If you like the fizz of soda but prefer a more healthful beverage you might want to try kombucha – made fresh and on tap here in Moab.
Lisa and Cody Carter opened Wild Bloom Fermentations in 2017 and moved into their new location last year at 51 E. 100 South where they typically offer five different flavors on tap any given day. Flavors are rotated every week or two.
Kombucha is a fermented tea-based product with probiotics and digestive enzymes in a sweet tea base. It’s made by adding a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). Once the beverage is fermented, the SCOBY is removed and the beverage is typically flavored with fruit or fruit juice. You can also drink it plain.
According to an online Smithsonian article kombucha’s origin is uncertain although research points to the Chinese drinking the fermented tea for its purported health benefits during the Qin Dynasty in 221 BCE.
Kombucha proponents say it’s good for digestion and gut health.
“We started drinking it for its health benefits – as a digestive aid,” Lisa Carter said. Plus, “It’s a nice alternative to soda.”
Currently on tap are grape, a blueberry-rose-lavender blend, orange vanilla, and cranapple. Other popular flavors include strawberry rose, blood orange basil, lime ginger, grapefruit lavender and raspberry habanero. Sometimes they’ll offer a margarita flavor (you add your own tequila).
Wild Bloom kombuchas are all-natural, said Lisa Carter. They use organic ingredients and locally-grown produce as much as possible. No artificial flavors are added.
Carter said she decided to start a kombucha business in Moab after visiting a Whole Foods store in Boulder, Colorado, where people could bring their own containers to fill from the tap. She bought a couple of kegs and she and Cody started brewing their own.
Cody Carter has been a beer brewer for 20 years and currently works at Moab Brewery. He had a lot of knowledge of the basics of brewing kombucha. Lisa Carter liked the idea of offering the beverage on tap to cut down on waste.
“We really encourage people to bring their own containers,” she said. “A lot of locals fill up their own growlers.”
Their new shop has a couple of tables outside and an attached porch for people who want to enjoy a drink on the premises.
Wild Bloom kombuchas are on the menu at several local eateries: Desert Bistro, Trailhead Public House and Eatery, Gloria’s Corner Café, and Horsethief Coffee. The beverage is also for sale at Moonflower Community Cooperative. Some restaurants use the kombucha in their cocktails.
Additionally, Wild Bloom Fermentations sells sauerkraut from Castle Valley Farms, and kimchi by Underground Fermentation, owned by Kate Niederehe and Mike Niebuhr. Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made from salted and fermented vegetables.
Niederehe and Niebuhr formed Underground Fermentation (in Korea kimchi was traditionally fermented in a hole underground – hence the name) to make kimchi after visiting an Asian food market in Grand Junction where the owner shared her family recipe with them. Their kimchi includes napa cabbage, carrots, daikon radish, hot pepper, green onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, ginger and fish sauce – fermented in an all-natural salt brine (made from chopping up the cabbage and pounding it with salt). Cabbage juices combined with salt create brine. After resting a day or two, the other ingredients are added. The kimchi then ferments in barrels for five weeks.
“It’s supposed to be spicy,” Niederehe said.
They tweaked the recipe to create their own, and offer a vegan variety in addition to kimchi made with fish sauce.
According to Niederehe, kimchi can help regulate digestion. She thinks that it is one of the healthiest things you can eat.
“We got to the point we were craving it,” she said. “Our guts are in better shape than before.”
Underground Fermentation kimchi is also sold at Moonflower co-op. Niederehe said they hope to expand into other fermented vegetables and fruits, as well as condiments like ketchup.
You can eat kimchi as a side dish or added to sandwiches and other dishes.
“My favorite is on eggs with avocado,” Niederehe said. “It’s what I call my power breakfast.”
You can also substitute kimchi for salsa, or use on sausages – or however you would eat sauerkraut.
Wild Bloom Fermentations is open Monday through Friday, from 2 to 6 p.m.