Heatwave Update: France, Spain, Portugal

Source: CNN

Following our report on the heatwave that saw temperatures in the UK exceed 40°C, we asked brands in France, Spain, and Portugal to share their experiences. As a reminder, these temps are listed in Celsius. For American readers this translates as:

  • 30°C = 86°F
  • 40°C = 104°F
  • 43°C = 109°F

This summer has seen extreme heat spread over Portugal, Spain and France, where highs have reached record-setting highs around 115°F (46°C). However, most European companies are used to higher temps and were noticeably more sanguine than those in the UK. It’s not only the heatwave that is challenging, they also report glass bottle shortages as a result of the war in the Ukraine.

Morgan from La Cabane Kombucha in Rosnay, Western France, reports that

The heatwave we are experiencing here is definitely speeding up the fermentation, even though we have a pretty well insulated lab where we try to control the temperature for it to not be too warm (30°C max). 

The risk of too much heat is creating more yeast than bacteria and for it to create more alcohol. 

We’ve also seen an increase in demand, but that is hard to say in our context because not to many people know about kombucha here.  So the increase is also due to people discovering kombucha and surely loving it ! 

This extreme heat is really hard on our young outside cultures (fruit trees, berries, vegetables, flowers…) that we grow for our kombucha as we transform to become self sufficient. We are going to plan more resilient systems for the near future because this is only gonna increase.

Justin with L’eau à la bouche Kombucha, in Rimont, near the Pyrénées in Southern France, reports:

It’s definitely added challenges with deliveries and fermentation time. Sales are ticking along normally with the standard summer uptick in sales, although perhaps slightly more than previous years. People are starting to enjoy drinking a kombucha instead of beer when it’s so hot so that’s a win! 

We are facing more challenges being able to explain to people that if kombucha is left out of the fridge at 35°C for half a day, they’re going to have trouble with excess carbonation but again, to be expected in summer with new kombucha consumers. I’m happy to say that the understanding and awareness of kombucha is increasing in France. While it’s still not that of Australia or the US, it’s getting there!

Maxime with To Be Kombucha in Paris is aware of the effect of warm temperatures on sugars and acids in the fermentation:

Don’t know if other small shop have experience the same, but with the hot weather, I have observed that while in fermentation (first fermentation, no flavor, pure and natural kombucha ‘en devenir‘)  the level of sugar has a tendency to be at the high end of my curve over the same period of time, while acidity (PH) follows about the same pattern …..

As for an increase in demand because of the heatwave …. can’t tell as I produce bellow my total demand …., bottling and delivering on the same day or about, and always facing empty shelves or about at the delivery point regardless of the period of the year ..

Kendra from Casa de la Kombucha in Barcelona is seeing nothing but positive effects from the heat. However, other geopolitical issues are a challenge:

We are seeing record sales! There is certainly a higher volume than last summer.

Fermentation is a little faster. Our current challenge is the bottle shortage.  Our bottles were produced in Ukraine and we are seeing an increase in the price from other sources of up to three times the price.  Our other provider for refillable bottles is currently under high demand and cannot seem to fill our orders! 

Maria from Aquela Kombucha in Porto, Portugal is taking the increased temperatures in her stride:

I am not finding any significant impact from the heatwave on the business. 

Besides people being very thirsty when they arrive at the taproom, everything is running the same. 

These temperatures are abnormally high for sure but Portugal is a hot country during the summer so hot days are common. 

Camila with Rooted Kombucha in Lisbon is also dealing with the challenge of the Ukraine war impacting the supply of bottles:

Regarding the heat wave, it’s been great for business. It also has accelerated fermentation giving us the opportunity to increase production quicker. 

The biggest challenge lately has been a consequence from the war in Ukraine, the delay on the production of glass bottles and it’s deliveries. It’s prices are adjusted weekly now too because of the gas prices. So far it has doubled. 

Since May we’ve had the best sales phase so far which is fantastic! As a result, the factory where we produce now has become limited and we have been looking for an alternative as well as a partner/investor that share the same passion and that can help us to scale. 

We don’t want anyone going thirsty!

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