CommuniTea Kombucha's new Central District brewery has quietly been open since January, crafting the effervescent, slightly alcoholic fermented tea that has become popular across Seattle. Now the company will celebrate its grand opening on April 2 from 5 to 7 p.m. with samples and light refreshments.
Kombucha enthusiast Chris Joyner launched CommuniTea in Ballard in 2008, later moving it to Judkins Park. He built a following through retail sales at local grocers like Central Co-op, but wasn't equipped to have customers visit his production space.
When a larger facility opened up next to Central Cinema at 21st and Union, it meant Joyner could finally have room to brew and sell his reusable, refillable bottles directly to consumers. He's also currently pouring samples for customers to try before they buy, and eventually the plan is to operate a full-fledged tasting room in the brewery. That aspect is still in the works, and Joyner says he hopes it will come to fruition in the next month or so.
Joyner and his brewer, Sommer-Rae Simonson, pride themselves on a traditional approach to kombucha. They don't add flavors and produce only one style made from high-quality, biodynamically-grown green tea from Darjeeling’s Makaibari Tea Estate. The tea is then fermented with a SCOBY, a "symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast" that forms a rubbery pancake and converts the sugar to alcohol, acid, and carbon dioxide. Secondary fermentation adds additional fizz.
Tonight, Joyner is serving his kombucha and light snacks during a speaking engagement with Hannah Crum, who runs the Kombucha Kamp website; she'll be speaking about and signing copies of her newly published The Big Book of Kombucha from 7 to 9 p.m.
1409 21st Avenue, 206-420-6302, website. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.