After learning about the many health benefits of drinking kombucha, an ancient effervescent beverage high in enzymes, amino acids and antioxidants made by fermenting sweetened tea, Daniell and Aaron Powell wanted to add it to their family’s regular diet. But that family is large— seven kids— and buying the quantities they needed was not an affordable option so in 2011 they started brewing it themselves.
They got good at the process, and the results were a hit at home. Friends, who were skeptics at first, became customers. In 2014 Bearded Buch (pronounced boosh), became a full-fledged business. The couple has commercial kitchen space and is currently producing about 2500 bottles a month right here in the 216.
More sour than sweet with a definite vinegar profile, kombucha is an acquired taste. The Powell’s recipe includes organic fruit juices, which add another dimension I really like. But the real appeal is that it’s so good for the body. “Kombucha contains live, active cultures and offers all the benefits of other probiotic foods,” Aaron says. “It’s a natural de-toxifier and the friendly bacteria are good for digestion and the immune system.”
Raw and unfiltered, Bearded Buch should be kept refrigerated and consumed cold. There’s some sediment that sinks to the bottom of the bottle. But because it’s carbonated, best not to shake. Instead, give the bottle a single flip and swirl to incorporate what Daniell calls “all that kombucha goodness.”
The company currently has four flavors. The original two are Ginger Snap, “like a cookie with a bad attitude,” says Aaron, whose signature look provided the inspiration for the company name and label logo, and Concord Grape, with a taste that evokes memories of a Welches-filled childhood. I got to sample two more recent releases versions, the eye-catchingly red Elderberry and summery Grapefruit. Count me a fan of both.
Find them at all Heinen’s locations, the Wine Spot in Cleveland Heights, and various farmers markets. Visit their website to find list of places where you can buy Bearded Buch near you. They also sell kits for those who want to try making it at home. But you might want to sign-up for one of their workshops first to learn the basics of microbe wrangling.
Journalist and author Laura Taxel started writing about local food before it became a trend, a movement or a scene. And she still hasn’t run out of stories to tell or wonderful things to cook and eat that are grown and produced in Northeast Ohio. We’re delighted that she’s agreed share her enthusiasms and her discoveries with a monthly blog here at EdibleCleveland.com.