A new craze for a flavoured fermented tea known as kombucha has hit town. Eoin Flinn, founder of Booch started making kombucha by chance.
How did you find out about kombucha?
My wife, Meghan asked me to pick up a SCOBY - the culture used to ferment tea thus making kombucha - from Uganda for her. She didn’t have time to make the kombucha so I went online and researched about it and made it. The more I learned, the more obsessed I became with the product and the process.
Why did you get into the Kombucha business?
After making the first kombucha batch and consuming it, I started noticing that I had more energy, I wasn’t as bloated as I used to be, I had better digestion, and wasn’t falling sick as much.
At that point, I had already consumed all the kombucha I had made and when I went out to look for some, I couldn’t find it anywhere. So I started making kombucha with the market in mind.
How did you narrow down to the flavours that Booch carries?
Before I started making kombucha commercially, I experimented with different flavours.
I made about 50 flavours and tested it with friends whenever they came over for dinner. In the end I zeroed in on three flavours; strawberry and ginger, raspberry and ginger and blueberry and ginger.
All our flavours have a berry and ginger in them but you don’t have to put ginger in kombucha. We do it because people liked the warmth of the ginger.
In the West you find people put chrysanthemum flowers but for me I wanted to make something that was tasty but still have all those health benefits. I also wanted to use locally grown ingredients to support the local industry.
Kombucha is a new concept in the Kenyan market. Why should people switch to this beverage?
More and more people are becoming aware of its usefulness in improving digestion and diabetes, strengthening the immune system, reducing blood pressure and detoxifying. We need more good bacteria in our bodies. We get that from raw foods and fermented food. But because our diet is based on heavily processed and cooked foods, we don’t get enough bacteria. And when we take antibiotics it kills all the bacteria including the good ones. We then don’t do enough to replenish what we have just wiped out. So as far as I know, kombucha is the best way to take probiotics. The probiotic pills are an option but they’re synthetic unlike kombucha which is natural. Drink a bottle a day for a week, and if you do not feel any different I’ll give you your money back, that’s how confident I am in this product.
When is the best time to drink the tea?
Anytime is a good time for kombucha. The fermentation process breaks down the caffeine so it’s much less than even green tea, so you don’t have to worry about it keeping you awake. For me I drink it at 4pm as a coffee replacement. I would have five or six coffees a day. Now I’m down to one cup a day.
If you find yourself drinking too much beer or wine in the evening, switch to kombucha. If you find yourself taking too much caffeine in the morning, then that’s the best time for you to drink the kombucha. It will reduce your cravings and over time your diet gets better.
Who can take kombucha?
Anyone really. With kids, wait till they’re a year old, because they’re own microbiome is developing. But it’s a great alternative to soda for the kids. They still enjoy the sweet fruity taste. For pregnant women, if you were taking it before then there would be no problem continuing. But if you weren’t taking it before it would not be advisable to start during pregnancy.
What should inform my decision to start buying your product?
I believe in science and I try to follow the results coming out on more studies. It’s really a no brainer; if something works for you and you feel good then do it. You shouldn’t keep doing something if you feel no benefits from it. Mostly we’re replacing soda and no one can argue that refined sugar is better. Assuming kombucha had no health benefits at all save for replacing soda, then its already done more good. Also, to avoid potential dangers, purchase bottled kombucha tea rather than making your own.