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Artisan Kombucha

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Article by Allison Swan

Photography by Paul Versluis

Originally published in Leawood Lifestyle

Artisan Kombucha is Kansas City’s craft kombucha brewing company with a passion for healthy holistic living. Using organic and local ingredients for the highest quality kombucha, it is proudly brewed in small batches using organic loose-leaf teas, herbs, spices and real fruits and vegetables without any juices, concentrates or chemical additives. The result is a satisfying raw unfiltered beverage full of nutrients, enzymes and probiotics. Owner Ben Bash’s successful kombucha business was inspired by his dedication to health.

“I have loved making things from scratch and working with my hands my whole adult life,” Bash says. “I'm extremely passionate about health and am currently in school to be a nutritional therapist, so naturally I love eating healthy, and I push how important digestion is to everyone who is interested. I started brewing kombucha at home almost five years ago and made little batches here and there. In 2016, I started brewing bigger batches and experimenting with different flavors. I noticed a lack in traditional, homey flavors and wanted to start making my own. I gave samples to a friend who said I should start selling because of how smooth they were. I made even bigger batches and gave them to friends and family. Not long after that, I bought bigger brew tanks and started selling out of my home. I made it a goal to go commercial in 2017 and had my first two retailers in December of that year.”

If you’re not familiar with kombucha, you can learn everything you need to know about the popular fizzy health drink from Bash.  

“Kombucha is a fermented drink made with a culture similar to kefir grains called a SCOBY, which stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. Essentially, you make a strong tea and add some form of carbohydrate for the SCOBY to feed on. Most people use sugar cane or honey, but you can also use molasses or agave. The SCOBY starts breaking down the sugars, ferments and converts them into mostly probiotics, yeast and a few trace vitamins and minerals. You let it sit at room temperature for one-to-four weeks, and it's done and ready to drink. Sometimes it sounds harder to make than it really is, but it's actually pretty simple. The tricky part is getting down the flavor combinations.”

Five flavors are offered year-round, with seasonal flavors offered in the spring and fall. Their most popular brews include strawberry ginger and blueberry ginger, with watermelon and pumpkin spice as top seasonal favorites. If you’re looking for a unique kombucha experience, try their cultured Koffee Kombucha featuring Cuento Coffee. 

“A coffee kombucha seems like it would have a weird taste, but it’s so smooth and creamy and gives you that caffeine kick when you need it! I'm probably proud of that one the most.”

Artisan Kombucha believes it’s worth the extra time and effort put into making their brew.

“The name isn't just a name—it’s just that: Artisan. Everything is handcrafted with real and whole fruits, herbs and veggies. There are more trace nutrients when using fresh ingredients. Everything is made with whole foods that are either soaked, squeezed or juiced. I'm a huge supporter of local businesses and buy local whenever I can and grow some of the ingredients myself. My bottles are conditioned, meaning they’re left out at room temp to carbonate naturally instead of using force carbonation from a keg. Even though it takes much longer, I'm confident that I'm making an excellent product that's consistent in taste.”

Kombucha has countless health benefits if it’s properly brewed and kept raw, or non-pasteurized.

“Kombucha contains probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that make their way down to the colon and compete with the harmful and pathogenic bacteria like salmonella and E. coli. Probiotics help the absorption of nutrients like the B vitamins and vitamin K and boost the immune system by increasing the production of the protective barrier that lines your stomach and intestines. This prevents pathogens and undigested food from making its way into your blood stream, causing autoimmune and allergic responses like seasonal allergies, eczema and general gut irritability. They also help increase the flow of bile, which is necessary for the digestion of fats and fat-soluble vitamins and elimination of toxins that the liver filters out. In addition, there’s phytonutrients in the herbs, fruits and veggies added for flavoring, and the tannins from the tea. Kombucha is also more acidic, so it can aid in the digestion of food by lowering the ph of the stomach. In the future, I’m planning on making special lines for gut health, detoxification and digestion grown from my community orchard.”

The recent boom in kombucha isn’t just a coincidence. 

“Everyone wants to be healthier, and I think this is where it started. I think those drinking kombucha know it's healthy or at least much better than drinking sugary drinks. There’s also a huge push from the people demanding more healthy options at a reasonable price, and I think this is a direct result from that. Artisan Kombucha has given me a platform to express the importance of health through the food you eat and healthy digestion. I'm proud of what it’s become and am always so flattered when I get positive feedback. Artisan Kombucha has taken me from a place of dreaming to that of reality and has opened up so many doors of opportunity.”

Find Artisan Kombucha all over Kansas City in local restaurants, food trucks, health food stores and farmers markets. For more information, visit artisankombuchakc.com

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