Profile: Kombucha 2200, Istanbul, Turkey
This is the third in a series of profiles featuring kombucha brands in Greece and Turkey that I visited this summer.
In June, I visited Esra and Dila, the founders of Kombucha 2200, in the densely populated Gültepe – Kağıthane district of Istanbul.
They started commercial production four years ago and now make 35,000 bottles a month. They have branched out to produce Kvass, kombucha vinegar, fermented pickles, tarhana, and a range of natural kombucha.
It all started when Esra started brewing at home and surprised her daughter Dila by showing her over 50 jars that had taken over her apartment in Istanbul. Dila gave up her architectural practice in Berlin and moved back to Istanbul to help launch the business.
Years ago, as a result of my interest in healthy eating, I discovered kombucha and first started producing it for myself at home. Over time, I experimented on the change and benefit I saw in myself, and developed a recipe that suited my taste, which I could drink even more with pleasure. It was a great find for me as I struggled to find a healthy beverage alternative both at home and out. I loved making kombucha so much that after a while, the whole house was filled with jars.
Together with my daughter Dila Ünlü, we established Kombucha 2200, a mother-daughter brand, both because I love to produce and to share this benefit that I see with my loved ones and close circle. Since 2018, we have been working ourselves in every stage of production and branding, from design to production, and we have been working to bring you these healthy flavors with the same care and attention as the first day, with the same quality that we made for ourselves.
They started in a small commercial kitchen with a neighbor and friend, introducing local cafes and restaurants to their brand. People were convinced when they “saw the passion in our eyes.” They now employ 15 people. Most are women from the neighborhood, fermenting in 500- and 1,000-litre stainless steel vessels.
They sell primarily to Istanbul and are available nationwide in Macrocenter stores. They are seeing an increasing acceptance but are also aware of the innate conservatism of the Turkish market, where, despite drinking more tea than any other country the average person loves their black tea, but is not open to trying fermented green tea.
Inflation is a serious problem in Turkey. They have been forced to increase prices every quarter due to rising material and packaging costs. When they started four years ago, a bottle was 15 Lira. Today they have to charge 50 Lira.
Cold chain distribution to the southern coastal towns presents a problem. The retail markets did not understand that this is a beverage that must be stored cold. They had to educate the retail outlets.
Home Brew Kits
Kombucha 2200 home brew kits are popular. They offer classes in brewing kombucha at local events and restaurants.
Using a base of 100% green tea for a mild taste, they add a range of natural flavors.
- Peach Rose
- Raspberry Basil
- Pineapple Hibiscus
- Mint Lime
Their beetroot Kvass is familiar to Turkish consumers, being similar to the favorite Şalgam Suyu drink.
To hear Dila tell the story of Kombucha 2200 listen to the podcast.