Jason Callender, Co-founder, Buchi Kombucha

If it doesn’t feel right, don’t think yourself into it ...

Stepping inside Buchi Kombucha’s Wacol brewery, you get the sense that this is a project driven by love. From the careful selection of local, certified-organic ingredients to the hundreds of returned bottles being cleaned and sterilised, Jason Callender and his wife Sarah Lantz have ensured every aspect of their start-up doesn’t only nurture profits, but also people and the planet. It’s been a busy 14 months for the couple, whose lives took an unexpected turn after they tasted their first cups of fermented tea in a cafe in Brooklyn a few years ago. Inspired by the thriving kombucha culture in the US, the New Zealand native and his wife returned to Australia full of ideas. A modified home water cooler became the experimental lab for a range of flavours, before the steeping and brewing operations were moved to a commercial kitchen at their daughter’s school, and then finally relocated to a brewery a month ago. While Jason dreams of one day seeing Buchi Kombucha available on tap alongside other fermented beverages in bars and restaurants, until then he’ll be selling bottles from the Northey Street City Farm Organic Markets, West End Markets, The Big Pineapple Markets and natural food stores across northern NSW and Southeast Queensland. You can also catch the Buchi brewmasters at South Bank’s Regional Flavours on July 20–21. The Weekend Edition caught up with Jason Callender to chat weekend essentials.

How do you like to start your weekend?
It usually starts at 4:00 am when I drive my van through the misty Brisbane streets to set up our stall at the West End Markets.

What’s your favourite thing to do on a Saturday morning?
Warm piccolo in hand, I walk around and catch up with all my West End stallholder buddies: Peter the candle maker, Thor the spud guy, Camille the cultured butter man, Hermione from Daska Fair Trade Clothing, Leni from Sprout, Matti from Chai Tea and Jimmy who sells the healthiest organic seedlings I’ve ever seen.

How do you like to unwind?
Easy, three things: a hammock, a book and a tall champagne flute of our Buchi Kombucha!

What are your essentials for a well-spent weekend?
A mix of intimate and energetic interactions with our Buchi customers, good organic food and some family lovin’.

What’s something you’ve been meaning to do on the weekend but haven’t got around to yet?
Sail from Manly boat harbour on my brother’s 40-foot yacht.

What’s your favourite thing to do on a Sunday evening?
Knock up a hearty meal with all of the fresh organic produce my wife and I have collected from the Northey Street City Farm Organic Markets that morning, then curl up with our two small girls to watch a movie.

What are you looking forward to next weekend?
We’re running a fermenting workshop on the Gold Coast, and the following weekend we’re running a stall at Brisbane’s signature foodie festival, Regional Flavours.

What are you reading at the moment?
The Twelve, the epic sequel to The Passage, by Justin Cronin.

What inspires you?
The courageous people who are returning to some form of agrarian roots – be it via a farm, a veggie patch or a farmers market. We all have a choice to eat deliberately and consciously.

What was your childhood dream?
To find my one true love.

What has been your greatest achievement?
Finding my one true love … and then creating two more! Now I’m surrounded by love.

What is success to you?
Success is the ability to do what you love every day.

What are your words of wisdom?
If it doesn’t feel right, don’t think yourself into it.

Only a local would know that … the Brisbane River is brown, so don’t bring your cossie!

Perk up … Bulletproof Coffee from Primal Pantry, Teneriffe.
Relax … Under the masterful hands of Dave from Red Door Therapies Zenthai Shiatsu at the Northey Street City Farm Organic Markets on a Sunday morning.
Dine … Wagamama (because someone else gets to clean the noodles off the floor!).
Indulge … Mondo Organics, West End.
Shop … Byron Bay.
Catch-up … Brisbane Independent School.
Be inspired … Snake River in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where I always seem to make the most important decisions of my life.


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