Maui Kombucha: Haiku’s Hidden Treasure

March 16, 2012, 5:01 PM HST · Updated March 16, 5:01 PM
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By Madeline Ziecker

A cup of 'Pineapple Sage' house-made kombucha. Photo by Madeline Ziecker.

Tucked behind Haiku’s Town Center is Maui Kombucha, a local hub that offers freshly made kombucha on tap, elixirs, and raw/vegan food.

For those who are unfamiliar with kombucha, it is considered by some to be a beverage with health benefits. It is created from fermented tea which is served cold and in many flavors.

Kombucha lovers describe the tea as a tasty elixir that induces strong immunity, healthy organ function, and a relentless good mood (the supposed benefits differ greatly, depending on who you talk to). Some even say it gives a natural “high.”

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Kombucha can be made from various teas with added ingredients like fresh fruit. At Maui Kombucha they infuse unique flavors to create their own signature blends such as “Pineapple Sage” and “Blue Jazz” (blueberry, jasmine).

Vegan cream of spinach soup sprinkled with macadamia nuts and nutritional yeast. Photo by Madeline Ziecker.

“The Booch,” as regulars refer to the cozy cafe and bar, is a hot spot for The Studio Maui before-and-after yoga crowd. Friendly bartenders interact with their customers, introducing them to one another over kombucha samples.

“People come in and sit down as strangers at the beginning of a rush, and by the end of it everyone in the bar is eating off of one anothers’ plates and buying rounds,” said a Maui Kombucha employee.

Many come to the bar for a cold-pressed coffee or a creamy almond milk “Mate Latte” in the morning, and as the afternoon approaches the bar is usually crowded with visitors looking to cool off with a $4 cup of one (or all) of the three daily kombucha specials.

A piece of raw mint-cacao pie. Photo by Madeline Ziecker.

The bar offers pick-me-up shots like the “Super Immunity Hot Shot,” which is made to clear out the sinuses and throat with a deep and satisfying burn while also giving the body a natural immunity boost. If you can fight past the sting, the concoction tastes like a tangy mustard.

In addition to their unique and widely-appreciated beverages, Maui Komucha also has a raw and vegan menu with daily specials like “The Beautiful Salad,” a refreshing, simple mix of greens, vegetables, and a creamy cilantro-sunflower dressing.

Cooked vegan specials are just as popular like the “Chli Relleo Plate,” a large pepper stuffed with macadamia nuts, garlic, cayenne pepper, chili powder, veggies, cilantro, and other seasonings for $9.

Another delight is the “Spaghetti and Meatballs.” The “pasta” is made from shredded zucchini and the “meat balls” are the meat of portobello mushrooms blended with truffle oil. Though the ingredients seem like lighter fare, most cannot finish the hearty plate of nutrients in one sitting.

Patrons enjoying lunch at the Maui Kombucha bar. Photo by Madeline Ziecker.

For a hearty dessert, try one of Maui Kombucha‘s deliciously dense raw pies such as the “Caramel Cacao Pecan Torte,” or their raw chocolate “Libido Balls,” filled with naturally sweet and tantalizing ingredients.

If the five-seat bar is full, and it’s not raining, there’s a picnic table outside which faces the back of the Haiku Town Center parking lot. If it’s raining and the bar is full, you’ve got to take your kombucha to go or wait until a seat opens up.

This year, Maui Kombucha owner Chris Burke and his partner Jen Swatzke plan to solve the space issue and expand the bar into a full cafe that will be nearly twice the size of the current establishment and will have plenty more lounge space for the growing crowds of kombucha fiends.

Maui Kombucha Owner, Chris Burke. Photo by Madeline Ziecker.

Maui Kombucha is pretty serious about their vegan and eco-friendly reputation, even down to their compostable utensils and cups. To promote re-use, they sell kombucha in gallon ($35) and quart ($11) glass containers, which can be re-filled for a discount as many times as desired.

The bar publishes their rotating menu on their Facebook page along with a daily greeting or an inspiring quote.

Maui Kombucha is located at 810 Kokomo Road, Suite #136, Haiku, HI 96708. Their hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

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