Kombucha from Bucha Bar
It was when former publicist Harsh Negandhi started brewing batches of kombucha at home that he realised he had a winner. Of Chinese origin, kombucha is a fizzy, fermented tea drink brewed using SCOBY [symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast]. ‘I’m obsessed with all things healthy and I have always championed the cause of fermented food. It is trendy, healthy and delicious. I tried kombucha for the first time last year and instantly fell in love,’ says Harsh. His hunt for SCOBY took him Goa, where he found a perfect oyster colour culture in a Vagator shack. Back home in Mumbai, Harsh began experimenting with recipes until he settled for two flavours—black tea, and green tea with hints of tangy, raw apple. Soon, orders started flowing in and Harsh launched Bucha Bar along with a friend. At present, Bucha Bar is sending out 250ml bottles of kombucha for Rs.150 each. ‘Soon, I’ll be selling bucha in various restaurants in Mumbai. I’m also launching homemade kefir, another fermented drink with multiple benefits. We will be exploring it in flavours such as Nutella and white rose.’
As a largely tea-drinking nation, little does anyone know that India happens to be the fifth largest coffee grower in the world, the bulk of which is exported. When Matt Chitharanjan noticed that the country hardly gets a taste of its homegrown beans, he quit his career in economics and conceptualised Blue Tokai along with his wife, Namrata Asthana. The roastery and café was born to discover and popularise the gems that are cultivated in South India’s coffee belts. The duo fell for the premium Arabica beans they found in Karnataka, and soon invested in a roaster. Cut to today, they have mastered a roasting technique that profiles each and every bean from start to finish, and ships out freshly roasted coffee twice a week. ‘Both Namrata and I were at points in our careers where we wanted to do something on our own. We both loved coffee and were frustrated with the options available in Delhi, so above all, we started out so we would have good, homegrown coffee to drink. Right now, we are in love with the new crop from Nachammai Estate, which has a berry-ish tang with a slight floralness,’ says Matt. This year, they plan to reach out to more small-scale farmers and launch another roastery in the south. ‘We want to make sure that we are not just serving a good cup of coffee, but that people are having a good coffee experience.’
When sisters Suhasini and Anindita Sampat couldn’t find healthy energy bars in India, they decided to leave their career and finance and make their own version of lip-smacking snack bars. Born after a brainstorming session following a particularly tiring hike, Yoga Bar re-interprets the traditional recipe for a protein bar with locally-sourced ingredients. With a combination of whole grains, complex carbohydrates, seeds, nuts and a protein boost, their health bars have become a go-to choice for fitness enthusiasts. ‘All the ingredients for the bars are sourced from different parts of the country. For example, if a state is famous for cardamom or any special ingredient, these are only procured from that region,’ says Suhasini. Cutting down on sugar, corn syrup and hydrogenated fats, Yoga Bar fits perfectly into India’s new fixe with healthy snacks.
Edited by Ritupriya Basu