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Gayle’s Kombucha taking off fast

JERSEY SHORE — Jersey Shore resident Gayle Miller started her own business in February — brewing, bottling and selling her own Kombucha tea. Miller makes it herself at home in a commercial kitchen.

Kombucha tea is a traditional fermented drink made of black tea and sugar, though Gayle’s Kombucha is made with organic green and white tea. It contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes and has been prized by traditional cultures for its health-promoting properties. Kombucha is a sweetened tea that is fermented with a SCOBY. The SCOBY consumes over 90 percent of the sugar during fermentation, resulting in a low-sugar finished product.

“Once a very obscure drink, Kombucha is now a popular beverage that is available in most health food stores,” Miller said.

The SCOBY, or Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast, is the collection of microbes responsible for turning sweet tea into a probiotic beverage. A SCOBY is a living home for the bacteria and yeast that transforms sweet tea into a tangy, fizzy Kombucha. Think of the SCOBY as the coral reef of the bacteria yeast world for good yeast and good bacteria. The SCOBY seals off the fermenting Kombucha from the air and protects it from outside, undesirable bacteria, while it is fermenting. Essentially, it is a living colony of beneficial organisms.

When they started building the tea kitchen last year, the room was “nothing but a junk hole”, she said, “a spare room.” Her husband Dallas is an architect, and according to the Millers, they did all the construction work themselves.

In just a few short months, Gayle has expanded the flavor selection to seven, including black raspberry, blueberry ginger, blueberry lavender, concord grape, ginger peach, strawberry rhubarb and pineapple jalapeno.

She ferments the tea in 5-gallon and 1-gallon jars, and all products have to be inspected by the Pa. Department of Agriculture, she said. She is also required to have a commercial kitchen license to produce the tea for wholesale.

According to Dallas, they are currently selling Gayle’s Kombucha to 14 stores in the area.

“As far as Mansfield to the north, State College to the west, and Selinsgrove to the south,” Dallas explained. “That is the territory route right now, with the largest number of stores in the Lock Haven region.”

In the Lock Haven area, the Broken Axe Brewery has the tea on tap. It is also available at Chubb Run Organic Produce, Kings Country Store, Scenic Ridge Foods, Stoltzfus Butcher Shop, Sunset Health Foods, and Avenue 209.

In Mansfield and Wellsboro, it is available at Conspiracy Coffee, Night and Day Coffee Cafe and Shady Grove Natural Market.

In Williamsport, Gayle’s tea can be found at Tony’s Delicatessen, Diamond Square, and Wengerd’s Farm Market.

Real Taste Taqueria and Up the Crick Wine and Antiques offers it to Jersey Shore locals.

It can also be found at Lighthouse Health Foods in Selinsgrove and at Nature’s Pantry in State College.

The Millers say that Kombucha tea is “raw, refreshing, restorative, energizing and enzymatically rich. A raw, traditional, enzyme-rich, gluten-free, vegan and non-gmo fermented tea.”

The concentration of beneficial enzymes and acids present allow it to be a powerful detoxifier, improving digestion, strengthening stomach wills and may help to heal gastric ulcers and other stomach issues.

The tea is full of antioxidants and vitamins, providing immune system stimulation, enhancing cellular health and is even reported to help joint health and reduce arthritis pain along with being a natural way to maintain a healthy cholesterol level and support the heart and liver.

For more information or to ask Gayle for a product sample, call 570-419-4372, email gayledmiller@gmail.com, or visit their Facebook page at Gayle’s Kitchen Creations.

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