Thirsty? How about a glass of the Tea of Immortality? That is the heady, historic nickname of kombucha, a fermented tea believed to have first been brewed in Asia as far back 200 BC. Now, thousands of years later, Adam Barfield, Lewisboro native and founder of the Beacon-based Blessed Brewery, is making craft kombucha, infusing his drinks with local herbs and fruits. “I wanted to produce something that benefits other people,” says Barfield of his decision to start the Beacon-based company that sells its wares at farmers’ markets throughout Westchester.
While the immortality claim might be a stretch, kombucha is believed to aid digestion by “adding micro-bacteria to the gut,” says Barfield, which, in turn, imparts an “overall sense of vitality,” due to a link between mental and digestive well-being.
Barfield’s interest in kombucha began when he was farming mushrooms, as the culture used to grow them is similar to kombucha’s SCOBY, or symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. Adding this to organic tea with “just enough” sugar sparks the fermentation process, he explains, lending a natural fizziness but little alcohol — no more than .5 percent, as required by state law.
Before bottling, Barfield flavors his different varieties that include Fairy Tonic featuring local strawberries and ginger, Truth Serum blended with local raspberries and cacao, and Wizard Sticks containing a mix of sassafras and sarsaparilla.
While kombucha is sometimes described as ‘sour,’ Barfield says his brews are “so incredibly fresh, that the potential vinegar notes aren’t there. People tell us our beverages are amazing, unlike anything they’ve ever tried.”
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The kombuchas are offered on a rotating basis at Beacon Farmers’ Market, John Jay Homestead Farm Market, Chappaqua Farmers’ Market, and TaSH Farmers’ Market but also check blessedbrewery.com for a list of where and when the products will be available.