We all have our preferred pick-me-up.
For most of the world, it’s coffee or tea. For some, it’s soda or energy drinks.
Julie Davidson has chosen kombucha.
She has been brewing the fermented tea beverage in her family’s Puyallup garage for a couple of years. By March, pending construction and inspections, she will open Tacoma’s first dedicated kombucha brewery and taproom at 2914 6th Ave. Think of it as a cafe by day, nonalcoholic bar by night.
Davidson’s kombucha will be on tap and in bottles — in flavors like ginger with plum, pineapple or mandarin, or seasonal specialties such as spiced apple — and eventually in nonalcoholic cocktails. Grab-and-go packs of fruit and nuts will complement the current ingredient list, and as an avid baker, Davidson will also sell homemade “healthy” treats: cookies, energy bars, sweet
It all ties into the elective sobriety movement, whose adherents are sometimes referred to, somewhat cheekily, as the “sober curious.” Whether for financial reasons or health benefits, but usually a combination of both, millennials and Gen Z have in recent years begun cutting back their alcohol intake.
Davidson, previously a management consultant and coach, is not a teetotaler, but she believes in the gut-health perks of consuming raw ingredients and live cultures and sees kombucha as “a wonderful complement” to other fermented beverages — yes, like wine and beer.
She first tried kombucha in San Francisco many years ago and proceeded to taste every available brand.
“I was determined to learn to like it,” she recalled.
Long available at health stores, mainstream grocery stores now sell the stuff, too, but commercial brands have, in some cases, sacrificed some of the health benefits to be shelf-stable. Many have just as much sugar as bottled tea. Raw kombucha, on the other hand, retains only the natural sugars from fruits and teas used in the process, fermented with the Scoby, or mother yeast strain.
Davidson will join a growing legion of kombucha brewers in the Pacific Northwest, including Olympia’s Rainbow Cloud, Lakewood’s KombuchaLuv, Iggy’s on Bainbridge Island and Seeking Kombucha in Seattle.
TACOMA’S FIRST KOMBUCHA TAPROOM
The modest storefront, on the same block as The Red Hot and down the street from Gather Juice Co., previously housed perhaps the opposite of all-natural energy: It was Ice Cream Social’s first location. Owner Layla Isaac last year moved production to a larger kitchen in Hilltop and will open a new shop in the Proctor District later in 2021.
“When I walked into the space, I said, ‘This is Komadre Kombucha,’” said Davidson, who is currently sub-leasing from Isaac.
The layout will look familiar, with seating along the main wall and the former ice cream counter morphing into the kombucha bar, where Davidson has already laid Havana finca tile, a distinct encaustic tile still prevalent, if worn, throughout Cuba, in honor of her familial roots. She is also part-Panamanian.
The name itself blends the Spanish comadre with the Tagalog (Filipino) kumare. Both terms refer to a “co-mother” or in some cases a godmother, but at the heart of the word is, as Davidson says, the comforting notion of “a woman who you would feel comfortable raising your children.”
She will intertwine her family heritage with every detail of the new taproom, from that tile to the music to a forthcoming mural by Marisol Ortega, a first-generation Mexican American artist based in Seattle and Tacoma whose colorful nature-focused work has been commissioned by the likes of Starbucks, Avon and the supermarket chain Publix.
“I’ve been really inspired from my own Latina heritage,” Davidson told The News Tribune this month, adding that she is working with a Latino-owned contractor.
Though she has not yet started brewing on-site, she has been offering home delivery — “free delivery within the 253!” — since last summer. Customers can order monthly subscriptions or one-offs.
When the taproom opens, she hopes to continue the family gathering place feeling that Ice Cream Social nurtured. She wants you to feel, as komadres do, at home.
▪ 2914 6th Ave., Tacoma, no phone yet, komadrekombucha.com
▪ Taproom targeting March 2021 opening; follow on Instagram @komadrekombuchafor flavor and store updates
▪ Get kombucha now: order online by Monday at 5 p.m. for pickup at the store or home delivery
Komadre Kombucha Illustrations by Marisol Ortega
Super happy to share a project I’ve been working on with Tacoma’s Latinx-owned Komadre Kombucha . I illustrated some fun new icons & refreshed the existing Komadre logo (originally not created by me)
Tacoma New’s Tribune – Written by Kristine Sherred