Spring Water & Foraged Botanicals: Soma Kombucha Is An Ode To Living Close To Nature

 Soma Kombucha
Soma Kombucha Soma Kombucha

From the Kaapi House with classic notes of coffee, vanilla, and cinnamon that make for a great wake-up call to the iconic Somapanam made with organic citrus leaves, and wild-foraged guava leaves — the flavours of Soma Kombucha are truly unique. Concocted in the foothills of the monolith Illikal Kallu in the Kottayam district of Kerala, the brand is an ode to living close to nature. 

Founded by Purvi Patel and Josh Harkinson who’ve been lovers of Kombucha for almost 20 years, Soma Kombucha strays from the norm. The couple who moved to Kerala in 2017 had been making their own batches of Kombucha for a while, but eventually decided to take it to the world in 2021. In the short while since its inception, Soma has made space for itself in the growing niche of probiotic drinks in India. While there are 6 flavours variants in their classic Kombucha line that is made with fresh fruit and botanicals, they have 3 complex flavours in their wine-alternative bio-dynamite blends. With varying options of multipacks and subscriptions, they are now delivering to multiple cities in India and are available at varying restaurants and spaces of note, including the Kochi Biennale Kada

While the more tart, almost vinegary Eastern European Kombucha has been more popular in India, Soma is trying to popularise the alternate California-style Kombucha. Soma Kombuchas is fizzier and less sour. The flavours of the botanicals and fresh ingredients added to the base tea in the Kombucha also comes through more distinctly in each sip. According to the Soma website, these “...resemble proseccos or champagnes in terms of their fizz and acidity, making them excellent complements to meals or substitutes for alcoholic beverages or sodas.”

As self-proclaimed ‘nature people’ the founders of Soma wanted to create Kombucha that was crafted from the best possible ingredients they could acquire from nature, and fermented naturally. While the base of the drink is pure, unfiltered spring water with essential minerals, the biodynamic tea is acquired from an estate in Nelliyampathy. The biodynamic approach of farming followed by this estate is a holistic and ethical approach that incorporates varying elements of nature into their farming — from wild habitats to synchronization with the lunar cycle — in order to find harmony with it. The botanicals and fresh produce that is added to the Kombucha for flavor are acquired from the best sources — whether that is the guava leaves in Somapanam, the organic Palakkad Mangos in Shoots & Leaves or the wild foraged amla and lemongrass from the Marayoor valley mountains. Most of these ingredients are purchased fresh, or foraged from surrounding hills. 

In their quaint production space in the foothills, surrounded by forests and farms, Soma employs principles of Ayurveda to promote balance and wellness. Catering to the ideas of doshas and praana, Soma as a brand vouches, “Whether your dominant dosha is kapha, vata, or pitta, there’s a version of Soma designed for you. We never use extracts, preservatives, or artificial ingredients. Soma is prepared with pure, whole foods and is full of Prana. It brings you closer to the Divine state.” 

If you look closer at their ingredients, they feature organic Brahmi — an ayurvedic herb, or even Tulsi, which is a quintessential Ayurvedic adaptogen. Going beyond the expected USDA organic approval, Soma as a brand has worked hard to achieve its clean label with more labels to its name - from Indocert Organic to Demeter Biodynamic. They also declare the wild foraged ingredients in their drinks on the label.

In addition to their main range of Kombuchas, Soma has also released a category of wine-alts that they call Biodynamites. According to them, they are non-alcoholic sparklers, inspired by the world of wine. Using traditional winemaking techniques, these sparkling drinks retain complex tannins, fruit notes, and the medium-dry acidity of traditional wines. The ‘Gulkand’ Biodynamic from Soma is reminiscent of a rose, in hue, acidity, and flavour and is made from certified organic, sun-dried damask rose petals from Rajasthan. Inspired by Japanese culinary flavours, Southern Beauty infuses fresh jasmine flowers with musk melon to create a fragrant, medium-dry, and slightly bitter drink. 

Embracing the fresh flavours and staying true to their core values of being close to nature, Soma creates Ayurvedic Kombucha whose flavours are balanced and connects the drinker to the natural flavour in every sip. 

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