Healthy Living Staff Visits Aqua Vitea
(Aqua Vit-tea) – “the tea water of life:”
A little play on the Latin expression “In Aqua Vitae Veritas,” or, “in living water there is truth.”
We have Aqua Vitea Kombucha on tap in bulk here at Healthy Living, and we also use it to make wonderful juices and smoothies in our Café. Kombucha has been around for thousands of years, and we were curious about what goes into making this “elixir of life,” so it seemed about time for a few of us from our Vermont location to go visit them at their production facility in Bristol, VT.
The first thing we saw was this:
…being painted by the master brewer, who happens to be responsible for Aqua Vitea’s art design. The mural is a work in progress, representing visually how Aqua Vitea produces its Kombucha.
First you make tea, and then you ferment it with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. The time it takes to ferment the tea can vary by several days. Despite being fermented in a room that never changes temperature, the culture can be affected by the change in seasons and the weather. It’s interesting that the culture can be affected by the elements even when it’s safely indoors.
Here we are learning about recapturing the energy of the hot tea during the cooling process, it will be used to heat the water for brewing the next batch. This saves a ton of energy, as the tea must be cooled before it can be introduced to the cultures, and the water must be heated to make the tea.
New and seasonal flavors have been coming out lately, along with some interesting stories to go with them. For example, we learned that for the seasonal Watermelon flavor, the crew at Aqua Vitea spent a whole day juicing over a thousand pounds of watermelon. The watermelon itself was grown by one of our favorite vendors, Eric Rozendaal, at Rockville Market Farm. Eric supplies us with Eric’s eggs, and you can look up the farm at http://rockvillemarketfarm.com.
The new Hibiscus Lime flavor was inspired by local artist and friend Rory Jackson. Jackson started the Trinity Yard School (http://trinityyardschool.org/) in Cape Three Points, Ghana, to provide a fee-free secondary education with a primary focus on skills training in arts-oriented trades. The design on the label comes from local patterns that the school is working to preserve by providing access to arts training, and the flavor was inspired by a local West African drink called “bissop.”
We can’t wait to see what else these good people come up with, and are very grateful they took the time to show us around. Oh, and for the free kombucha too, thanks guys!
If you would like to learn more about Aqua Vitea’s mission, ingredient sourcing, or products, their website is cool and even includes a video on their water source! Click here to check it out.