25 Jan 2021

Kaipara kick: coffee kombucha

From Nine To Noon, 11:36 am on 25 January 2021

Kombucha master René Archner (of René's Kombucha) is revving up the local beverage industry. 

The former chef has teamed up with Auckland roasting company The Coffee Lab to make a coffee-kombucha hybrid.

Coffee Kombucha

Coffee Kombucha Photo: Rene’s Kombucha

At the moment, René brews and sells around 500 litres of kombucha a week on the Kaipara Harbour property he shares with his wife, 10 dexter cows, 40 Wiltshire sheep, 9 goats, a bunch of chickens and a dog.

But René says he didn't really choose the kombucha life. Back in 2012, he was teaching a workshop on fermented foods and his students' demand for the cultured tea drink led to a private business.

The next year René's Kombucha started selling nationwide, in flavours like Lemon & Ginger and Red Berry.

It was coffee roaster Anna McGregor - who stocks Rene's kombucha at The Coffee Lab - who encouraged him to have a go at making a fermented drink with her organic cold-brew single-origin coffee.

René hadn't been a fan of any coffee-flavoured kombucha he'd tried previously but eventually came up with a flavour he was happy with.

Each 330ml bottle contains about the same amount of caffeine as a single shot of espresso, René says.

"I find it’s quite smooth. It’s not the peaking effect I get when I drink a cup of coffee. For me, it’s more a nice pick-me-up but not an incredible boost as I would experience with a double-shot flat white."

René's Coffee Kombucha currently available at The Coffee Lab in the Auckland suburb of Wairau Valley, with more stockists to follow.