful gift!
Whilst all this goes on, as a self proclaimed health-conscious-party-animal, I can’t stop thinking about the alcoholic Kombucha thing … whenever I am out, I ask at the bar .. “do you have Kombucha”? … 95% of the time the answer is no! Alcoholic Kombucha is a whole new, forward thinking & exciting drinks category with huge potential!
P.S. If you’re reading this, and you’re looking for a small and fun new business to invest in … I’d love to hear from you 🙂
Its a drinks category which appeals to the growing chunk of the population that are mindful of what they put inside their bodies, the people who listen to new research surrounding chemicals and toxins, and the humans that just want to get the best out of life! my personal definition of a health-conscious-party-animal … somebody who loves being social, sometimes winding down involves a liquid treat at the end of a hectic day, but they also love running along the beach at 6 am, they want to treat their bodies with the respect it deserve, whilst having a jolly good time!
It frustrates me that when you go out-out, the low alcohol or zero alcohol choices are very few and far between. You could have a soda and lime, gets pretty boring after half a pint, a lemonade or a coke, gets pretty sugary and my teeth get fluffy after half a pint, or you could nag the bar to put the coffee machine back on or maybe they’d make you a cup of tea, but anyway, you get my point.