CommuniTea Kombucha Serves Community Ideals, Drinks


Nicole Schlaeppi

Nicole Schlaeppi • The Spectator

Taking a walk through the heart of the Central District, on 21st and Union, one can stop in for a unique kind of pick-me-up at a new brewery in the area, CommuniTea Kombucha.

The brewery itself is fairly new, having opened its doors to the central district in 2015, but owner Christopher Joyner has been brewing the unique sparkling beverage since 1993, long before he came to Seattle in 2008.

Nicole Schlaeppi • The Spectator
Nicole Schlaeppi • The Spectator

Owner Christopher Joyner is excited to have a delicious product that is accessible to students of age.

“My involvement began as a way to come up with a complimentary treatment for prostate cancer for a friend around 1993. The idea was removing heavy metals from the body such a mercury and lead and kombucha has a reputation for helping your body detoxify itself,” Joyner said.

CommuniTea Kombucha focuses on delivering one kombucha product. The kombucha is crafted in small monitored batches, not pasteurized, low in sugar, contains no flavorings and gets its unique fizz from the natural levels of yeast found in kombucha. The tea used for the kombucha is especially unique, given that it is a very high quality biodynamic organic green tea from the Makaibari Tea Estate in Darjeeling, India.

“There is an emphasis on the tea we buy, which is biodynamic tea,” Joyner said. “The biodynamic process is an interesting process because it is grown on farms that consider the whole farm as an organism where all of its parts are working together.”

Also present in the beverage is SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast). SCOBY not only turns the sweet tea mixture into crisp fizzy kombucha, but also stands as a simple reminder that kombucha is symbolic of community ideals.

Nicole Schlaeppi • The Spectator
Nicole Schlaeppi • The Spectator

CommuniTea Kombucha is located next door to the cinema on 21st and Union.

“Deep in me is the feeling that we aren’t really only just individuals, but we are part of a community. With kombucha the basic component is the SCOBY. The yeast and bacteria cooperate to turn the sugary tea into tart kombucha,” Joyner said. “it’s a living thing and it would have not survived without human beings.”

He went on to say that the SCOBY is its own living, working community that would not exist without humans.

CommuntiTea’s brewery location in the central district not only sells their product in half liter, liter, and two liter sizes, but also sells a SCOBY and instructions on how to brew the kombucha at home.

Nicole Schlaeppi • The Spectator
Nicole Schlaeppi • The Spectator

“We very much want to be involved in our community and make a healthful beverage, that is also healthful to the environment,” Joyner said.

In an effort to promote sustainability and environmental friendliness, CommuniTea uses all reusable bottles that are subject to an exchange program. Using the exchange program, customers at CommuniTea are able to bring in their used kombucha bottles and return them to the shop, where they will be repurposed.

“We wash and repurpose all the bottles so nothing is thrown away,” Joyner said.

CommuniTea Kombucha is available at the Ballard and University District farmer’s markets year around, as well as in Whole Foods, Central Co-op and many other grocery and restaurants throughout the Seattle area.

“If I could provide Seattle with one thing it would be the experience of a traditionally made kombucha that gives you a different experience that I hope will make people curious as to why traditionally made kombucha provides such a different experience,” Joyner said.

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