Tucked inside the Cannery in quiet Haiku town, Maui Kombucha & Raw Vegan Fusion Cafe has been gathering a loyal following for years. Push through the screen doors and you’re faced with a bar full of regulars, upbeat service, and a myriad of delicious, healthy food and drink options, with the star of the show being their unique and delicious kombuchas on tap.
Maui Kombucha’s signature drinks on tap are carefully brewed with creativity and the unique flavors shift often. The booch is fizzy and light with an edge to it. The brewers craft options ranging from crisp to fruity to earthy, with sweet and not-so-sweet options to serve all whims and moods. The “booch-tenders” are friendly and happy to let customers try different flavors before committing to a jar. It’s best to bring your own mason jar or container, because that will save a few dollars so you can spend more on the good stuff.
No longer a fringe trend, kombucha has passed the longevity test and is here to stay. That’s not to say it’s a new thing – the first recorded use of kombucha was over two thousand years ago in China, but the drink only gained popularity stateside in the past decade. The fizzy, fermented tea beverage is touted as having many health benefits. As it’s a fermented beverage, it does contain probiotics, and the research on a healthy gut biome and its myriad of health benefits is very promising. If you’re not in it for the health, taste alone might convince you to pick up a jar. Kombucha is earthy and fermented, and picks up tastes of whatever it is brewed with, so it provides some of the fond feelings of drinking a beer – without the hangover.
I went with some friends the other day to see what was on tap, and Jameson behind the bar was happy to walk us through the process of finding our flavors. Flavors range from edgy to sweet, and he gamely let us try pretty much every flavor before we settled on our favorites. Blue Jazz, Blood Orange, Ginger Turmeric, and sparkling coconut water. We sat down with our rainbow of kombucha – light strawberry pink, mellow orange and sunlight yellow – and shared a healthy, fresh meal amongst the happy chatter.
Maui Kombucha’s brewers craft unique flavors like the Palo Santo, which is a wild wood native to Mexico. Palo Santo translates as holy wood, and it’s often used as an incense to purify and heal. The kombucha was woodsy and heady.
Even if kombucha isn’t your thing, it’s still a worthy stop for their other goodies. Their cold-pressed goodness Love Buzz serves the coffee fix, and delicious smoothies like Jungle Love, Tiger’s Milk, and Magic Mint are the perfect thing for a hot summer day. The variety of juices, smoothies, and creative concoctions like macnut milk matcha, noni and sparkling coconut water, and superfood boosts can meet any mood or taste.
The food menu is chock full of interesting and healthy fare. Food options at Maui Kombucha are diverse and aplenty, ranging from a raw bagel sandwich to raw vegan pizza, smoothie bowls and cooked bowls, soups and salads. Smoothie bowls can be served with house-made, raw, gluten-free “Grawnola”, fresh fruit, and various protein powders. Cooked bowls include the Macro Bowl with adzuki bean tempeh, housemade sauerkraut, daikon, beets, kale, spiced chickpeas and pumpkin seeds, served with an orange tahini sauce. The Burrito Bowl features cashew nacho cheese. Salads are large and served with tasty dressings. A cooler is full of quick and tasty to-go options like a cashew carrot wrap, Thai spring rolls, and salads. The cooler also contains the raw vegan desserts, featuring choices like the chocolate avocado and orange creamsicle pies.
Besides the awesome food and drink, and the cheerful, helpful servers, the other best part of Maui Kombucha is the crowd. From the regulars at the bar to the teenagers flirting over a giant carafe of the bubbly good stuff, the crowd is as colorful and eclectic and as full of good vibes as Haiku itself. The place feels sweet and safe, and the energy is good, probably because the customers are hopped up on probiotics and fresh raw fare. Plus, it’s in Haiku, and there’s nothing better on those clear, beautiful Haiku summer days than a cold jar of bubbly, delicious brew.
Photo 1 courtesy MauiKombucha.com
Photo 2 courtesy Facebook/MauiKombucha
Photo 3 courtesy Facebook/MauiKombucha
Photo 4 courtesy Facebook/MauiKombucha