Kombucha is a sweetened, fermented tea that has been produced in Asia for more than 2,000 years. It was originally known as the “Tea of Immortality” dating back to the third century BC in China. In recent years, health stores in the west began to carry it because of its impressive probiotitc benefits from detoxifying and improved digestion to improved energy. This year it became a break through beverage with wider appeal.
Why do we love it?
Kombucha has a notable fizzy, carbonated taste that makes it a great alternative to sodas and alcoholic beverages. Want to feel festive without the alcohol - try kombucha. Craving a crisp refresher after a ski, spin, or cycle - grab a kombucha. Looking for a new twist in your mixology - reach for kombucha!
Seriously, it’s a renaissance drink.
We start with our fairly traded and organic tea. We sourced them directly from gardens in China, India, and Sri Lanka. The tea is brewed, sweetened and fermented using a symbiotic colony of both yeast and bacteria called a ‘scoby’. This scoby, or ‘mother’, slowly converts sugar in the tea into CO2 to give it a lightly fizzy, carbonated texture, and ethanol which results in a negligible alcohol content of less than 1%. This process is controlled by time – the longer the kombucha is left to ferment, the more sugar is consumed. Given the complexity of kombucha, we’ve taken the time to make sure we’re getting the recipes right.
Once the tea is fermented it’s ready to enjoy or blend with fresh juice. Our Iron Goddess Oolong kombucha has nothing added. It’s simply beautiful oolong tea that has the colour and consistency of champagne in the glass. Our Raspberry Green is green tea kombucha with macerated raspberries for a light berry blush. Our Jasmine Green Ginger starts with our delicate Jasmine Scented Green with fresh pressed ginger juice.
Enjoy our kombucha by the bottle at all Bridgehead shops and on tap at many locations. One litre growlers of Raspberry Green are available at our Roastery and will roll out to all shops soon.
Visit our shop listings to see which ones have kombucha taps. We are looking forward to new kombucha creations in the coming year.
We love being an Ottawa home-grown business with so many local farms nearby to partner with. One such partnership is with Rideau Pines Farm over in North Gower. The Vandenbergs took over an abandoned dairy farm in 1980 and revamped the poorly drained spot into a great place for growing a mix of berries and vegetables.
Have you had a chance to enjoy one of our new summer salads? If so, you’ve already had the chance to taste some of these great ingredients grown just by your doorstep! We’re so excited to be buying kale, broccoli, cabbage, and other vegetables from Rideau Pines at the moment and simply can’t wait until we can taste some upcoming treats beets and strawberries. We are trying to incorporate as many locally produced fruits and vegetables in our food as we can to support our neighbours, maximize freshness and curtail the carbon footprint normally left by shipping produce over longer distances.
Rideau Pines, like a great many other farms, is often limited in the type of produce it’s able to put on the market. Farms and grocery shops alike can have a hard time selling ‘ugly’ produce that’s perfectly fresh and delicious, but not shaped similarly to the ‘perfect’ shape we normally expect. It may be surprising, but, up to 30% of perfectly good produce in Canada and United States can end up being tossed at some point in the supply chain due to cosmetics alone. Farms like Rideau Pines usually absorb the cost of this imperfectly shaped produce.
We’ve formed a partnership with Rideau Pines in which we’ll purchase much of their perfectly good food for use in products where the flavour of the produce is what counts rather then the look. In this way our soups, salads, and sandwiches will all benefit from having a much higher proportion of fresh ingredients from local farms. We will buy much of this typically unsellable produce when it’s in season and flash-freeze it in our kitchen to lock in as much of the freshness and nutrition as possible for use in soups during those cold winter months.
This partnership is a win/win for everyone involved. We’re able to keep more of the produce that goes into things like our soups local which means things like a smaller carbon footprint to produce the food, better, fresher flavours, and it benefits Rideau Pines Farm since they’re able to sell produce that they would otherwise not have been able to. If you’re curious to see the source of so much of the produce we use here in our food, you can even check out the farm for yourself! They’re open for produce sales, tractor rides, and you can even go and pick your own produce at the farm. If you’re interested in learning more, you can check them out by visiting their website.
We’re excited to have launched a new coffee service that provides an amazing opportunity for our coffee loving customers to enjoy our best coffees at many locations across the city.
Our innovative work in sourcing excellent green coffee has allowed us to build a number of relationships with small producer associations that are now yielding truly remarkable coffees. We think these are among the best coffees available and represent the remarkable ability of these producers to grow and deliver amazing quality. To date we have been limited to offering our best coffees in our 12oz bags and we would love nothing more than to make them available by the cup at our coffeehouses across town. Our new pour over service is what allows us to do this.
Pour over is not exactly a new invention – manual pour over has been around for decades and perfecting various pour over methods has been the focus of professional baristas around the world over the past decade. We have had a limited pour over offering ourselves at the roastery since we opened in 2012.
The difficulty with manual pour over is that the process is fairly volatile and carries a high probability of bad extraction. Manual brewing involves carefully heating a kettle to an exact temperature, using a scale to measure out coffee and water, and getting the pouring technique and timing exactly right. There is a reason why there is a world championship for manual brewing…
Happily, new technology has made pour over very repeatable and efficient and we’re very pleased to be using some rather nice new equipment in our pour over service that eliminates the lack of repeatability normally inherent to the process. Using a high quality grinder with a built-in scale and an under-counter, programmable water dispenser allows us to have confidence that each pour over we serve will be a great expression of the coffee we’re using.
Pour over takes full advantage of our supply of remarkable coffees, often the result of the work that our coffee buying team does travelling the world and working closely with supply partners and producers to find the best coffees in the communities where we buy. By making these coffees more easily available to enjoy by the cup we are working to improve the opportunity of talented producers to sell more of their coffee for high, quality-driven price premiums.
Currently on the pour over rotation we have the best coffee from Ecuador we’ve ever bought, along with a very special new coffee that we sourced in Uganda last year from the Kasungu Bahungu community and our tasty Peruvian single producer microlot from Elías Palomino Julca. Coming in the next few months we’ll start to see Central American coffees arrive fresh off harvest - there are some exceptional coffees on the way from some our favorite producers in Guatemala and Honduras!We have launched pour over mostly at five of our coffeehouses including: 130 Anderson, 440 Richmond, 1437 Ogilvie, 2140 Carling, and 4027 Innes and intend to roll out more. As part of our pour over service we include a small carafe of coffee prepared on our ModBar and a short story on the microlot you’re enjoying. It’s a treat to take time and enjoy the work and craft that has gone into creating these special coffees. Let us know what you think!