Kombucha fermented in St. Pete making guts happy across Florida

- Kombucha's popularity is exploding, which is great news for a Bay Area fermenter that seems to have perfected its recipe.

Simply put, kombucha is fermented tea.

“The history of kombucha is shrouded in history and folklore,” said Mother Kombucha co-founder Tonya Donati.  

“It starts with a culture which is a yeast and a bacteria living together. People called it a SCOBY, or mother. That’s where our mother came from,” co-founder Josh Rumschlag said. “You take a sweetened tea and introduce that culture and let it ferment for a week or so."

Mother Kombucha in St. Pete has perfected that recipe. The company has been around since 2014 and now has about 16 employees. 

You’ll find their bottles on store shelves across the state, including at Publix.

“We started in a tiny commercial kitchen with a 100 square feet of work space and we just worked into our new 13,000 square foot facility,” said Donati.

A big part of kombucha’s appeal is its reported health benefits.

“A lot of people are reducing their soda intake and juice intake, as well as beer intake. I think it fits with a [certain] lifestyle people are starting to live,” Rumschlag said.

Mother Kombucha brews and bottles several different locally inspired flavors: Hopped Passion Fruit, Blood Orange Ginger, and Blue Rose, to name a few.

“There's a lot of science involved with kombucha and fermentation but there's also a craft or an art,” Rumschlag said.

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