Image by TBL Photography
FOOD GLORIA'S FOOD - July 2016 - Kansas City
Bottling living tea is an ancient art perfected by one passionate master brewer
By Gloria Gale
Lisa Bledsoe is a Scoby Master.
The busy wife and mother is the epitome of an entrepreneur dedicated to mastering the art of blending an organic, probiotic beverage known as kombucha.
“It all began as a hobby then spilled over into business called Tea-Biotics Artisan Kombucha,” she says.
Intrigued by the process which begins with the scoby or starter composed of a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, the infusion is combined with black tea, a bit of organic sugar, filtered water and fresh juice.
The entire concoction ferments in 30 days or so. The results become kombucha, a healthy, effervescent brew that most people find delightful with the first swig.
Tea-Biotics passion is to brew locally the best raw kombucha on the market.
Bledsoe’s mission is straightforward, “Our unique culture of bacteria and yeast gives our kombucha a flavor profile unlike any other. Flavors vary from traditional to unconventional; it is our mission to create raw kombucha that is defined by its complexity as well as its deliciousness that aids in good health. We are passionate about organic ingredients, sustainability, the environment, and our community! We strive to make our planet a better place to live through positive health and living consciousness.”
Her ‘laboratory’ is a 2,000 square-foot facility based in Lenexa where stainless steel tanks ferment with Bledsoe’s healthy potion.
She’s learned to be patient where, over the next month, the tea will ripen and flavors added.
Bledsoe produces 2,000 gallons of kombucha per month with exciting and often unexpected flavors from Root Beer, Peach, and Blueberry to Key Lime and Lavender.
Since she’s a regular vendor at the weekly Overland Park Farmer’s market, “A tasting is what most people who are unfamiliar with kombucha want first. Many flavors are seasonal and there are always new profiles to try,” says Bledsoe who loves to watch the expression on a customer’s face as she hands an ounce or two of the refreshingly fizzy tea.
Momentary skepticism by some instantly turns to thumbs-up followed by a request for an icy cup or bottle of the tea.
“Not only is it a digestive aid but kombucha is a perfect alternative for people looking to promote an alkaline environment in the body,” she adds.
According to Bledsoe, the list below touting kombucha’s attributes is enough to turn most people into regular sippers.
Aids digestion and weight loss
Decreases anxiety and depression, increases mental clarity
Cleansing and detoxifying
Along with the help of Bledsoe’s husband, Ed, her daughter Alexis and partners, Sally stokesberry, and Mallory Price , the busy Scoby Master is in high gear, marketing her kombucha in a variety of retail establishments including: Whole Foods markets, The Brew Gallery and Bulk-It to name a few.
At $3 for 16 ounces, Tea-Biotics Kombucha is quite a bargain.
Stop by the Overland Park Farmer’s Market and say hi and ask for a swig. Visit www.Tea-Biotics.com.
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Kansas City writer, producer, and photostylist Gloria Gale is a sleuth when it comes to discovering interesting features for the media.
As a native she's compiled a burgeoning collection of editorial features on food, travel and lifestyle for national and local magazines, books, individuals, and corporate clients.
Most recently, Gloria profiled area restaurants as a columnist for 435 Magazine and was one of KCUR's Food Critics radio program.
Want to know where to find the best tastes in town? Contact Gloria: firstname.lastname@example.org