If you follow me on Instagram, you'd know I'm a kombucha drinker and home brewer. I've been brewing it for a while and I'm excited to see that it's become more widely available in Ottawa. If you've heard of kombucha but you aren't exactly sure what it is — or maybe you have no idea what I'm going on about — keep reading, because I've enlisted the help of an expert.
A few months ago, I met Wentsi Yeung at the Live The Smart Way Expo. We got to talking and soon enough I discovered that Wentsi is the one woman show behind, Culture Kombucha, Ottawa's first kombucha company. She is young, industrious, super hard working and she shares my love of kombucha. So naturally, I had to feature her on my blog.
Between her full time day job and running her kombucha business, Wentsi is one of the busiest people I know. That said, she happily took the time to enlighten us about kombucha, how she started her business and what's in store for Culture Kombucha.
Amy: Kombucha has become quite popular these days, but it's still sort of a mystery to many people. Can you enlighten us?
Wentsi: Sure! Kombucha is a fermented tea. It's bubbly with a vinegary undertone which makes it refreshing and tasty! The recipe originates from ancient China/Russia and has passed through Europe as a health tonic. It is essentially tea that has gone through a 1 to 3 week fermentation period. Flavours are created during the brewing, fermentation, and bottling process with different teas, herbs & spices, and fruits!
Amy: What are the health benefits of drinking kombucha?
Wentsi: Kombucha is loaded with probiotics — which makes it really good for your gut and digestive health. It is also high in anti-oxidants, enzymes, and B vitamins!
Amy: How did Culture Kombucha get started?
Wentsi: Starting Culture Kombucha has been so many things coming together over the past few years. My first time trying kombucha was while I was working at a non-profit in the organic sector and after my first sip I fell in love and knew I wanted to start a local kombucha brewery. I've always wanted to own my own business and I've always been interested in food, nutrition, and sustainable agriculture (I also majored in biology which is very helpful for the fermentation process) so in the summer of 2014, I registered the company and since then it has been this crazy and amazing adventure building the business! It's putting in another 7-9 hours after my day job and a full weekend which can be exhausting and stressful but it's a labour of love and the most rewarding feeling ever.
Amy: What's on the horizon for Culture Kombucha?
Wentsi: I have so many ideas and lots of projects on the go but the main one is that Culture Kombucha will soon be available on tap!
Amy: Where are you selling your products?
Wentsi: We sell to restaurants, natural health & fine food stores in Ottawa and have plans to expand just a little outside of the Ottawa region!
Amy: Do you have any favourite flavour combinations?
Wentsi: Hmm, I definitely like flavours that are more tart or floral — nothing too sweet. I love the ginger and the raspberry mint — I couldn't make a flavour and try to sell something I didn't like!
You can find Culture Kombucha on Facebook and Instagram. The website is currently under construction, but be sure check back to www.culturekombucha.ca in the near future.