Tami Jervis is the founder of TapTap Kombucha, an Orange-based small-batch brand that aims to “bring balance to your body and to the world.”
How did you first learn about kombucha?
About 10 years ago, my daughter, Brooklynn, was struggling with intestinal issues. She had been prescribed a steroid regimen, but I didn’t want to do that because she was only 12. I started researching holistic ways to heal the gut, and kombucha was one of them. I knew someone who was making kombucha, so I got a SCOBY and started making my own.
What is a SCOBY?
It’s an acronym for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. It looks like a rubber pancake, and it is alive, similar to a plant or sourdough starter in that it needs to be fed and has to breathe. I love my SCOBYs.
How do you make kombucha?
It’s a double-fermentation process. The SCOBY is fed with sweet tea and ferments 10 to 12 days. The kombucha then ferments with fruit and herbs for flavor. The result is a bubbly, refreshing, fermented tea packed with active culture and probiotics. TapTap Kombucha is small-batch brewed to keep the integrity and quality of the product. It is unpasteurized, 100 percent raw, and organic. It’s not an exact science, but that makes it fun. I can be creative and try different things. I have four standard flavors—blueberry ginger, strawberry ginger, strawberry mint, and wild berry—but I like to go to the Orange farmers market and get creative with what’s in season. Recently, I made orange basil and spiced pear kombuchas.
What are the health benefits?
We hear “bacteria” and think we don’t want that, but the gut microbiome needs good bacteria. In America, we are taught to use antibiotics and antibacterial soap, but if you kill all the bacteria, your body can’t fight off anything that might come at it. Drinking kombucha is not a magic cure-all, but it’s an easy way to help build up the good gut bacteria. Also, we don’t consume nearly enough raw food to get the enzymes we need for proper digestion. Kombucha has a huge enzyme content, and that’s another reason it’s helpful to your overall health. Kombucha can help ward off illness and keep the body strong and balanced.
Any recommendations for consumption?
It really depends on the person. I often tell people to drink 4 ounces in the morning and see how their body responds. My family has been drinking it for 10 years. My four kids are athletes. They drink kombucha instead of sports drinks because kombucha has glucosamine for their joints and vitamin B for energy, and the sugar content is low compared to sports drinks. I typically drink an 8-ounce glass after working out, and I put some in a wine glass at night when I’m cooking dinner. It’s my little treat.
What does TapTap mean?
Taptaps are colorful taxi buses in Haiti. For eight years, my family has had a relationship with a community in Cite Soleil, Haiti, which is known as the poorest community in the Western Hemisphere. The relationship began with bringing aid after the 2010 earthquake, and we fell in love with the people. There is power in bringing positive change to the world, and when we give out of our excess we feel lighter, more balanced, and more hopeful. As we realized the need for high school for kids in Cite Soleil, we began brainstorming ideas for how we could bring about sustainable help. Brooklynn said, “Why not sell your kombucha and use the money to put kids in school?” The first year we had 16 kids, and this year there are 53. We’ve gotten many of our friends to cover the $400 sponsorship to pay for each child’s education. TapTap funds any additional sponsorship costs, plus employing three Haitians to direct the program and two drivers for the taptaps, the taxi buses that take kids to school. Right now, 100 percent of TapTap’s profits go toward this. I love going there two times during the school year to soak in the joy and gratefulness of these kids. It keeps me motivated to keep growing TapTap.
Where to Find It!
TapTap Kombucha is available at Tru Bru Organic Coffee (where Jervis makes her kombucha), Humbowl in Orange, and Honeypot Brewery in Anaheim. Subscriptions are also available. For more, visit taptapkombucha.com.