Over 2,000 years ago, the fermented drink Kombucha made its debut in China as a health supplement. Since then it’s made the long migration westward, eventually landing on our local food store shelves. (It only arrived in the United States around 60 years ago.) What is it? Well, Kombucha is a naturally-fermented drink made from a live bacteria/yeast culture full of probiotics... and before you go running for the hills, let us tell you that it’s one delicious drink – we promise!
When Melanie Wade realized there were no local suppliers or makers of Kombucha in Atlanta, all she saw was opportunity. After numerous afternoons with her grandmother Golda, the namesake of Melanie’s business, learning the trade, Golda Kombucha came into being. Golda, who’s 93 years young, has been brewing the fermented tea for over 20 years in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, so she knows a thing or two about living well and long.
“[My grandma} is a complete health nut, all about healthy eating. When I was a kid, I never really understood what it was. Oh, grandma’s weird mushroom tea! When I came of age she taught me how to make it and how good it is for you. It perked my interest so I started making it. This was before Kombucha became such a big thing, as it is today,” says Melanie. “I did a little research and found out that there’s a huge market, especially out west. I wanted to do something creative, something with my hands. I thought Kombucha tea would be perfect since there’s no supplier in Atlanta.”
Melanie brews her tea in small batches in American white oak barrels – which brings out great flavors from the live culture. The tea has a refreshing flavor and it’s full of probiotics, fruits, herbs, and other nutrients that make your body (and digestive system) jump for joy. “People need to drink healthier. It’s a great alternative to sodas since it’s slightly carbonated. Others, drink it to replace their morning coffee.”
Nowadays, Melanie has expanded to a shared kitchen in Roswell for her hand-bottling operations and redid her branding with a vintage-style logo. She bottles the tea all on her own for a handmade operation. For the fall season, she has already debuted two seasonal flavors, Vanilla Chai and Apple Ginger Spice. And even better, for those who want to learn more about the makings of the fermented tea, Melanie teaches workshops every few months through The Homestead Atlanta.
You can find Golda Kombucha at 10 locations around the city including, Little’s Food Store, Juliana’s Crepes, and many of our local farmer’s markets.
Local Scout Muriel Vega is a lifetime resident of ATL and full-time authorian legend, as well as a pie enthusiast. She has a dog that may be a meme and really loves to travel. You can read more of her work at the website that she co-edits, Common Creativ ATL.