The stomach is sometimes called the second brain. What happens there directly affects our state of mind and keeping this line of communication a pleasant one can be a challenge. While we used to rely on quick fixes like zantac and pepcid ac and a whole slew of reactionary measures, we’re now discovering there are natural preventative measures we can take to keep our minds and tummy happy. Cue Kombucha (Kom-BOO-cha), the healthy, restorative brew that’s been around for millennia, now experiencing a renaissance in America. By combining good bacterial cultures with special strains of yeast, a brewed tea transforms into kombucha in a refreshing, effervescent elixir with negligible amounts of alcohol, so even children can enjoy.
While it introduces an army of beneficial bacteria, giving you intestinal fortitude, it’s not the easiest front to unify. Brandon Stewart has dabbled in the artform of kombucha brewing since 2011. Last year he started Humble Bumble to bring this clean, cultured tonic to Orlando.
We spoke with Mr. Stewart about his passion for brewing, the benefits it brings and why it’s trending in The City Beautiful. Read on!
What inspired you to brew kombucha and open up shop in Orlando?
Mostly a desire to feel better and help others do the same. Years ago, my experience with kombucha mostly involved big box brands (GT, Reeds) shipped in from California. I felt Orlando was missing a good local brew – something fresh that emphasized the variety of ingredients Florida has to offer. That thought got the experimental process started, culminating in the flavors we produce today.
What do you like about the kombucha brewing process?
Kombucha takes well to any number of flavors. It’s an extremely flexible brew. Unlike beer, it leaves the brewer a lot of room to work with herb and floral combinations. Lavender, hibiscus and basil are some of our favorites, but the options are limitless.
In what ways is it a difficult process? In what ways does it pay off?
Patience and solid note-taking are the keys to any successful brewing project. Discovering, for example, the perfect temperature in which the cultures will thrive can be tricky. Once you’ve found those perfect conditions you have to duplicate them with a fair amount of precision.
With new ingredients you’ll be doing a ton of guess work.
The payoff hits when you get more experimental with a flavor combination (our tangerine and starfruit comes to mind) and it exceeds expectation. Trust me, it’s a great feeling!
What does kombucha taste like? How do you respond when someone dismisses it as hippy medicine?
Most people describe the flavor profile of kombucha as something similar to an apple cider. It’s a touch sweet with a hint of bite from the fermentation process, a combination I find almost addictive.
The idea that kombucha is some sort of unsubstantiated herbal remedy has been largely beaten back. Laboratories have been isolating the beneficial bacterias present in kombucha for years. For anyone interested, you’ll find a number of these listed on our website.
Sourcing all of his vegan ingredients and branding materials from other local vendors, Humble Bumble sells Kombucha in fashionable glass growlers in sizes of 16 oz for $4 and 32 oz for $13. You’ll even receive a discount when reusing the Humble Bumble bottle or bringing a container from home.
Kombucha will stay fresh in your fridge for At least 14 days and up to a month arguably improving over that time. It’s a fantastic complement to muffins, parfaits or an invigorating beverage to start your day or keep you going in the afternoon when you need a pick me up.
Stewart & Company have received such a positive response they are opening a storefront in the Milk District joining other Audubon Market vendors, Dixie Dharma and Valhalla to create a vegan triumvirate that will not soon be rivaled in the greater Orlando area. In the meantime, head on down to Stardust on Monday evening where you can purchase the age-old, dazzling brew or just chat with Brandon about the many nuances of the ‘buch. If you miss the market, Stardust serves cool, refreshing Humble Bumble Kombucha on tap throughout the week.