Regina coffee shop brews up something different with kombucha on tap

1 / 5
Regina coffee shop brews up something different with kombucha on tap

Fermented tea now flows through the lines at Regina's 33 1/3 Coffee Roasters Heritage Café.

The coffee roasters put komubcha on tap last month, and this week the café is testing out a new formula.

Kombucha has become popular for its perceived health benefits. The drink is a fermented tea made from a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, commonly known as "SCOBY."

Eric Galbraith is the owner and head roaster at the café, and said he added kombucha to fill a gap in the local market.

"There wasn't too many people doing it in the city, and nobody had it on tap," he said. The café shares a space with local brewery Malty National, so it made sense for the shop.

"It's a great fit and I decided to take it on."

Typically, a kombucha brewer begins a new batch with black or green tea. Then the brewer adds a bit of liquid from a old batch, a SCOBY and a sweetener to feed the SCOBY. The SCOBY begins to eat sugar and starts to ferment.

That changes the flavour of the tea mixture.

"It's like a living type of thing," Galbraith said, noting it's hard to understand what a SCOBY is until you see it. 

Galbraith only started drinking the beverage last year. 

"The first sip I ever took, I didn't really like it but then it just started to really grow on me," he said. "The taste is really nice and there's health benefits to it." 

He said the drink is supposed to foster healthy gut bacteria, and compared the benefits of the bacteria culture to the fermented milk product kefir or yogurt.

For Galbraith, the learning curve was steep when he first started brewing.

"The first time I did it I definitely killed the SCOBY," Galbraith said, noting the process is not necessarily hard but you need to be particular in the method.

"It's a learning experience for sure," he said.

Galbraith has become comfortable with the process, so now he's starting to innovate.

On Thursday, he began to make a batch using cascara, which is the dried cherries from the coffee plant.

"This is the first batch we're going to try something different," he said. 

"When coffee cherries are picked from the tree, the outside layer looks like a cherry and the inside layer is the seed, and that's what you roast."

The outside layer is often put into the garbage or composted by coffee producers.

Galbraith used the outside layer to brew a tea before adding honey as a sweetener and the SCOBY.

He believes his café could be the first in North America to try this particular kombucha formula on this scale.

"It's an experiment but I'm fairly certain it's going to taste good."