I’m a bit embarrassed to admit I was something of a kombucha tea ingenue before spending time with the Kombucha Queen herself, Hannah Crum. She prefers to go by the name Kombucha Mamma, actually, but because she reigns as kombucha master brewer, community educator, entrepreneur, and mentor to thousands of new and experienced homebrewers all over the world, queen just feels right.
Kombucha, as Hannah patiently explained to me, is fermented tea which is an ancient elixir consumed for thousands of years by civilizations all over the planet. Simply put: It’s a living health drink full of probiotics and other healthy amino acids, and it helps get the toxins to flow out of the body. It boasts healing properties that include better digestion, increased energy, and a clearer mind, and ultimately helps bring the body back into balance so that it may heal itself naturally. Hannah’s students tell her that kombucha has given them more energy, helped them with digestion, and curbed their sugar cravings. “When you crave sugar something is out of balance,” said Hannah.
The way it’s made is something of an art Hannah has mastered over the years. Kombucha is created by fermenting tea and sugar with the kombucha culture (often called a scoby which stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts). The culture is placed in sweetened black or green tea and transforms the tea into a drink full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and organic acids.
Hannah first discovered kombucha while visiting a friend from San Francisco. “My friend’s girlfriend had this mysterious jar which I had never heard of, and I was really intrigued by it,” said Hannah. Upon returning home to LA, she decided to seek out kombucha herself and give it a go. “I was like, ‘wow, this stuff is really good,’ and I really liked the way it made me feel. It resonated with me.”
And so her journey into the world of kombucha began. She found books on kombucha, scoured the internet, and began brewing herself. The hobby soon evolved into an intense passion, perhaps even love affair, and she began blogging about her experiences and started to teach classes. At the time, her boyfriend thought the whole thing was weird.
But he eventually came around, and those early teaching days ignited something special in Hannah she had never felt before. She realized that she wasn’t meant to just teach a class here and there, her purpose was to help others all over the world through kombucha.
To Hannah, kombucha isn’t simply a tea to drink to be healthy, it’s a lifestyle. “It’s not about a drink, it’s about mentality. It’s about looking at your food in a different way. Kombucha is a lens through which we can talk about broader issues and it’s a gateway into abundance.”
Hannah’s site, Kombucha Kamp, is brimming with useful insights, stories, and tools to help anyone attain the kombucha lifestyle. Hannah offers up easy-to-digest information, kombucha recipes, free videos on brewing, bottling and flavoring kombucha, and a store which has everything one needs to brew kombucha themselves.
Since launching her business in 2004, Hannah’s faced her challenges, as every innovator faces, but nothing she hasn’t been able to figure out for herself (just like that first batch of kombucha she made). Entrepreneurship has been a medium to which she’s built a strong community of like-minded individuals, and she values the relationships she’s forged along the way. “I’m connected to people who care about whole foods, and it’s great to make those mutually beneficial relationships happen. We’re all so interconnected, I feel the more I can draw on other resources, the more diverse my business can grow.”
What keeps Hannah going and evolving is the power of kombucha. “It gives me the energy to move forward to get everything done.”
New to Kombucha? Get Hannah’s free starter kit here, she’ll be your brew buddy!