Sunday June 16th, 2024
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Let Them Have Kombucha! How Maadi’s Eiko Makes Gut Health Accessible

Founded by Mexican-Japanese holistic therapist Yuko Natalia, Eiko Kombucha is all about trusting your gut.

Ziyad El-Helbawy

First things first, kombucha isn't exactly the talk of the town in Egypt, so if you happen to be unacquainted with the brew, here’s a quick introduction. Consumed for centuries throughout East Asia, especially in Japan, kombucha is essentially fermented tea originating from North China. Made from SCOBY - a symbiotic culture of (good for your gut, we promise) bacteria and yeast - sugar, tea, and fruit, kombucha is a sweet concoction often enjoyed as a refreshing beverage packed with probiotics, making it a popular choice for boosting gut health.

Now that we’ve established that kombucha isn’t readily available in Egypt per se, let’s talk about the woman changing that. Born in Mexico with Japanese origins, Yuko Natalia first came to Egypt around five years ago on a business trip and never looked back. Now a holistic therapist practicing in Maadi, Natalia’s day would not be complete without kombucha. Initially brewing the fermented tea for herself, her friends, and her clients, Natalia was quickly encouraged to take it a step further and introduce kombucha to the masses. Fast forward to today, Natalia has just launched her own online kombucha store: Eiko Kombucha, and we’re bringing you the (literal) tea...

“When you move to a new place, you often want to hold on to your familiar habits. Drinking kombucha is something I truly enjoy, and it's practically the only thing I drink,” Yuko Natalia, founder of Eiko Kombucha, shares with SceneEats. “As I continued my holistic therapy practice here, I started giving kombucha to my clients. Everyone loved it and started asking for more,” she adds. With the idea brewing (word choice indeed intended) on her mind for two years, Natalia finally launched Eiko Kombucha in May of 2024, after noticing the lack of options in the Egyptian market.

Offering Natalia’s own signature home brew recipe, Eiko’s kombucha comes in four staple flavors and two seasonal blends, with each flavor paying homage to Natalia’s Japanese culture and women she holds dear. "Eiko, our strawberry and hibiscus flavor, is named after my great aunt, who shared my passion for fermenting. Yuko, named after my mother, combines grapefruit and ginger because she loves those flavors. Junko, a citrus blend, is in honor of my grandmother, who was fond of citrus fruits,” Natalia shares.

Chikako, a popular Japanese name, which is Eiko’s lemon mint option, combines two of Natalia’s cultures, sounding like ‘Chica’, the Spanish word for girl. “It’s a combination of my two worlds, which I thought would be fun,” she notes.

Brewed by Natalia herself, Yuko takes both pride and pleasure in her meticulous process: “First of all, the magic of every kombucha has to do with the tea blend. You make your tea blend and add sugar because the bacteria need the sugar to ferment,” she explains. “Then, there's the second fermentation to create natural carbonation. This involves blending the kombucha with your preferred fruit flavor,” and the rest is Eiko Kombucha history.

A spiritual person at heart, Natalia’s love for kombucha goes beyond the beverage itself, falling in line with both her personal and professional visions to promote wellness and gut health. “There are many issues with our digestive systems these days, and lots of mental health issues too. Our stomach is the brain of our emotions. It's not just about drinking kombucha; it's about feeling good, and that's a seed I want to plant in my community,” she explains.

With Eiko Kombucha at the beginning of its journey, demand is already high. With plans to introduce probiotic sodas and several therapeutic lines catering to individuals with specific health and dietary restrictions, Natalia is kicking it into full gear, with a mission to “make kombucha accessible to everyone.”

Eiko Kombucha delivers all over Cairo, and orders can be made through the business’s Instagram account. Happy (and healthy) sipping!

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