Steve Kehler is from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He makes salsa and kombucha here in Vietnam, and it’s really good.
“Every time [my wife and I were] invited to a party I brought salsa and guacamole. My friends started telling me how much they liked it,” Steve says. “Then they started telling me I should sell it.”
What started out as salsa and guacamole for friends has morphed its way into a fantastic brew of Kombucha, and a little startup called Steve’s Stuff.
If you’re not yet a convert to the refreshing, naturally carbonated tea drink that has become a popular “health tonic” in the West, then allow us to give you a brief rundown.
Kombucha is a variety of fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea drinks that are commonly intended as functional beverages for their supposed health benefits.
Kombucha is produced by fermenting tea using a “symbiotic ‘colony’ of bacteria and yeast”. Kombucha originated in what is now Manchuria around 220 BCE, and was traditionally used primarily in that region, Russia, and eastern Europe. It is said to have been imported to Japan in 414 CE by the physician Kombu
The beverage is packed with probiotics if it’s brewed well, and Kehler has no worries when it comes to his process at this point.
“Actually, I had no idea how to make a significant amount of kombucha. We had a Texas-style barbeque party and I brought some samples for my friends [of a homemade kombucha brew] and a professional brewer friend gave me a lot of good pointers on how to scale it up for production.
I’m excited about kombucha because I think it might have a place in the local market. Fish sauce, fermented products are so popular here. The health benefits also fit. Asia wants to be healthy, and with the probiotics in the brew, this can help your gut health.
It’s no secret that Vietnam loves its sugary drinks, and with long exposure to refined sugars, gastrointestinal trouble can surface. It is well understood that with increasing good gut flora, the entire body’s immune system benefits immensely.
The pricing currently for the kombucha is VND120,000 for one liter, and VND40,000 for 300ml. Refills of the liter size are VND100,000.
The Loop on Thao Dien will be the first restaurant to carry Steve’s kombucha, and Mandala Wellness, in the same neighbourhood, will also be featuring the product.
The easiest way to get your hands on Steve’s kombucha or salsa is by contacting him on Facebook, email or telephone.
Craft Saigon is a monthly column to highlight new small businesses in the city, if your business wishes to be featured please email firstname.lastname@example.org