Homegrown Business: Rochelle Minagawa of MotherLove Ferments

MotherLove Ferments is a Kelowna-based business that is dedicated to creating healthy and tasty ferments. We had a great talk with Founder Rochelle to learn more about their story.

MotherLove Ferments

What is your business called and what does it do?

Our business is called MotherLove Ferments and we brew kombucha and water kefir. We just launched a new brand called Daypass. Daypass is a hard kombucha made with green tea and honey.

What made you want to do this work?

As a high-level athlete, I’ve always been interested in food as fuel. After university I lived in Japan during the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and when I moved back to Canada and was thinking about having kids I had an even bigger interest in learning how to use food to detoxify heavy metals and radiation. Fermented foods are one of the things that can help detox the body and that’s when I began fermenting a greater variety of foods and beverages including kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, kombucha, and beet kvass. The company was a natural evolution of this hobby.

What problem did you want to solve with the business?

Kombucha is a niche beverage and many people associate it with being too “healthy tasting” or “vinegary”. I wanted to provide a beverage that was fun, great tasting, and not intimidating to people who weren’t yet kombucha lovers. The result is our colourful lineup of kombucha and water kefir flavours that each has a unique colour from whole foods and herbs and have a light, not-too-sweet, and not-too-acidic flavour profile.

Who are your clientele/demographics?

Anyone looking to improve their digestive health or incorporate more non-alcoholic and better-for-you beverages into their diet. The majority of our customers are women as they are the ones purchasing for their families and trying to get their partners and kids to eat healthier.

How does your business make money? How does it work?

We provide beverages to both the retail and wholesale sectors. At our Kombucha Bar, customers can come for tastings, flights, or glasses of kombucha along with sit-in and take-out food options. We brew out of the same space and offer wholesale pricing to restaurants, cafes, bars, and grocery stores and also work with distributors to reach a wider demographic.

MotherLove Ferments

Where in the city can we find your profession?

Our brewery and Kombucha bar are located in downtown Kelowna, but we ship our brews across BC and Alberta.

What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.

Question: What’s the difference between kombucha and water kefir?

Answer: Kombucha is a fermented tea made with caffeinated black and/or green tea and fermented with a culture called a “scoby”. Kombucha contains probiotics, vitamins, and digestive enzymes. Water kefir is non-caffeinated and fermented for a shorter duration with cultures called “kefir grains”. Water kefir tastes slightly sweeter than kombucha and contains probiotics. In short, they both are fermented beverages that contain beneficial bacteria that can aid in digestion!

Question: When is the best time to drink kombucha?

Answer: The short answer is anytime! How kombucha works is that the bacteria and enzymes in fermented beverages can aid in the digestion of food. The nutrients can work to help a hangover. After a workout – Rich in electrolytes, kombucha is the perfect recovery drink! After a meal – The enzymes in kombucha are superpowered for aiding in the breakdown of nutrients, helping with gut symptoms after a heavy meal, and increasing the number of nutrients you absorb from your food, Recovering from an illness – Probiotics work to reseed the gut, this is especially important if you have recently taken antibiotics.

Question: Can I make my own kombucha at home?

Answer: Yes! And we offer courses at the Kombucha Bar and online to help you on your home brew journey.

What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?

What I love most about this job is being able to create new beverages and flavours to share with customers. The worst part for me is some of the paperwork but I have an amazing team who helps keep me organized.

What is your favourite joke about your own profession?

If you like a good dad joke, then this one’s for you. “People who don’t like Kombucha have no … wait for it … culture!”

Where can we follow you?

On Instagram:  MotherLove Kombucha and Drink Day Pass

PAY IT FORWARD: What is another local business that you love?

Born to Shake. They made amazing cocktails and we’re lucky enough to be their neighbours.