Profile: AMO Kombucha, Lisbon, Portugal
This is the second report from Lisbon, where I spent Friday, June 24, visiting OH-K! Kombucha in the morning and AMO Kombucha in the afternoon. I want to thank everyone who hosted me with typical Portuguese grace and openness.
Paula and Rapha emigrated from Brazil and founded an artisanal kombucha company in Lisbon. They rent a large warehouse in the Marvila district, with plenty of room for expansion. It’s a labor-intensive operation that they are in the process of automating–purchasing a pump to save the effort of lifting containers of hot liquids and planning to invest in an automated bottling machine to speed up that chore. Their watchword from the start has been to create kombucha with love and art, hence the name: AMO Kombucha. They spread the love locally, distributing to cafes, shops, and restaurants in the city.
In a throw-back to my experience judging entrants in the Kombucha Kup at KKON22 in April, Rapha poured samples of each of their flavors and invited me to judge which was most pleasing: Original, Ginger, Red Berry, and Pomegranate. Each was quite delicious and would have held its own in the Kup if they had taken them to Long Beach. As always, my preference was for Original — a light, well-balanced ferment of quality green tea with good carbonation.
They selected the green tea they use after sampling ten varieties at the Companhia Portugueza do Chá where tea is championed as a “mystical experience.” The tea is sold in containers engraved with the “profile of Catherine of Braganza, a Portuguese princess who loves Chinese tea, and her cameo is now forever engraved on our tea cans.”
AMO’s focus on artisanal processes extends to choosing the individual stems of fresh ginger they juice, ensuring the pulp, along with the SCOBYs, are composted.
Listen to the podcast to hear my wide-ranging conversation with Rapha.