There’s a satisfaction in cracking open a bottle of something carbonated. Tiny bubbles swim to the top as sound escapes its confines. Though ancient in origin, in just the last couple of years a lightly effervescent beverage has made waves in the market – kombucha. The fermented, sweetened black or green tea is a probiotic packing numerous health benefits. Aware of its healing properties and a need for wellness both physical and emotional, yogi Charity Joy Robinson is brewing her own brand in Sag Harbor that encompasses all of her life’s philosophies.
Kombat-Cha by Chari-Tea-Joy highlights what the tea is supposed to do. When your body is fighting toxins, it goes into combat by putting good bacteria up against bad, resulting in a healthier body inside and out. There are several benefits this tea is said to have, including assisting gut health, weight loss, increased energy, cleansing and detoxification, immune support and reduced joint pain. Taste, however, has been a deterrent for some.
“Some kombucha has a very strong acidic taste to it,” Robinson explains. “Kombat-Cha is different in the way that it actually tastes really good. This is why I created my own brew to begin with. I did not want to hold my nose every time I had to take a drink of this health lifestyle elixir.”
Produced at the Amagansett Food Institute, Kombat-Cha natural flavors, including ginger, turmeric, coconut verbena and mint rose, offer various superfood benefits. Robinson’s favorite is made with lavender sourced from Lavender by the Bay on the North Fork and fresh-pressed ginger to give it a kick. This concoction is called Linger, and is a reminder of both her time living in the south of France and her travels in Asia.
The process of making Kombat-Cha is a creative one for Robinson. A symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY), which is referred to as “the mother,” is added to the black or green tea once cooled to the appropriate temperature. This feeds off of the caffeine and sugar to produce a probiotic, lightly effervescent drink, resulting in the first fermentation. The second fermentation happens when the kombucha is bottled in 4 or 16-ounce bottles. After these are sealed, the beverage continues to ferment, creating a natural fizz.
There is a bit of a learning curve to this, especially when fermentation is happening in the bottle. When Robinson first began this venture while living on the island of Mustique in the Caribbean, she had found a pool of liquid in her kitchen that trailed back to the cabinet where she stored her kombucha bottles.
“As this was something new to me, there were minor bottle explosions at first,” she recalls, which is common for other fermented brews including beer and sparkling wine as well. “I learned how to moderate the fermentation process through temperature, and the likelihood of explosions lessened.”
There is a very small percentage of alcohol in kombucha beverages, typically just .5 percent. Having made a lifestyle of movement into her career, Robinson teaches people to have an awareness of their being and body through movement including yoga and dance. Discovering what your body needs and supplying that is something she can relate to drinking kombucha as well. She says that while the recommended dose is 4 ounces for a beginner and no more than 16 ounces per day, it’s up to the individual to find what feels good for them.
Kombat-Cha was inspired in response to the question, “If you could enhance a super power within you, meaning some healthy anecdote to bring more ease in your body, what would that be?” Among her answers were to balance body and soul, choosing oneself, attract kindred souls, and finding courage. With that, she bottled this healthy elixir filled with her own optimism and joy for living an abundant life.
Currently in the beginning stages of bringing Kombat-Cha to the general public, Robinson has set up a Go Fund Me to help cover costs including FDA lab testing, kitchen rental costs, bottling and labeling supplies, among other startup costs to get her kombucha in stores. More information about her work and the tea can be found at charityjoymovement.com.