Tea on tap: Kombucha bar opening in Logan Square


Kevin Tiongson

The Kombucha Room, 2355 N. Milwaukee Ave., will serve kombucha on tap starting April 29.

By Blair Paddock

Flavors of fermented tea that include rosemary, pineapple and jalapeño are among the 20 that will be on tap at The Kombucha Room, 2355 N. Milwaukee Ave., opening April 29. Logan Square’s  tap room will feature kombucha, a drink that originated in Japan, from brewers in Chicago and the Midwest.

Owner Mel Mohamednur said she hopes the all-ages bar will encourage uninitiated drinkers to try the tea and explore its health benefits. 

“Quite a lot of people drink kombucha, quite a lot of people brew kombucha,” Mohamednur said. “The tea-drinking culture is here, [but] it’s just not crazy about kombucha yet, so hopefully we’ll be the first in leading the lifestyle.” 

The bar will offer tastings of each tea with to-go options in shot-size, 8 ounce, pint and 32-ounce glasses, Mohamednur said. Also available are snacks and cupcakes, such as spiced nuts from Chi-cago-owned Bee’s Knees Food Co. The business will provide patrons a bar-like atmosphere without alcohol, she added.

Matthew Lancor will supply kombucha from his Plainfield-based company Kombuchade. While brewers’ processes vary, he said they all start with brewing large batches of all organic herbal teas, then adding in other herbs depending on the desired flavor. A symbiotic culture of bacteria is added to the tea, which creates a gelatinous “pancake” on the surface of the liquid, sealing oxygen away from the bacteria in the liquid. This fermentation process typically lasts for 5–10 days, creating probiotics and various vitamins.

“Fermentation kind of has a bad rap,”Lancor said. “When people think of it, beer, wine or meats [comes to mind]. [How-ever, it also] creates kimchi and

pickled vegetables.” 

Although there is no clinical data on health ben-efits, Mohamednur said in her experience, drinking it boosts energy and helps her digestive system. 

“Over time, my tastebuds changed,” Mohamednur said. “Changing your diet [will make] you want to eat healthier food.” 

Brewer Frog Greishaw will be providing her tea, Frog Juice, on tap at the bar as well. As a former bartender, she discovered drinking the tea was a hangover cure. The tea contains glucaric acid, which is great for the liver, she added. 

“The biggest benefit of kombucha is probiotics,” Greishaw said. “Eighty percent of your immune system is in your gut, so it’s important to get healthy bacteria in there.” Mohamednur said she hopes people get into this nationwide trend of drinking this tea, something Lancor said the Midwest and East Coast has recently been embracing. 

“There’s a lag between the coasts and Chicago, and the tidal wave for kombucha is here,” Lancor said.