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Craft Kombucha from Jarr, Hackney.
Kombucha, that achingly hipster non-alcoholic drink and Hackney could be made for each other – and that’s where Jarr Kombucha originated. A few years ago the Kombucha craze hit London. A non-alcoholic drink with its own flavour profile. One that tasted like a grown-up drink and worked as well with food as by itself. And, one that did you good and was low-calorie too. It sounds like a dream doesn’t it? But the reality is that properly brewed kombucha is all that.
One of the catches with fashionable drinks is that they can quickly become bastardised by mass-market demand – and that’s certainly something that happened in the kombucha sector. A craft kombucha will be brewed with tea and a little sugar together with the SCOBY (that stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). The fizz generally comes from a second fermentation so that it’s soft on the mouth. Kombucha naturally contains acetic acid and antioxidant polyphenols which are good for your gut. And, if flavourings are added they will complement the kombucha rather than masking it and perhaps have additional health benefits of their own. The kombucha you find in the supermarket may not have the same health-giving properties because when the fermentation is stopped the drink is sweetened and flavoured to make it closer to a regular fruit juice. It may also be carbonated, in the same way that some sparkling water is treated.
JARR Kombucha was inspired by a visit to Los Angeles, where founders Tom, Jess, Neil and Adam discovered a mutual love for the fermented drink. They opened London’s first commercial kombucha brewery in Autumn 2015 with three of the flavours you can still buy today – Original, Ginger and Passion Fruit. And, the JARR Bar was started – the first kombucha taproom in Europe, in a warehouse space in Hackney Wick.
In 2018 with a view to expanding, JARR partnered with Duvel Moortgat, a 4th generation family of speciality breweries established in Belgium in 1871. Duvel Moortgat has a rich tradition of growing sustainable businesses using only the best quality ingredients and procedures. At the end of 2019, JARR began construction of a brand new, state of the art kombucha brewery in Belgium. Today, as part of the Duvel Moortgat family, JARR’s goal is to share premium kombucha with more people than ever before.
I’ve been trying my way through the range. There are four flavours in total, Original, Passion Fruit, Raspberry and Ginger. All delicious and I suspect rather good as cocktail mixers because they add flavour without sweetness or alcohol.
My personal favourite is ginger, which is made by adding 2% of organic Peruvian ginger root to the recipe. It’s delicious by itself or with a slice of lemon and a squeeze of juice. And, it has just 18 calories per 100ml so perfect if you are trying to watch your weight.
You’ll find all the JARR Kombucha range at Selfridge’s Harrods, Wholefood, Planet Organic or online at their own website with a 240ml bottle retailing at around £2.29