Have you heard about kombucha? It’s a fermented tea beverage with quite the history. It likely originated in China — says Lorman Ip, CEO of the Guelph-based LIVE Kombucha — before it spread west into Mongolia and Russia. And then, in about the early 2000s, the beverage grew in popularity in North America. I’m not sure of its journey before the early 2000s, but people have been passing down the culture that’s used to make the bevvy for quite some millennia.
Lorman bought the Live Kombucha brand in early 2014. Since then, he’s built up the business to offer four tasty flavours of certified-organic-fermented-tea-wonderfulness: Lemon Ginger, Citrus Heat, Naked Blend and Oolong Orange. The beverage is packaged in clear glass bottles that can be recycled.
Lorman became interested in brewing at quite a young age. He remembers the very first time he experimented and tried to make rum. Pirates mystified him, and so did their beverage. He recalls being amazed at how a plant such as sugar cane could produce a drink loved by many.
He also grew up in a Chinese household where he was surrounded by tea. He’ll tell you how he’s always had “absolute love and faith in tea.” And once he started his PhD he also became a ‘wino’ – he went on winery tours, smelled the wondrous bouquets of many vinos and eventually joined a wine club and started to make his own wine.
Lorman took that love for wine and started experimenting, combining it with his love for tea. He started to make kombucha at home, eventually getting the recipe right. He had so much that he started to offer it to friends and family. He also reports feeling better once he started to drink the stuff – recalling how even his skin became clearer. I’m sure there are many who would get on the kombucha train for that alone.
Yet there are other health benefits too. It’s a probiotic that contains B vitamins and vitamin C. And according to Lorman, whose PhD is in neuroscience, drinkers of the bevvy, as well as tea, can get a happy feeling because of the compounds L-theanine and theophylline.
I have to say I really like kombucha. It doesn’t have nearly as much sugar as pop or many juices and its light carbonation combined with its zesty, earthy flavours are a nice change from good old H2O. It’s likely one of the healthiest beverages out there!!
And finally, I asked brew master Lorman what “peace” is to him. And here’s his answer:
“Peace is having a clear direction and knowing that one is fulfilling one’s true purpose. From my experience, the best way to obtain this is complete and unmitigated honestly to the self and acceptance of one’s true character. This is so often confused with what we would like ourselves to be; which is a combination of ego and fulfilling the standards of others. To truly know and accept the self is often much more esoteric and more difficult to do.”
Now how about a fizzy-kombucha-cheers to that?
For more information about LIVE Kombucha, visit their website here.
An expanded version of this story will appear in Edible Toronto Magazine this summer.