There has been a health kick in Montreal in the last few years that is taking over the masses. Everyone is a fan of unsweetened coconut water, fresh pressed juices, vegan restaurants, and don't get me started on the gluten-free craze.
Kombucha is a new health trend taking over the city but people don't exactly know why they feel amazing after drinking it. Kombucha is a naturally fermented living tea... in layman's terms it is a drink made of four simple ingredients: water, sugar, tea and SCOBY. Don't be afraid of the sugar, its for the probiotics to eat or else they cannot release the good bacteria without it. SCOBY is a mix of bacteria and yeast in order for the fermentation process to take place with the probiotics. The final product that we get to enjoy is a light bubbly drink that has a nice balance of sweetness and tartness.
Ok, all this all may sound a bit gross, but it's not. We all eat sourdough bread, sauerkraut, pickles, olives, kimchee, etc. these all undergo the same fermentation process and they are all incredibly good for us. Studies show that 95% of the feel-good neurotransmitters are in the gut, which is why it's common to binge eat when we are sad. By letting your gut get all the healthy bacteria from these foods, your basically giving your body a gift.
Kombucha has a myriad of benefits such as improved digestion, mental clarity, mood stability, weight loss, increase in energy, detoxification, immune system booster and reduced joint pain... basically you will feel like a super hero (of your choosing - not getting into the DC vs Marvel debate) by including kombucha in your everyday diet.
Photo cred - risekombucha
Rise was one of the first commercialized kombucha's available in Montreal that began in the kitchens of everyone's favorite organic, vegan and raw restaurant - Crudessence. It can now be found in most grocery stores and even some deps.
Vee Kombucha was first on the market in June 2014, created by a couple in Bellechasse, Quebec. At first it was sold under the name Vytavy Kombucha, then to be rebranded as Vee Kombucha. You can find Vee at a variety of Montreal outlets, including IGA Atwater Market, and La Salle A Manger on Mont-Royal E.
Tonica Kombucha started in small kitchen in Toronto in 2008 by a travelling yoga instructor. The news of Tonica made its rounds to finally need a large production kitchen. The Kombrewery is still based out of Toronto, but Tonica is available throughout Canada. There is a variety of retail sellers of Tonica in Monteal, my favorite though is Aliments Merci at Jean-Talon Market... because then you just HAVE to enjoy your day at one of the best Montreal markets!
4. Medicinal Kitchen
Medicinal Kitchen Kombucha is the closest thing you will get to home made kombucha in the city. The owner, Claudie, produces weekly to ensure each bottle will ferment enough before selling. She created flavors that no other company has, like Apple Spice, and Elderberry (my personal favorite!). You can pick up a bottle of her kombucha at Coop du Grand Orme, Twigs Cafe, or the St-Annes de Bellevue market every Saturday.
GT's Kombucha was created in 1995 by GT Dave at the age of 15 when his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. He wanted to help with her treatment and found articles on the health drink, so began production - hand delivering bottles to the local grocery stores. 15 years later his company makes 17 different flavors and retail sells across the U.S. and Canada. GTs can be found at Depot Organique.
Photo cred - reddit
Synergy Kombucha is a the second line of Kombucha that GT's released. Their production method for Synergy is "batch to bottle" which allows them to produce the freshest and most active kombucha available. Synergy is available at Tau.
7. Wonder Drink Kombucha
Inspired in Russia, Steve Lee learnt about kombucha in the 90's and brought it back to Portland, Oregon where he produces Wonder Drink Kombucha, available across the US and Canada. You can find it in Montreal at Tau and Cafe Parvis.
8. La Bioferme des Caps
La Bioferme des Caps is a certified organic producer of kombucha, close to Quebec city. Their kombucha is slightly different from other producers because they use locally collected ingredients, such as elderberries and sea-buckthorn. Their kombucha is available from many retailers, including A Votre Sante on Sherbrooke West and C'est La Vie on Laurier Est.