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Kauai Island Kombucha

Bettina Kluensch and Narayan Dass of Kauai Island Kombucha. Daniel Lane photo
Kauai Island Kombucha sets up at the Namahana Farmers Market every Saturday. Daniel Lane photo

Kauai Island Kombucha sets up at the Namahana Farmers Market every Saturday. Daniel Lane photo

On Saturdays, Kauai Island Kombucha sets up at the Namahana Farmers Market and serves tall glasses of hearty kombucha made with fruit juice and fresh turmeric.

On a typical day, Narayan Dass and Bettina Kluensch offer healing devotional music during meditation circles. The couple also offer private concerts, voice healing, singing lessons, sound treatments, vocal coaching and sitar lessons. Narayan tells me they have performed for cancer survivors and patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment. He says sound healing works because it creates a container for people to transcend their “stuff” and heal.

“The vibration we try to transmit is one of pureness,” says Narayan. “When we play music, we try to get beyond the ego, connect with source and tap into the vibration of the spirit of the music.”

Bettina Kluensch and Narayan Dass of Kauai Island Kombucha. Daniel Lane photo

Bettina Kluensch and Narayan Dass of Kauai Island Kombucha. Daniel Lane photo

The couple make raw kombucah with the same intention. I visit the market on a sultry day and there are three flavors available. Lilikoi-pineapple-cinnamon (Narayan’s favorite), watermelon-pineapple and ginger-pineapple-turmeric. I take a sip and it’s heady. The drink seems dense, fortified with probiotics and nutrients. It’s hot and after a few gulps, I feel a little drunk.

“Is there alcohol in kombucha?” I ask, enjoying the energy surge. “I feel buzzed!”

“Nothing that will get you drunk,” Narayan says, with a little laugh. “The first time I tried kombucha, it got me high. It warmed up my stomach, gave me energy and put a smile on my face.”

Kauai Island Kombucha's lilikoi-pineapple-cinnamon flavor. Daniel Lane photo

Kauai Island Kombucha’s lilikoi-pineapple-cinnamon flavor. Daniel Lane photo

Narayan says the “buzz” comes from enzymes and probiotics teeming in raw (unpasteurized) kombucha. The health tonic has been made in Asian cultures for thousands of years. It starts with lightly sweetened black or green tea, sugar and sometimes fruit juice. A symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast known as SCOBY is added, which is similar to what is used to make vinegar. The result is a fermented beverage with fizzy bubbles, much like beer.

Beneficial bacteria in kombucha is known for aiding digestion and improving gut health. Overall health stems from vibrant intestinal flora. The drink is highly acidic, contains sugar, B vitamins and antioxidants, as well as some alcohol that results from the fermentation process. It has about 30 calories per eight ounces. No solid research has been done on the health benefits, but I sure felt better after drinking mine!

Kauai Island Kombucha can be found at the Namahana Farmers Market every Saturday, Bikram Yoga Kauai in Kapaa, Kukuiula General Store in Poipu and they are available for catered events. The couple recently opened a bar in Ching Young Village in Hanalei, which is open Tue. – Sat. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursday and Friday night from 7 p.m. to late.  

Kauai Island Kombucha
808-212-6226