New Leaf Kombucha is New Zealand’s first pure kombucha taproom

What do we mean by that? When we say 'pure' we mean two things.

Plenty of places do that way better than we can! We just focus on what we think we are good at - brewing kombucha. Secondly, our kombucha is pure as can be as we never use any colourings, flavourings or, gasp, preservatives.

We make all our kombucha with the same four ingredients: filtered water, organic tea leaves, organic cane sugar and our organic scoby, or kombucha culture. Our aim is to showcase the flavours, colours and beauty of the individual tea leaves which we import directly from Asia. No tea bags here! We are tea importers and we respect the leaf.

How did we get into the kombucha business?
I used to brew a lot of beer. Really, a lot. I got very interested in brewing and did a four-month online course at America’s oldest beer school, the Siebel Institute in Chicago. They have been teaching brewers for over 150 years so I thought it would be a good place to start. My other classmates were real brewers and worked professionally for breweries around the world. They were there to burnish their already deep knowledge of the brewing process. I was there to learn the basics and just try to keep up. And I did!

Beer brewing began to take over the house, however, and my normally tolerant and always wonderful wife was less and less tolerant (but still wonderful). One day she asked me, “If you like brewing so much why don’t you brew something that is good for people?” And from that moment, I was firmly nudged in the direction of making kombucha. My first batch failed. My second batch was from a scoby a friend mailed to me from Golden Bay. It worked! I was thrilled. I played around with the process and ratios until I felt I had it right. We started giving our kombucha away and people couldn’t get enough of it. And that is how this business began.

What flavours do you offer?
As I said before, all our kombucha is based on the organic tea leaves we source ourselves directly from Japan, China, Taiwan, Sri Lanka and India. We also use some teas from Africa. Many people don’t realize that kombucha is a fermented tea beverage and that you can’t make good kombucha with bad tea. In the taproom we always have our 'core four' kombucha on tap: Indian Assam tea kombucha, Indian Darjeeling tea kombucha, Sri Lankan black tea kombucha and Gunpowder green tea kombucha (from China). Our fifth tap is our guest brew. This is experimental and changes every week. As I write this, we currently have South African rooibos kombucha on tap and last week it was Japanese matcha kombucha.

Please describe the brewing process.
We brew our kombucha in our climate-controlled fermentation room that you can see through a big observation window when you enter our taproom. We are a plastic-free brewery and only use brewer’s grade stainless steel brewing buckets. Each one is 25L, so we are brewing very small batches at a time which allows us to strictly control quality.

First, we make the tea using organic tea leaves. Then we add the organic sugar and stir it up. Cold filtered water is added to the mix to bring the temperature down and get the right amount of dilution. Finally, our scoby is added, the bucket is covered in clean cotton cloth and we are done. Fermentation takes about 12 days, more or less, depending on the tea. When the brew is done, we keep 10% and use that for the next batch. This way our scoby, or culture, is always fresh and regenerating itself.

What is your personal favourite?
A tough question as it depends on my mood. I think my go-to kombucha is our Darjeeling, but I do have a soft spot for the rooibos kombucha, too. Best to have both!

Why Grey Lynn?
We have been fans of Grey Lynn for a long time and see lots of potential here. Our taproom is at 37 Crummer Road, which puts us right next to Ponsonby. With its focus on health and 'new trends we feel the area is a good match and we have fantastic neighbours'.

NEW LEAF KOMBUCHA, 37 Crummer Road, T: 09 360 0199,