Kombucha fans planning a visit to Montreal will be happy to know the fizzy, fermented health drink trend is alive and well here. The city is home to Canada’s largest kombucha producer, Rise Kombucha, as well as a number of smaller companies. The past few years have seen more and more companies entering the market with new flavours galore. Cafés and restaurants are starting in-house brewing with frequent posts to social media sites on the flavour combo of the week.
If you’re not yet a kombucha fan, you may well wonder what all the fuss is about. Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage touted for its health properties and enjoyed for its distinctive sweet, slightly vinegary taste, refreshing fizz, and the variety of creative flavours available. It’s made by combining tea (usually black or green) with sugar, adding a symbiotic colony of bacterial yeast known as a SCOBY, and leaving it to ferment for a week or so at room temperature.
The beverage originated in Northeast China around 220 B.C. and spread around the world via trade routes. In North America, it’s been a growing trend since the 1990s, popping up on menus in health cafés, coffee shops, and bars. Here are a few of the places you should visit in Montreal to check out our local kombucha brews on tap.
1.Cafe Santropol (Rise Kombucha)
Café Santropol on St. Urbain at the corner of Duluth avenue is a neighbourhood institution and has been serving sandwiches, soups, and salads since 1976. The café’s cozy environment is a gathering place for people from all walks of life and they also have one of the best terraces in the summer. On tap is Rise Kombucha, which you may enjoy on its own or with a meal.
Where: 1990 Rue St. Urbain
2. Vices et Versa (Kombucha by Ma Brasserie)
Vices et Versa in Little Italy is one of Montreal’s favourite brewhouses serving microbrews by Quebec’s best beer companies and a small, tasty menu with many local ingredients. A tree-lined terrace at the back is the perfect summer hangout spot and local bands and DJs are often featured. They serve Ma Brasserie’s beta-carotene Kombucha on tap.
Where: 6631 St Laurent Blvd
3. Paquebot (House-brewed)
Two coffee house locations, one in Little Italy and a new one on Mont-royal avenue give you a couple of options for sampling the Paq’s homemade draft kombucha. You might also see the Paquebot trike delivering cold drinks to the parks and around town this summer.
Where: 2110 rue Bélanger (Little Italy) and 123 Mont-Royal Ave. West (Plateau)
4. Camellia Sinensis Teahouse (House-brewed)
Camellia Sinensis is Montreal’s premiere tea company. They source teas directly from the Far East and have a lovely tea house in the Latin Quarter. Stop by for a homemade kombucha fresh from the tap. You may also bring your own bottle to fill and take it away with you.
Where: 351 Rue Emery
5. Pigeon Espresso Bar (Rise Kombucha)
Pigeon is a cute little espresso bar near Concordia University’s downtown campus. Lush green plants and a clean, bright aesthetic make it a nice spot for a pitstop. Don’t be put off by their odd marketing ploy of advertising the “world’s worst coffee” – it’s delicious and expertly prepared. Pop by to sample Rise kombucha from their taps.
Where: 1392 de Maisonneuve West